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

KO 3.15pm
Allianz Park

Saturday 30th March
Live on BT Sport 3

Champions Cup stats:

  • Including the Challenge Cup this will be the third European quarter-final in Glasgow’s history. On all three occasions their opponents have been Saracens.
  • Across all tiers of European competition the Warriors have faced Sarries 10 times with their only victory coming in the 2nd leg of a Challenge Cup tie in 2003/04 – and the margin in that game was not enough to overturn the deficit from the first leg.
  • Just 19 of the 46 players selected were involved in these sides’ Champions Cup quarter-final 2 years ago at the same venue. Stuart Hogg is the only Glasgow back to start both games.
  • Oli Kebble, Robert Harley, Ali Price and Adam Hastings are the only Glasgow players to start all 3 matches against Saracens during this campaign.

15 Alex Goode
14 Sean Maitland
13 Alex Lozowski
12 Brad Barritt (c)
11 Liam Williams
10 Owen Farrell
9 Ben Spencer
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Kyle Steyn
13 Stafford McDowall
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price

1 Richard Barrington
2 Jamie George
3 Christian Judge
4 Will Skelton
5 George Kruis
6 Maro Itoje
7 Jackson Wray
8 Billy Vunipola
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Robert Harley
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Matt Fagerson

16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Titi Lamositele
18 Vincent Koch
19 Nick Isiekwe
20 Schalk Burger
21 Tom Whiteley
22 Nick Tompkins
22 David Strettle
ADV Saracens
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow
ADV Saracens
ADV Glasgow

16 Kevin Bryce
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Siua Halanukonuka
19 Jonny Gray
20 Chris Fusaro
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Niko Matawalu

Starting XV stats:

43   Champions Cup tries   10
302   Champions Cup appearances   82
28.9   Average age   24.8
7   Capped players   5
Test caps   110

954kg   Pack weight   900kg
608kg   Tight 5 weight   590kg
262   Champions Cup appearances   138
27.4   Average age   26.8
5   Capped players   5
Test caps   123

Changes from Round 6:

Ten weeks since these two sides met in the final round of the pool stages they’re back at it again at Allianz Park. Glasgow have 8 new faces in the starting XV from that game. Steyn, McDowall and Hughes are in the backline for Seymour, Grigg and van der Merwe. Brown, Fagerson, Cummings, Gibbins and Fagerson join the pack in place of Stewart, Halanukonuka, Gray, Fusaro and Wilson.

Saracens bring in Farrell (who was a late call-off from the previous match), Maitland and Lozowski in the backs for Lewington, Strettle and Tompkins. There are 3 more changes in the forwards with Barrington, Judge and Skelton starting for M. Vunipola, Koch and Burger.

Glasgow Greetings:

After a flying start to his Warriors’ career Kyle Steyn will make his European debut for the club. The wing / centre may only have 4 games behind him but his form has been such that his selection for such a crucial match is fully deserved.

Matchday Milestones:

Tim Swinson will make his 100th start for Glasgow. Of the 44 Warrior Centurions just 18 have made it to 100 starts before the former Newcastle Falcon (although both DTH van der Merwe with 99 and Chris Fusaro with 97 are also closing in on that mark).

Jonny Gray will make his first Warriors’ appearance from the bench for more than 4 years (the last occasion was away to Leinster on 27th March 2015).

Warrior to Watch:

It’s hardly a revelation to suggest that the teams’ respective stand offs will be hugely influential on Saturday. Adam Hastings will get the chance to test himself against one of Europe’s premier operators in the 10 shirt. Can he channel the spirit of Finn Russell and leave Owen Farrell bamboozled for the second time this month?

No-one has more try assists for Glasgow this season than Adam (8 – tied with George Horne). Chuck in his own brace of 5-pointers and then look at the space that he’s created for others through his passing, footwork and deceptive strength and it’s clear that he’s thriving on the responsibility of being the number 1 number 10. When Stinger plays well, Glasgow play well. The Warriors need his best ever performance on Saturday.

Glasgow’s Track Record…

…against English sides in the European Cup:

    • 13 wins (11 at home, 2 away)
    • 26 losses (8 at home, 18 away)

Most recent meeting in Europe:


Referee: Nigel Owens (Wal)
AR1: Ben Whitehouse (Wal)
AR2: Ian Davies (Wal)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ire)

Glasgow’s last 3 matches with Mr. Owens as referee:

  • 2017/18 – beat Munster (H)
    Penalties: 25 (For 11 – 14 Against)
  • 2017/18 – beat Cardiff Blues (H)
    Penalties: 22 (For 14 – 8 Against)
  • 2017/18 – lost to Edinburgh (A)
    Penalties: 13 (For 3 – 10 Against)

Despite Mr. Owens being one of the PRO14’s top referees and Glasgow one of the league’s top clubs this will actually be the first time the Welsh whistler has taken charge of a Warriors’ match this season.

The club have plenty of previous with Mr. Owens’ though – this will be his 35th time refereeing Glasgow. His officiating style is very much based around helping the game to flow. If the Warriors can avoid the breakdown being turned into a quagmire and keep the ball moving quickly then the referee’s tendencies could assist with their fast, open gameplay. That is a pretty big if though…

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