Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Saracens, Champions Cup match preview 2018/19

KO 3.15 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium
Sunday 14th October
Live on BT Sport 2

Champions Cup stats:

  • Glasgow have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 3 of their games when they have started the Champions Cup at home in Round 1.
  • Those opening fixtures have included 5 previous clashes with English opposition – 2 defeats to Northampton; 2 wins over Bath; and a storming success against Leicester that kick-started the Warriors’ run to the quarter final in 2016/17.
  • Saracens are the only one of the 8 English sides to visit Glasgow for Champions Cup action who have never tasted defeat.
  • Across all tiers of European competition the Warriors have faced Sarries 8 times with their only win coming in the 2nd leg of the Challenge Cup in 2003/04 – and the margin in that game was not enough to overturn the deficit from the first leg.

15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Lee Jones
13 Huw Jones
12 Alex Dunbar
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
15 Alex Goode
14 David Strettle
13 Alex Lozowski
12 Brad Barritt (c)
11 Sean Maitland
10 Owen Farrell
9 R Wigglesworth

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Robert Harley
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (cc)
7 Callum Gibbins (cc)
8 Matt Fagerson
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens

1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Will Skelton
5 George Kruis
6 Maro Itoje
7 Michael Rhodes
8 Billy Vunipola

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 Petrus du Plessis
19 Greg Peterson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Rory Hughes
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens

16 Christopher Tolofua
17 Richard Barrington
18 Titi Lamositele
19 Nick Isiekwe
20 Jackson Wray
21 Ben Spencer
22 Nick Tompkins
23 Liam Williams

Starting XV stats:

26 Champions Cup tries 50
140 Champions Cup appearances 356
27.8 Average age 30.8
7 Capped players 7

898kg Pack weight 959kg
592kg Tight 5 weight 611kg
125 Champions Cup appearances 232
26.5 Average age 27.5
5 Capped players 7

Glasgow Greetings:

22 years (and 2 days) since loosehead prop Alan Perrie became Warrior number 1 in the club’s very first fixture as a professional side, tighthead Petrus du Plessis will become Warrior number 300 when he comes off the bench to make his Glasgow debut against his old team, Saracens.

There are also Champions Cup debuts for Adam Hastings in the backs and Oli Kebble in the pack.

Matchday Milestones:

Friday night’s match will see Fraser Brown make his 50th start for the club. Co-captain Ryan Wilson moves level with Tommy Hayes and John Barclay on 36 Heineken Cup appearances for Glasgow – only Gordon Bulloch (41), Rob Harley (38) and Pat MacArthur (37) have made more.

On the more esoteric side of things that man Petrus du Plessis will become the oldest player to feature in the Champions Cup for the Warriors. At 37 years and 137 days he’s more than a year older than the previous record holder, Corey Flynn (36 years and 87 days).

Once a Warrior:

There’s a return to Scotstoun for Sean Maitland whose last game for the club at this venue came in the Champions Cup match against Montpellier back in January 2015. Sean notched 10 tries in 39 games for Glasgow across 3 seasons as a classy operator both on the wing and at full back.

Warrior to Watch:

Following six appearances off the bench in the Champions Cup, opportunity knocks for D’arcy Rae as he makes his first ever start in the competition. Still only 23 the Ayr native finds himself elevated to first choice tighthead prop in the absence of Zander Fagerson and Siosiua Halanukonuka. It’s unfortunate for them but this presents D’arcy with a chance he needs to grab with both hands, particularly if he wants to get back in the wider Scotland squad and push on to win his first cap.

The early signs this season have been promising. The big man’s scrummaging has been solid and he’s yet to concede a penalty in 236 minutes of game time (compared to a pen every 49 minutes during 2017/18). While Saracens have a strong setpiece it’s more in open play and at the breakdown that they will really look to dominate. To that end the increase in D’arcy’s all-round work rate is another positive for Glasgow. In particular his carrying numbers have more than doubled from 4.1 per 80 minutes last year to 9.5 during the first 6 games of this season.

Glasgow’s Track Record…

…against English sides in the pool stages of the European Cup:

    • 13 wins (11 at home, 2 away)
    • 25 losses (7 at home, 18 away)

Most recent meeting in Europe:

02/04/17 Allianz Park Report

Saracens 38
T: Chris Ashton (2), Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt
C: Owen Farrell (3)
P: Owen Farell (4)

Glasgow Warriors 13
T: Lee Jones, Ryan Wilson
C: Finn Russell

For a look at the the two clubs’ other past meetings in European competition click here.

Only 6 players return from the Glasgow starting XV on that day – Lee Jones, Alex Dunbar, Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Robert Harley and Ryan Wilson. Saracens open up the game on Sunday with 10 of the players who put Glasgow to the sword at Allianz Park.


Referee: Mathieu Raynal (Fra, 11th competition game)
AR1: Alexandre Ruiz (Fra)
AR2: Thomas Charabas (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)

Glasgow should be pretty happy to see M. Raynal for the 5th time in the last six seasons – those previous 4 matches have all ended in bonus point wins for the Warriors! The crime count has also been in their favour with 50 penalties for to 29 against and just a single Glasgow player yellow carded compared to 6 of their opponents.

It must be borne in mind though that the French official tends to strongly favour teams that are dominating in attack so the Warriors need to be putting themselves in that position if they want to get the benefit of the referee’s tendencies.

M. Raynal, M. Charabas and M. Bonhoure were all on duty for Glasgow’s 43-0 victory over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. What would the Warriors’ faithful give for a similar scoreline (and performance) this Sunday?!

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