Glasgow Warriors v Exeter Chiefs
Date: Sat 11 January 2020
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
The return of Stuart Hogg to Scotstoun could potentially overshadow the Warriors desperate need for the first of two 5 point results if they are to get out of the pool.
Trying to hide the fact he hasn’t been replaced within the club they have at least picked someone with more experience at 15 than usual in the shape of Glenn Bryce, at the back of a pacey attacking unit.
Up front there are plenty of solid customers to front up to Exeter’s mighty pack (which doesn’t yet include Sam Skinner). A big game from Matt Fagerson at Number 8 could be interesting in a Scotland context with that arguably the least settled back row slot in the national team, while Jonny Gray should want to show his employers next season why they signed him.
It’s tries or nothing for a Glasgow side that will have taken a lot of confidence from the second string picking up a bonus over in Treviso last weekend. Overall it is about as strong a side as Dave Rennie can muster with some zip on the bench, but even so, the Scotstoun faithful will be hoping rather than expecting.
Glasgow Warriors: 15. Glenn Bryce, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Samuel Johnson, 11. Kyle Steyn, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. George Horne; 1. Oli Kebble, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Scott Cummings, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Ryan Wilson, 7. Callum Gibbins (capt), 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Adam Nicol, 19. Robert Harley, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. Ali Price, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Niko Matawalu,
Exeter Chiefs: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Ian Whitten, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Olly Woodburn, 10. Joe Simmonds (capt), 9. Nic White; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Enrique Pieretto Heiland, 4. Jannes Kirsten, 5. Sean Lonsdale, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Matt Kvesic.
Replacements:16. Elvis Taione, 17. Ben Moon, 18. Marcus Street, 19. Will Witty, 20. Don Armand, 21. Jack Maunder, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Sam Hill,
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Unavailable: Andrew Davidson (foot), Bruce Flockhart (back), Tom Gordon (chest), Siua Halanukonuka (calf), Sean Kennedy (shoulder), Kiran McDonald (hip), Robbie Nairn (knee), D’arcy Rae (hand), Brandon Thomson (calf) Nick Grigg (head) and DTH van der Merwe ( wrist)
Bordeaux-Begles v Edinburgh Rugby
Date: Sat 11 January 2020
KO: 12:45 GMT
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas
Richard Cockerill might pretend he doesn’t care about Europe (other than regaining access to Champions Cup rugby) but the first XV he’s picked says otherwise, which looks like a strong intent to try and nick some kind of result over in France while saving some powder for the Agen match to come.
Good news in the pack is the sight of a Scottish loosehead starting for his club, given that position is a real worry going into the Six Nations. Welcome back, Rory Sutherland. It’s not all front line troops though with Scotland players like Gilcrhist or McInally presumably rested.
The backline is pretty much first choice from 10 upwards though, so if the pack can get any sort of parity, the weapons are there to try and get a losing bonus point at the minimum.
Bordeaux are going very well in the Top14 and will be hugely physical at home. Edinburgh have a decent record away in France, and certainly some of those backs learning how to win in hostile stadiums would do Scotland no harm.
Bordeaux-Begles: 15. Nans Ducuing, 14. Geoffrey Cros, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Rémi Lamerat, 11. Santiago Cordero, 10. Matthieu Jalibert, 9. Maxime Lucu; 1. Jefferson Poirot (c), 2. Clement Maynadier, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Kane Douglas, 5. Cyril Cazeaux, 6. Alexandre Roumat, 7. Cameron Woki, 8. Scott Higginbotham.
Replacements: 16. Adrien Pélissié, 17. Ravai Kovekalou, 18. Lekso Kaulashvili, 19. Jandré Marais, 20. Mahamadou Diaby, 21. Yann Lesgourgues, 22. Ben Botica, 23. Jean-Baptiste Dubié.
Edinburgh Rugby: 15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Duhan Van Der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Nic Groom (capt); 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Mike Willemse, 3. Simon Berghan, 4. Sam Thomson, 5. Lewis Carmichael, 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Viliame Mata.
Replacements: 16. David Cherry, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18. Pietro Ceccarelli, 19. John Barclay, 20. Luke Crosbie, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. James Johnstone.
Referee: Tom Foley (England)
Unavailable: Stuart McInally, Fraser McKenzie, Jamie Ritchie, Nick Haining, George Taylor, Chris Dean
A new one: Darryl Marfo lines up for the Ospreys against (gulp) Saracens who feature Sean Maitland in their number. Greig Laidlaw – in his final season at Clermont – is named on the bench while Finn Russell starts for Racing v Munster. Nutmegs ahoy. Rory Hutchinson continues to shine at Northampton, and with neither James Lang or Duncan Taylor in action Chris Harris also continues to stake his claim for a spot in the Scotland squad after all but pinning down the 13 shirt at Gloucester. His team mate Alex Craig could also be in line for a call-up, assuming Richie Gray doesn’t fancy it or Sam Skinner isn’t fit.
Jack Owlett is on the bench for Wasps, while Luke Hamilton starts at 8 for Bristol – no sign of Alex Dunbar for Brive though, or elsewhere Blade Thomson or Allan Dell. Rory Hughes starts for Leicester Tigers.
Mike Adamson referees La Rochelle vs Sale Sharks at the head of an all Scottish officiating team while Ben Blain takes charge of Brive v Bristol Bears. A lot of Bs there.