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PREVIEW: Townsend ready for Warriors challenge

Monday 4th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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The Scarlets may be looking down on the rest of their Guinness PRO12 colleagues after returning to the top of the table with their win in Italy last week

The Scarlets may be looking down on the rest of their Guinness PRO12 colleagues after returning to the top of the table with their win in Italy last week

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has urged his side to embrace the challenge of playing three huge European Rugby Champions Cup clashes on consecutive weekends.

The Guinness Pro 12 champions remain in with a chance of reaching the last eight after beating the Scarlets home and away during their December double-header. The Scottish side will now conclude their Pool 3 campaign with their game in hand against Racing 92 in Paris, a trip to face Northampton Saints and another meeting with the French side on home turf.

Glasgow sit third in the standings, just a point behind second-placed Saints with a game to make up, and still have their quarter-final aspirations very much in their own hands. So, despite suffering the disappointment of losing out to local rivals Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup over the festive period, Townsend has told his side they have plenty to look forward to.

“This is a great time to be a professional rugby player,” said the former Scotland international. “It’s tough when you lose like we did against Edinburgh and have to go back in the next week and put things right, but our next games are big opportunities for us.

“Both Racing and Northampton away will be incredibly tough fixtures, and then we hope to still be in with a shout when we host Racing 92.

“I believe in this squad of players, this group of players definitely have it in them to do well in Europe and come back from our recent setback in the league.”

Racing, meanwhile, sit top of the pool undefeated in their three games after a win and a draw against Northampton and a comfortable success over the Scarlets in their opening fixture. They will enter the game top of the French Top 14 thanks to their win over Bordeaux-Begles, and hooker Dimitri Szarzewski believes they can host Glasgow in a confident frame of mind.

“Glasgow will be a very different test but for sure it is always nice to be top of the table,” he said. “It may be only temporary but we would like to make it more permanent and continue the good feeling we have in Europe.”

Match Facts

  • This will be the first meeting between the sides in Europe, though Racing have won their last two games against Scottish opposition in this competition.
  • Overall Racing have played four games against Scottish opponents, all against Edinburgh, winning two and losing two.
  • Glasgow have won just twice away to French opposition in the Champions Cup (D1, L13), however one of those victories came in last season’s competition against Montpellier.
  • Taqele Naiyaravoro is the leading metre maker in this year’s competition (366), despite playing just 187 minutes.
  • Racing have the best tackling success rate (91%) in the Champions Cup so far this season.
  • The French side are one of three teams in this year’s competition that are yet to lose a scrum on their own feed.
  • Glasgow have conceded fewer penalties per game (8.3) than anyone else in 2015/16.
  • However Warriors have also conceded more turnovers per game than any other outfit (18.3).
  • These two sides are the only two in the competition yet to concede a try from first phase possession this season.
  • Chris Masoe is one just three players to make 30+ tackles without missing one this season (30/30).


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REPORT: Racing 92 claim last ditch bonus

Saturday 9th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Dan Carter et ses coéquipiers planent sur la poule 3 après leur succès bonifié sur les Glasgow Warriors (34-10). Le même résultat samedi prochain face aux Scarlets les propulserait en quart de finale. - 09/01/2016 19:38

Dan Carter et ses coéquipiers planent sur la poule 3 après leur succès bonifié sur les Glasgow Warriors (34-10). Le même résultat samedi prochain face aux Scarlets les propulserait en quart de finale. - 09/01/2016 19:38

Dan Carter kicked 12 points as Racing 92 maintained their unbeaten run in the Champions Cup against Glasgow Warriors.

The current World Player of the Year kicked five from five as the French league leaders tightened their grip on Pool 3 with a bonus-point win. But defeat at Stade Yves-du-Manoir put a serious dent in Glasgow’s hopes of progressing the quarter-finals.

Leone Nakarawa’s second-half try briefly offered a glimmer of hope. But the power of the Racing pack proved too much as front-row trio Ben Tameifuna, Dimitri Szarzewski and Eddy Ben Arous all crossed before Manuel Carizza injury-time effort clinched the bonus.

That saw Racing take a seven-point lead over Northampton Saints while third-placed Glasgow must now win both of their remaining ties to be in with a chance of progressing as one of three best runners-up. This tie was originally due to be played in November but was postponed following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Glasgow led on 15 minutes through the boot of Finn Russell, back in the team for the injured Peter Horne.
However the Warriors were made to pay for Russell and Stuart Hogg both narrowly missing further efforts before their hosts had registered a point.

A turnover by Chris Fusaro led to the first chance that Russell pushed wide but a break from lock Leone Nakarawa handed him a second chance soon after that the centre converted. Hogg then narrowly missed from distance before Carter opened his account with a penalty that levelled the scores on 25 minutes.

And the current World Player of the Year was involved twice in the move that led to the game’s opening try.
Full-back Johannes Goosen led the Racing counter-attack from Hogg’s lengthy kick. Carter combined first with Wenceslas Lauret and then Alexandre Dumoulin before sending giant prop Tameifuna crashing over from close range. Carter converted and added a penalty for a 13-3 lead at half-time. And Racing wasted little of the second half to quickly extend that lead with two quick-fire tries in the space of six minutes.

Both were from the same position with a Racing lineout some five metres out from the Glasgow line and both had similar outcomes as captain Szarzewski and then prop Ben Arous applied the finish to impressive collective drives from the French pack. Despite trailing 27-3, Glasgow showed enough conviction to hit back and an opportunist try from Nakarawa offered a glimmer of hope.

In a well-worked move, Nakarawa caught Racing off-guard by taking Fraser Brown’s throw at the front of a lineout before stretching out to score one-handed with 21 minutes remaining. But with 80 minutes up on the clock, the French pack again combined, this time for lock Carizza to touch down to clinch maximum points.

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