Need to Know: Saracens v Glasgow Match Preview (Champions Cup quarter final 2016/17)

KO 1.00 at Allianz Park, Sunday 2nd April
Live on Sky Sports

  • Glasgow tackle their first Champions Cup quarter final, looking for just their 10th away win in the history of the tournamemt.
  • Saracens haven’t lost a European game at Allianz Park since first moving in during the 2013/14 season.
  • The teams have met on 6 previous occasions (including one 2-legged tie) and the Warriors have yet to emerge triumphant. Sunday seems as good a time as any to change that…

Glasgow make 4 changes from the side that smashed Leicester in their last European outing: Peter Horne for the injured Mark Bennett; a tactical switch with Henry Pyrgos in and Ali Price out; secret weapon Brian Alainu’uese replacing suspended Tim Swinson; and the very clean shaven Adam Ashe covering the absence of The Beard to be Feared, Josh Strauss.

Starting XV stats:

  • Average age – SAR 28.8   GLA 26.2
  • Club appearances – SAR 1,721   GLA 1,245
  • Champions Cup appearances – SAR 547   GLA 298
  • Capped internationals – SAR 13   GLA 14
  • English/Scottish qualified players – SAR 10   GLA 14
  • Pack weights – SAR 924kg   GLA 906kg

 

SARACENS
15 Alex Goode
14 Chris Ashton
13 Marcelo Bosch
12 Brad Barritt (c)
11 Sean Maitland
10 Owen Farrell
9 Richard Wigglesworth
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
EVEN
GLASGOW
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 Lee Jones
10 Finn Russell
9 Henry Pyrgos (cc)

1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Juan Figallo
4 Maro Itoje
5 Jim Hamilton
6 Mike Rhodes
7 Jackson Wray
8 Billy Vunipola

ADV Saracens
EVEN
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
EVEN
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Brian Alainu’uese
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Rob Harley
7 Ryan Wilson
8 Adam Ashe

16 Schalk Brits
17 Titi Lamositele
18 Vincent Koch
19 Kelly Brown
20 Joel Conlon
21 Ben Spencer
22 Alex Lozowski
23 Duncan Taylor

ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
EVEN
EVEN
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
EVEN
ADV Saracens

16 Corey Flynn
17 Alex Allan
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Greg Peterson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Ali Price
22 Nick Grigg
23 Rory Hughes

Once A Warrior:
Kelly Brown (2007-2010, 62 appearances, 5 tries) and Sean Maitland (2012-2015, 39 appearances, 10 tries) are the former Glasgow players among Saracens’ Scottish enclave. Sleepy Sean will be familiar to (and familiar with) a large number of the Warriors’ squad but it’s been so long since KB left that Peter Horne is the only member of the Glasgow 23 that actually shared a pitch with the Man With The Magnificent Eyebrows.

Matchday Milestones:
At 36 years and 87 days of age Corey Flynn will become the oldest man to play for Glasgow in Europe, taking over from Sean Lamont (35 years and 336 days). Considering this season has already seen Matt Fagerson (18 years and 90 days) become the youngest player in Warriors’ European history it goes to show there’s certainly a blend of youth and experience in the current squad!

Warriors One to Watch:
Given the importance of the bench in modern rugby it’s ones to watch this week as Gregor Townsend will be looking for both his scrum halves to make a big contribution. Henry Pyrgos has been given the nod to start at Allianz Park where he will provide a cool head and (co-)captaincy from 9. His attacking threat may not be quite as direct as his understudies but Henry has almost twice as many assists as anyone else in the Glasgow squad – he’s an excellent decision-maker and will bring the Warriors’ strike runners into the match.

The pace of the game will change when Ali Price comes on. He’ll kick less and play with ball in hand more. Only Nick Grigg (46) and Tommy Seymour (37) have beaten more defenders than Wee Ali (30) and he’ll be a threat to Saracens around the fringes of every setpiece and contact area – potentially opening up space for his backline.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against English sides in the Champions Cup:

    • 6 wins, 4 losses. 3 Try BPs, 2 Losing BPs. 29 points in total out of a possible 50.
    • The Warriors two victories on the road in England under Gregor Townsend (against Exeter and most recently Leicester) are the club’s only wins down South in the history of the Champions Cup.

Home and Away:
Saracens last 6 Champions Cup matches (H) – W W W W W W
Glasgow last 6 Champions Cup matches (A) – W L L L W W

Officials:
Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (Fra), Thomas Charabas (Fra)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Eddie Walsh (Ire)

Glasgow have only experienced M. Garces’ refereeing style twice in recent years. With a combined penalty count of 22-13 against them in those previous fixtures hopefully some of the preparation has included getting on the French whistler’s good side. Giving Saracens field position (to use their rolling maul) or kickable penalties (for Owen Farrell to knock over) will make for a very long afternoon for the 5,500+ travelling Warriors’ fans.

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