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

KO 3.15pm (4.15pm local time)
Stade Marcel Deflandre

Saturday 7th December
Live on BT Sport 3

Champions Cup stats:

  • Glasgow have won 2 and lost 7 of their games when they been away from home in the Champions Cup for Round 3.
  • The wins both came in France though – against Lyon last season and Racing 92 in 2016.
  • Those two victories, plus edging Montpellier at the Altrad Stadium in 2014, mean Glasgow have won 3 and lost 3 in France over the last 5 and a bit years. Prior to that, the club had managed a solitary win in 16 years of trying – from 14 matches played on the road against Top 14 opposition.

15 Kini Murimurivalu
14 Vincent Rattez
13 Jeremy Sinzelle
12 Pierre Aguillon
11 Pierre Boudehent
10 Jules Plisson
9 Alexi Bales
15 Tommy Seymour
14 Niko Matawalu
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 George Horne

1 Dany Priso
2 Jean-Charles Oriolo
3 Ramiro Herrera
4 Thomas Jolmes
5 Mathieu Tanguy
6 Zeno Kieft
7 Kevin Gourdon
8 Victor Vito (c)

1 Alex Allan
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (cc)
7 Callum Gibbins (cc)
8 Matt Fagerson

16 Brendan Lebrun
17 Reda Wardi
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Thomas Lavault
20 Paul Boudenhout
21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
22 Brock James
23 Brieuc Plessis

16 George Turner
17 Aki Seiuli
18 Adam Nicol
19 Robert Harley
20 Tom Gordon
21 Ali Price
22 Peter Horne
23 Kyle Steyn

Starting XV stats:

12   Champions Cup tries   37
62   Champions Cup appearances   154
28.6   Average age   28.2
3   Capped players   7

887kg   Pack weight   898kg
572kg   Tight 5 weight   592kg
77   Champions Cup appearances   172
26.9   Average age   26.8
5   Capped players   7

Glasgow Greetings:

Aki Seiuli should make his first European appearance off the bench. The prop put in a monster shift on his club debut last week against Leinster, carrying the ball 21 times and attempting 22 tackles. That level of effort is sure to quickly endear him to the Warriors’ faithful.

There’s a return to the number 1 shirt for Alex Allan who will be starting his first match in the Champions Cup since January 2016. His last 18 appearances in the tournament have come from the bench.

Matchday Milestones:

Nick Grigg will make his 50th start for Glasgow. There’s also a 40th European game for Tommy Seymour. He’s just the second Warriors’ back to reach that mark after Andy Henderson (41).

This will be the first time in the club’s history that their top try scorers of all time will start together in the back 3. DTH van der Merwe, Niko Matawalu and Tommy Seymour have a combined tally of 137 tries for the Warriors and will be looking to add to that on Saturday.

Once a Warrior:

On the La Rochelle bench will be the sizable shape of Warrior number 257, Sila Puafisi. The Tongan prop’s time at Glasgow only extended to two seasons but he packed an awful lot in during his spell with the club. Playing in 44 out of 53 games between his debut against Ospreys and final game versus Edinburgh, Sila was one of Gregor Townsend’s most consistent players and a big contributor to improvements in the scrum in particular.

Warrior to Watch:

Having recently extended his contract it’s good news for Glasgow to have Fraser Brown tied down until 2023. The hooker is as intelligent and analytical a presence off the field as he is aggressive on it. Throwing himself into every situation with reckless abandon he leads from the front and it was fitting that he was rewarded with the captaincy for the game against Edinburgh last season.

Fraser is one of just a handful of Warriors who average double figures for both carries and tackles this season. That heavy work rate on both sides of the ball is allied to key responsibilities at scrum and lineout as well as being one of Glasgow’s focal points for trying to turn over the ball at the breakdown. All that and he’s even managed to develop his scoring game – having failed to bag a try in his first 42 matches for the club he’s notched in 8 in 52 since then.

Glasgow’s Track Record…

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

    • 13 wins (9 at home, 4 away)
    • 2 draws (1 at home, 1 away)
    • 25 losses (10 at home, 15 away)

Most recent meeting in Europe:

The Warriors have never played La Rochelle before in a competitive match. Les Corsairs will be the 31st different side (and 13th French team) that Glasgow have faced in the Champions Cup.


Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)
AR1: Adam Leal (Eng)
AR2: Phil Watters (Eng)
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng)

Previous Warriors’ matches with Mr Pearce as referee:

  • 2014/15 – beat Montpellier (H)
    Penalties: 29 (For 19 – 10 Against)
    2 yellow cards for Montpellier
  • 2016/17 – lost to Munster (H)
    Penalties: 17 (For 8 – 9 Against)
    Yellow card for Stuart Hogg
  • 2018/19 – beat Cardiff Blues (A)
    Penalties: 16 (For 8 – 8 Against)

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