Match preview: Glasgow Warriors v Emirates Lions, Challenge Cup Quarter-final 2022/23

KO 8.00 at Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday 8th April 2023

Live on BT Sport 2

Buy tickets here

  • The Glasgow starting line-up includes 15 full capped internationals – 14 Scots and 1 Argentinian. This is the first time that the Warriors’ starting XV has been entirely made up of capped players since they beat Leicester 43-0 at Welford Road in January 2017.
  • Glasgow average 30.3 points and 4.4 tries per game so far during 2022/23 (their previous season highs both came in 2018/19 – 28.7 and 3.8 respectively).
  • The Lions have averaged 29.8 points and 3.6 tries per game during their Challenge Cup campaign. The Scotstoun faithful should certainly be in for an entertaining match!
  • Ollie Smith is on a 10-game winning streak for club and country, starting at full back or on the wing 9 times for the Warriors and once for Scotland in that spell.
  • The extraordinary George Horne is the Warrior to Watch.




O. SMITH (10)
K.STEYN (c) (11)
H. JONES (5)
J. DOBIE (11)
D. MIOTTI (11)
G. HORNE (14)


Q. Horn (20)
R. Maxwane (9)
M. Rass (8)
M. Louw (c) (20)
E. van der Merwe (20)
G. Lombard (17)
S. Nohamba (17)

J. BHATTI (16)
G. TURNER (12)
R. GRAY (13)
R. DARGE (6)


J.P. Smith (21)
P.J. Botha (19)
A. Ntlabakanye (15)
R. Schoeman (10)
J. KRIEL (9)
R. Venter (16)
F. Horn (11)

J. Matthews (13)
N. McBeth (13)
J.P. du Preez (19)
L. Bean (17)
T. Gordon (12)
A. PRICE (13)
T. Jordan (19)


M. Brandon (3)
R. Rijnsburger (5)
R. DREYER (13)

R. Delport (3)
T. Gordon (2)
M. van den Berg (15)
R. Jonker (8)

(players in CAPITALS are full capped internationals, numbers in brackets are previous appearances for Glasgow / Lions this season only)

Head to Head:

Back 3 – ADV Lions

Centres – ADV Glasgow

Half Backs – ADV Glasgow

Front Row – ADV Glasgow

Second Row – ADV Glasgow

Back Row – ADV Glasgow

Subs – ADV Glasgow


Just 6 weeks have elapsed since these sides last met, a URC clash that took place in Johannesburg during the Six Nations.

There is a single change to the visitors’ starting lineup from that game – the suspended Emmanuel Tshituka misses out, replaced by 38-year-old Willem Alberts with Ruan Venter moving from lock to blindside flanker.

By contrast, the Warriors call in 13 players who were not available to face the Lions in February, with a dozen of them almost completely transforming the starting lineup. Scott Cummings and Rory Darge are the only starters in the same jerseys with Jamie Dobie on the wing instead of at scrum half.

There are 17 capped internationals with 476 caps in the Glasgow matchday 23, compared to 9 players with 165 caps last time round.

The squad have 1,325 previous appearances for the club behind them (2nd most this season) compared to 770 for the 23 that played at Emirates Airline Park (3rd fewest this season).

Glasgow Greetings:

Zander Fagerson will make his first appearance at Scotstoun for 183 days. In fact it will be just the 3rd time in the last 14 months that the big prop has played at home with 12 of his last 15 games having been away fixtures.

Matchday Milestones:

There is a 50th start for Jamie Bhatti. He has started more games in the 2 seasons (so far) of his second spell at the club than he did in the 3 seasons he was a Warrior first time around (26 v 24).

JP du Preez and Tom Jordan are both in line to make their 20th appearances of the season for Glasgow, the first players in the squad to do so this year in the club’s 22nd fixture of the campaign.

Warrior to Watch:

George Horne starts for the 11th time this season, equalling the most appearances he has made in the number 9 shirt for Glasgow (from 2019/20). There are still at least 3 more games to come (and hopefully as many as 7 left to play!) so there’s every chance this will go down as George’s busiest campaign and one where he reestablished himself as first choice scrum half.

The Horne Jr. classics are all still there – in particular the ambitious support lines that produce try after try but which only work due to his endless speed and stamina to keep going until he gets a result. His next score will be his 40th, a mark only achieved by 3 other players – DTH van der Merwe, Tommy Seymour and Niko Matawalu.

Wee Dod has kept adding more strings to his bow as he has developed though and his goalkicking has been crucial for the Warriors this season. He’s maintaining a success rate in excess of 80% making his the most reliable boot in the squad. Last week, against the Dragons, he notched a personal record tally of 21 points and he’s closing in on 300 career points for the club.

Glasgow v Lions previous matches:

  • Glasgow 13 – 9 Lions (9/10/21 at Scotstoun)
  • Lions 35 – 24 Glasgow (25/2/23 at Emirates Airline Park)

Previous match-up v Lions:

The Lions are the only side to beat Glasgow in the last 133 days.

Glasgow Warriors’ previous European quarter-finals:

Challenge Cup quarter-final, 1/4/07 at Vicarage Road (report)
Saracens 23
T: Dan Scarborough, Kameli Ratuvou
C: Glen Jackson (2)
P: Glen Jackson (3)
Glasgow Warriors 19
T: Rory Lamont
C: Dan Parks
P: Dan Parks (4)

Champions Cup quarter-final, 2/4/17 at Allianz Park (report)
Saracens 38
T: Chris Ashton (2), Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt
C: Owen Farrell (3)
P: Owen Farrell (4)
Glasgow Warriors 13
T: Lee Jones, Ryan Wilson
P: Finn Russell

Champions Cup quarter-final, 30/3/19 at Allianz Park (report)
Saracens 56
T: Liam Williams (2), David Strettle (2), Brad Barritt, Jamie George, Nick Tompkins
C: Alex Lozowski (6)
P: Alex Lozowski (3)
Glasgow Warriors 27
T: Ali Price, George Horne, Matt Fagerson
C: Adam Hastings (3)
P: Adam Hastings (2)

Challenge Cup quarter-final, 7/5/22 at Matmut Stadium (report)
Lyon 35
T: Baptiste Couilloud, Romain Taofifenua, Davit Niniashvili (2)
C: Leo Berdeu (2), Jean-Marc Doussain
P: Leo Berdeu (3)
Glasgow Warriors 27
T: Josh McKay, Cole Forbes, Penalty try
C: Ross Thompson (2)
P: Ross Thompson (2)


Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
AR1: Hamish Smales (England)
AR2: Dan Jones (England)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)

Mr Carley’s regular season record for 2022/23:

Matches – 14
Average penalty count – 22.0 per game
Home side penalties conceded percentage – 46.7%
Average card count – 1.4 per game
Penalties per card – 15.4

Mr Carley also took charge of Glasgow’s Challenge Cup quarter-final last season, away to Lyon, although the English official hasn’t been the man in the middle for a match at Scotstoun since December 2017.

He is a fairly strict referee but there does seem to be a noticeable difference in his approach at domestic and European levels so far this season. His card count is 17 in 10 Gallagher Premiership fixtures compared to just 2 in his 3 Champions Cup engagements.

While it is good to have one of the world’s top refs in charge of this game, the Warriors may need to find a way to change the picture from their 4 previous encounters with Mr Carley. Across those matches, there have been 5 yellows for Glasgow (to just 1 for their opponents) and an aggregate penalty count that runs 57 – 40 against the Warriors…

Additional ref stats from:

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