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

KO 7.45 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 8th December
Live on Sky Sports Action

These sides should be reasonably fresh and well rested coming into what is effectively an all or nothing fixture in terms of European progression. Glasgow reintroduce 5 Scotland caps who had the previous weekend off. Montpellier top that by bringing in 7 players (including the likes of Nemani Nadolo, Bismarck du Plessis and Louis Picamoles) who missed their defeat away to La Rochelle.

Champions Cup stats:

  • Glasgow have faced 29 different sides in the Champions Cup. Only 2 of those teams have never beaten the Warriors – and Montpellier are one of them (Viadana being the other).
  • Only the Warriors’ win percentage against sides from Ireland (23%) is lower than the 31% they have managed against French clubs in the European Cup.
  • Recent form has been better though – the Warriors have won 4 of their last 5 versus teams from the Top 14.
  • Glasgow need to win all of their remaining games (and hope other results go their way) to make it out of their pool. Winning 4 Champions Cup matches in a row would trump their previous best of 3 consecutive victories back in 2011.

15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Leonardo Sarto
13 Huw Jones
12 Sam Johnson
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Glasgow
15 Jesse Mogg
14 Benjamin Fall
13 Francois Steyn
12 Jan Serfontein
11 Nemani Nadolo
10 Aaron Cruden
9 Enzo Sanga

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 George Turner
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (c)
7 Callum Gibbins
8 Samuela Vunisa

ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Montpellier

1 Mikheil Nariashvili
2 Bismarck du Plessis
3 Johannes Jonker
4 Nicholaas van Rensburg
5 Jaques du Plessis
6 Kelian Galletier
7 Julien Bardy
8 Louis Picamoles (c)

16 James Malcolm
17 Alex Allan
18 Siua Halanukonuka
19 Kiran McDonald
20 Matt Smith
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Niko Matawalu

ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Glasgow
ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Montpellier
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow

16 Romain Ruffenach
17 Gregory Fichten
18 Mohamed Haouas
19 Konstantin Mikautadze
20 Fulgence Ouedraogo
21 Benoit Paillaugue
22 Gabriel N’gandebe
23 Henry Immelman

Starting XV stats:

19   Champions Cup tries   12
111   Champions Cup appearances   45
26.2   Average age   27.7
6   Capped players   6

916kg   Pack weights   890kg
87   Champions Cup appearances   128
25.4   Average age   27.8
6   Capped players   5

Glasgow Greetings:
10 months (and 2 days) after his signing was announced, Huw Jones finally makes his Warriors’ debut. It will also be Huw’s first ever Champions Cup match – which is the same for Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Matt Smith and George Horne (assuming they come off the bench).

Matchday Milestones:
Friday night’s match will see Ryan Wilson make his 100th start for the club. Only 2 other players in the current squad have a century of starts – Rob Harley (146) and Tommy Seymour (who brought up his 100 a month ago against Leinster).

Warriors One to Watch:
Jonny Gray is the beating heart of the Glasgow pack and he will be crucial to the effort against a physical Montpellier 8 who will be expecting to win the battle up front. The younger Gray has an astonishing workrate – among Glasgow’s tight 5 he is both the top carrier (10.5 per 80 mins) and the top tackler (14.9 per 80 mins) – putting him at the sharp end of the fight time and time again.

He also has the role as the primary link between the forwards and backs with the most passes of anyone in the pack (7.8 per 80 mins) meaning he’s a key decision-maker as to whether it’s time to release the ball wider or keep it tight. With a number of the Warriors’ forwards being at the raw end of the scale in terms of Champions Cup experience Jonny will play a crucial role in setting the standards out on the Scotstoun pitch on Friday night.

Glasgow’s Track Record…
…against French sides in the pool stages of the European Cup:

    • 11 wins (8 at home, 3 away)
    • 2 draws (1 at home, 1 away)
    • 23 losses (9 at home, 14 away)

Most recent meeting in Europe:
18/01/15 Scotstoun Report

Glasgow Warriors 21
T: DTH van der Merwe (3)
C: Finn Russell (3)
Montpellier 10
T: Thibaut Privat
C: Benjamin Lucas
P: Benjamin Lucas

Only 6 players return from the Glasgow 23 on that day – Tommy Seymour, Finn Russell, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Peter Horne and Niko Matawalu (although there are another half dozen who played in that game who are still in the Warriors’ European squad this season).

To illustrate the turnover at Montpellier in recent years only 2 players who featured in that last game against Glasgow are even in the French side’s 41-man Champions Cup squad – Kelian Galletier and Benoit Paillaugue will both be back at Scotstoun on Friday night.

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 6 pool matches (H) – W W W W L L
Montpellier last 6 pool matches (A) – L L L L L L
(Montpellier have lost 9 away pool matches in a row since winning in Italy against Benetton Treviso in 2013/14)

Referee: Matthew Carley (Eng, 11th competition game)
AR1: Greg McDonald (Eng)
AR2: Andrew Jackson (Eng)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (Eng)

Mr. Carley is a Warriors virgin – but certainly not unfamiliar to a large chunk of the team who have been refereed by the English official a couple of times in the last year or so for Scotland. Memories of Mr. Carley’s most recent encounter with the national side are still fresh in the mind – he may have missed a couple of things against New Zealand but by and large he contributed to an open, exciting game. As OTOTM noted when analysing the big moments from that match the takeaway for Scotland needed to be how to communicate with and manage the ref – skipper Ryan Wilson will have an important role to play on Friday.

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