HAVING beaten Munster convincingly in Ireland just a few weeks ago, Glasgow will be firm favourites to win again tomorrow night at Scotstoun when they meet the same opponents in the URC quarter-finals. But Sione Tuipulotu, for one, is taking nothing for granted.

In his nearly two seasons with the Warriors, the Scotland centre has yet to play against the Irish province. He has learned a lot from team-mates and from social media about the close rivalry between the two teams, including Munster’s supposed dislike for Glasgow veteran Ryan Wilson. Yet this play-off match, he believes, will be decided by performances on the night, not by past events.

“When you go into the changing room a lot of the pictures are of games between Glasgow and Munster,” Tuipulotu said. “Obviously we won the [PRO12] final against them back in 2015. I wasn’t here for that, so if you’re selected you want to write your

own history.

“I don’t think the past game [a 38-26 win for the Warriors in Limerick at the end of March] has anything to do with the one on Saturday. And I suppose they’ll be saying the same thing. I’m preparing myself for a different type of challenge if selected. I’ve never faced Munster personally. I’ve heard about the rivalry, but it’s about writing our own story on Saturday.”

So what specifically has the Scotland centre heard about that rivalry from his team-mates? “They say it’s always a physical game,” he continued. “But most of it’s just jokes around how much they [Munster] hate Ryan Wilson. I’ve seen all the stuff online about how much they hate Ryan, so he’s obviously been involved in a bit of niggle over the years. I’m sure there will be more of it this weekend. I think it’s inevitable in these types of games but I don’t really care about that – I just want to win.”

As well as having the edge in their regular-season game, the Warriors finished just ahead of Munster in the table – fourth compared to fifth. That slight superiority over the course of the season is one reason that Tuipulotu’s team will be favourites tomorrow, while the other is the fact they will enjoy home advantage.

“It’s like any home ground,” he continued. “If you train on it every day you know every nook and cranny of the joint. But ultimately I think everyone hates coming here because it’s like concrete. We’re used to it; our calves and shins are accustomed to it now. It’s a fast track.

“And the crowd are awesome. With the running track going around it you might think the atmosphere isn’t that great, but the two stands at either end really add to the atmosphere, especially when you’re defending your line or trying to score a try and the crowd’s right on top of you. It’s an awesome atmosphere and I hope we can pack it out on Saturday.”

If Tuipolutu is on the winning side tomorrow night, it will be the third knockout victory he has been able to celebrate in the past eight days. After being in the Warriors team that beat the Scarlets 35-17 in Wales last Saturday to reach the Challenge Cup final, he got back up the road in time to cheer on Celtic at Hampden on Sunday as they beat Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Some of the Warriors players are known to have a liking for Rangers, but having been born and raised in Australia and then played in Japan, Tuipulotu found it natural to support the team with an Australian as manager and several Japanese players in the squad. “It was awesome,” he said of his visit to the national football stadium. “It was the first Celtic game I’ve ever been to. A couple of the Argentinian boys sorted out some tickets for us and I loved it.

“Obviously you come to the city and you pick a side and I picked Celtic. Ange Postecoglou is the manager and he’s an Aussie. And he’s brought over quite a few Japanese players that I was aware of when I was in Japan and they’ve done really well at Celtic.

“You’ve got to pick one side and most of the boys here have gone for Rangers. So I just said I’ll go for Celtic.

“All the Argie boys, Ollie Smith, George Horne came along as well. It was a fun day out, just a different experience.

“Being in the stands at a rugby game and being in the stands at a football game are two different things, so it was good to experience it on the other side of the fence. It was an awesome atmosphere and thankfully our team won.”

Former Warriors captain Wilson is supposedly the biggest Rangers supporter in the squad, but Tuipulotu has his doubts. “I don’t know how much of a real fan Ryan is!” he added.