Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Sale, Champions Cup match preview 2019/20

KO 1.00pm
Scotstoun Stadium

Saturday 16th November
Live on BT Sport 3

Champions Cup stats:

  • Glasgow have won 4, drawn 1 and lost 4 of their games when they have started the Champions Cup at home in Round 1.
  • Those opening fixtures have included 6 previous clashes with English opposition – 2 defeats to Northampton; 2 wins over Bath; a big win over Leicester; and last season’s towsy defeat to Saracens.
  • This will be Sale’s first ever visit to Scotstoun. Their previous competitive clashes with the Warriors in Scotland were played at Hughenden (as well as a friendly at Firhill).

15 Tommy Seymour
14 Ratu Tagive
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 George Horne
15 Simon Hammersley
14 Marland Yarde
13 Cameron Redpath
12 Luke James
11 Byron McGuigan
10 AJ McGinty
9 Embrose Papier

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Robert Harley
5 Scott Cummings
6 Ryan Wilson (cc)
7 Callum Gibbins (cc)
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Ross Harrison
2 Rob Webber
3 Jake Cooper-Woolley
4 Bryn Evans (c)
5 James Phillips
6 Jean-Luc du Preez
7 Ben Curry
8 Daniel du Preez

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Tim Swinson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Ali Price
22 Peter Horne
23 Kyle Steyn

16 Akker van der Merwe
17 Velery Morozov
18 Coenraad Oosthuizen
19 Matthew Postlewhaite
20 Jono Ross
21 Will Cliff
22 Robert du Preez
23 Chris Ashton

Starting XV stats:

26    Champions Cup tries    2
112    Champions Cup appearances    22
27.9    Average age    25.3
6    Capped players    4

894kg    Pack weight    909kg
588kg    Tight 5 weight    582kg
154    Champions Cup appearances    88
27.2    Average age    28.5
6    Capped players    4

Glasgow Greetings:

Champions Cup debut time for Ratu McTagive. The former Australian (but now a Scot!) has had to wait patiently for his opportunity but early season form has earned his place in this game. Ratu will be the 223rd player to feature for the Warriors in the Champions Cup.

Matchday Milestones:

Ryan Wilson will make his 41st Heineken Cup appearances for Glasgow – only Rob Harley (45) has made more.

Once a Warrior:

There’s a return to Scotstoun for Warrior number 209 Byron McGuigan who picked up 4 tries in 20 appearances and whose last game for the club at this venue was back in December 2013.

There might actually have been two former Warriors involved on Saturday. Scrum half Will Cliff played for Glasgow in a preseason friendly in 2010 (coincidentally against Sale) but his proposed loan move fell through. That meant much more game time in his debut season for Henry Pyrgos who would go on to make nearly 150 appearances for the Warriors, including starting the PRO12 Grand Final in 2015. Funny how these things work out…

Warrior to Watch:

Adam Hastings has packed an awful lot into his time at Glasgow so it’s worth remembering he’s only just starting his second season as the club’s first choice 10. That’s a position that means in many ways he sets the tone for the club and how they are going to play the game. During 2018/19 his real point of difference (to borrow one of Dave Rennie’s favourite expressions) was the chaos he could cause taking the ball to the line. Despite working in some of the most congested areas of the pitch Adam was the Warriors’ top performer for defenders beaten (by a long way) with 72.

There’s a good balance to the young stand off’s game though and it will be instructive watch how it matures over the next few years. The advantages to be won through a clever and varied kicking game keep coming up as one possible way that teams might look to develop to find an edge and Hastings’ skillset could certainly adapt to that way of playing. Last season his ratio of when he kicked / passed / ran was 18% / 53% / 29%. It’s early days in the current campaign but so far he’s definitely showing a move towards kicking with figures of 29% / 48% / 23%. An ability to be a threat in all three areas will certainly keep the opposition guessing.

Glasgow’s Track Record…

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

    • 13 wins (11 at home, 2 away)
    • 25 losses (8 at home, 17 away)

Previous meetings in Europe:

16/10/96 at Hughenden (Challenge Cup – this was just the 2nd fixture for Glasgow since the creation of the pro team)

Glasgow 9
P: George Breckenridge (3)

Sale 29
T: John Fowler (3)
C: Andy Griffin
P: Andy Griffin (4)

18/10/02 at Hughenden (Heineken Cup)

Glasgow 26
T: Jason White, Jon Petrie
C: Tommy Hayes (2)
P: Tommy Hayes (4)

Sale 14
T: Stuart Pinkerton
P: Nick Walshe (3)

10/01/03 at Heywood Road (Heineken Cup)

Sale 45
T: Mark Cueto, Steve Hanley, Jason Robinson, Andy Titterrell, Vaughan Going, Charlie Hodgson
C: Charlie Hodgson (6)
P: Charlie Hodgson

Glasgow 3
P: Tommy Hayes

Unsurprisingly with that last competitive game taking place 16 years ago there are no returning players for either side! The friendly in 2010 that Will Cliff featured in also saw involvements for Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro, Ruaridh Jackson, DTH van der Merwe, Robert Harley and Peter Horne. The turnover in players for Sale must have been higher as there doesn’t appear to be anybody from that game who remains in their squad 9 years later.


Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (Fra)
AR1: Adrien Descottes (Fra)
AR2: Cedric Marchat(Fra)
TMO: Patrick Dellac (Fra)

Second time around for M. Ruiz and Glasgow with the French official previously refereeing the club’s opening pool match in the 2017/18 Champions Cup. The opposition on that occasion was Exeter. The penalty count at Sandy Park was decisively against the Warriors (12 conceded and 5 for).

M. Ruiz was bang on the Top 14’s average of 21.9 penalties per game last season (that’s around 3.5 pens a match higher than in the PRO14). He’s a bit more laid back with the cards compared to other French whistlers with his average of 1.1 per game among the lowest in the Top 14.

Additional ref stats from:

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