Need to Know: Exeter v Glasgow, Champions Cup match preview 2017/18

KO 7.45 at Sandy Park, Saturday 14th October
Live on BT Sport 2

Two of British rugby’s most recent success stories clash at Sandy Park on Saturday. Since Exeter and Glasgow last met on 11th January 2014 both sides have won their respective leagues. Both teams have made the Champions Cup quarter finals for the first time in their histories. Both have seen increasing numbers of their players win international recognition. Round 1 will point the way as whether either of the two are really ready to challenge for top European honours

Champions Cup stats:

  • Glasgow haven’t won away in Round 1 since their very first European Cup campaign in season 1997/98 when they defeated Ulster at Ravenhill.
  • The Warriors will be seeking to win their the third consecutive pool match on the road – something that has never been done before in the club’s history.
  • There have only been two previous wins from 18 matches in England for Glasgow – Leicester (at Welford Road last season) and Exeter (in 2014).
  • An away victory would be just the 10th for Glasgow since they started competing in the European Cup 21 years ago (although 5 of those wins came under Gregor Townsend between 2012 and 2017).

15 Phil Dollman
14 Lachie Turner
13 Henry Slade
12 Ian Whitten
11 Olly Woodburn
10 Gareth Steenson
9 Nic White
ADV Glasgow
ADV Exeter
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Peter Horne
11 Lee Jones
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price

1 Ben Moon
2 Jack Yeandle (c)
3 Harry Williams
4 Mitch Lees
5 Jonny Hill
6 Don Armand
7 Julian Salvi
8 Sam Simmonds

ADV Exeter
ADV Glasgow
ADV Exeter
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (c)
7 Callum Gibbins
8 Adam Ashe

16 Elvis Taione
17 Carl Rimmer
18 Tomas Francis
19 Ollie Atkins
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 Stu Townsend
22 Tom Hendrickson
23 James Short

ADV Exeter
ADV Exeter
ADV Exeter
ADV Glasgow
ADV Exeter
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Scott Cummings
20 Robert Harley
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Sam Johnson
23 Niko Matawalu

Starting XV stats:

8   Champions Cup tries   16
110   Champions Cup appearances   133
29.2   Average age   26.8
4   Capped players   7

905kg   Pack weights   905kg
109   Champions Cup appearances   110
27.3   Average age   25.9
2   Capped players   6

Glasgow Greetings:
First appearances in European competition for Jamie Bhatti and Callum Gibbins. George Turner will be making his Champions Cup debut after featuring off the bench in the Challenge Cup for Edinburgh in December 2015.

Matchday Milestones:
Robert Harley
 will make his 34th European Cup appearance for Glasgow when he comes off the bench taking him alongside Dougie Hall in equal 5th place on the club’s all-time list. Gordon Bulloch’s 41 games will only be in reach this season if the Warriors make it to at least the tournament semi-finals…

Warriors One to Watch:
Glasgow’s pack have made a sizeable contribution to their early season success. The setpiece has been a mixed bag but the work at the tackle and breakdown has been top drawer. Containing opponents defensively (conceding just 8 tries) while creating space for the backs to shine (with 20 tries scored by the Warriors) has been the order of the day.

At the heart of this has been Tim Swinson. On of the veterans of the squad at the grand old age of 30 Tim has been in particularly fine form over the past couple of seasons (a Swinaissance?) He can aim for a remarkable hat-trick of Champions Cup man of the Match awards after taking the honour in his last 2 European games against Munster and Leicester.

As things stand he is the squad’s top tackler; has the most carries outside the back row; has thrown more passes/offloads than any other tight 5 forward; and has more lineout takes than any other Warrior. The intensity and energy he brings to the game will be crucial in supporting his back row who will be tested by an explosive Exeter trio.

Glasgow’s Track Record…
…against English sides in the pool stages of the Champions Cup since 2012:

    • 6 wins, 4 losses
    • 3 Try BPs
    • 2 Losing BPs
    • 29 points out of a possible 50

Past meetings:
20/10/13 Scotstoun Stadium Report

Glasgow 20
T: Tim Swinson, Tyrone Holmes
C: Ruaridh Jackson (2)
P: Jackson (2)
Exeter 16
T: Dave Ewers
C: Henry Slade
P: Gareth Steenson (3)

In between a beatdown by Toulon in Round 1 (although there was a DTH inspired bonus point to celebrate) and crumbling home and away to the Cardiff Blues there was at least a win for Glasgow against Exeter.

11/1/14 Sandy Park Report

Exeter 10
T: Fetu’u Vainikolo
C: Henry Slade
P: Slade
Glasgow 15
T: Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont
C: Stuart Hogg
P: Hogg

Just as an example of the turnover in players in rugby these days despite this game being less than 4 years ago only 20 of the 46 players who featured that day are in the two clubs’ Champions Cup squads this season.

Home and Away:
Exeter last 6 pool matches (H) – W W W L L W
Glasgow last 6 pool matches (A) – W L L L W W

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (Fra)
AR1: Thomas Charabas (Fra)
AR2: Laurent Cardona (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)

This will be the third season and fifth game in the Champions Cup for M. Ruiz but his first assignation with the Warriors. He has been a regular on the 7s World Series since 2012 and in the Top 14 since 2013. All this despite being younger than Tim Swinson (who incidentally is in the process of taking his refereeing courses with one eye on a post-playing career).

The French whistler will be taking charge of teams with contrasting disciplinary records so far this season. Exeter have conceded 36 penalties in 6 matches – the lowest total in the Premiership. Glasgow have been penalised 68 times – the 2nd highest figure in the Pro 14. Interestingly though the Warriors have yet to see one of their players sin binned whereas Exeter have had 3 yellow cards.

Both teams will need to be wary of the ref though. In his 4 matches in the Top 14 during this campaign he has issued 11 yellow cards – 2.8 sin bins per match is the highest of any ref in any of Europe’s top leagues this season.

Additional stats on Exeter’s discipline and refereeing records from the excellent resources at the Cardiff RFC Fans site.

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