Preview: Montpellier v Glasgow

Date published: December 16 2011

Glasgow are boosted by the return of fly-half Ruaridh Jackson for their pivotal Pool 3 trip to Stade Yves du Manoir to face Montpellier.

Glasgow are boosted by the return of fly-half Ruaridh Jackson for their pivotal Pool 3 visit to Montpellier.

After a 20-15 success at Firhill last Sunday, coach Sean Lineen believes victory this week would be 'one of the best results in the club's history'.

But with Montpellier having already beaten the likes of Toulon and Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Yves du Manoir, and come within a minute of seeing off Heineken Cup champions Leinster at home in Round 1, the scale of the challenge facing Glasgow this weekend is obvious.

“This is a simply massive game for the whole club. We've put ourselves in a reasonable position by beating Bath and Montpellier at home, but if we're serious about progressing from the pool we need to win on the road, and we know from our experience in Dublin how difficult that is,” Lineen told the club website.

“We know it will be just as tough in southern France this weekend. Montpellier showed at Firhill that they're a terrifically physical team with a lot of ability, and they've won their last three games in the Top 14, beating sides like Clermont and Biarritz.

“We're also coming into the game with a bit of form, having lost only one of our last nine matches, but we're well aware that beating a quality Top 14 team on home turf is going to take something special.

“We've got the players to deliver it, but we'll need everyone firing on all cylinders across the 80 minutes to send our supporters home happy. We'll certainly need to start much better than we did on Sunday, where it took us a good half hour to get into our stride.

“The players know that, and although it's been a relatively quick week in terms of the turnaround, I've been delighted with the really positive and determined vibe that's been coming from the group. They're up for the challenge of securing what would be one of the best results in Glasgow Warriors' history.”

Lineen's starting line-up for the clash shows five changes from the weekend. In the backline, Troy Nathan comes in for Graeme Morrison at inside centre, while Jackson replaces Duncan Weir at fly-half.

Up front, meanwhile, Jon Welsh cedes to Ryan Grant at loose-head prop, Johnnie Beattie takes the number eight shirt, and Chris Fusaro is rewarded for a string of impressive displays with a starting role at openside flanker.

The inclusion of the former Heriot's man, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, means that John Barclay switches to the blindside. Rob Harley, a stalwart of the side so far this season, misses out with a hand injury sustained in Sunday's game.

“As ever, we've picked a team we strongly believe can win us the game. We said last week that Ruaridh and Johnnie would get more opportunities to bring their influence to bear, and this is a great chance for them to shine,” explained Lineen.

“Duncan Weir again performed very well last weekend, but I was impressed with the control and composure that Ruaridh brought off the bench, while Johnnie gives us another great ball-carrying option in the back row.

“Chris Fusaro more than merits a start – he's been absolutely tremendous so far this season. We're very comfortable about moving John Barclay to blindside; he's not played a massive amount of rugby there, but he's got more than enough quality and game knowledge to take the switch in his stride.

“Graeme Morrison is unlucky not to be in the 23, but it's indicative of the competition we have for places now. Rob Dewey has been performing consistently, and did well as captain against Dragons.”

Meanwhile, Montpellier have unsurprisingly named a weakened line-up in the knowledge that their hopes of making the knockouts are over following one draw and two defeats.

Mamuka Gorgodze and Francois Trinh-Duc have been named on the bench while there is no sign of Agustin Creevy, Lucas Amorosino, Santiago Fernandez, Fulgence Ouedraogo and Thibaut Privat in the matchday 23.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 J-B Peyras Loustalet, 14 Pierre Bérard, 13 Paul Bosch, 12 Thomas Combezou, 11 Yoan Audrin, 10 Ilian Perraux, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Rémy Martin, 6 Vassili Bost, 5 Drickus Hancke, 4 Joe Tuineau, 3 Kevin Kervarec, 2 Mickael Ladhuie, 1 Goderzi Shvelidze.
Replacements: 16 Joan Caudullo, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Maximiliano Bustos, 19 Mamuka Gorgodze, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Geoffrey Doumayrou.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Federico Aramburu, 13 Peter Murchie, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Rory Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 John Barclay, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Rob Dewey.

Date: Saturday, December 17
Kick-off: 16:40 (15:40 GMT)
Venue: Stade Yves du Manoir
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Assistant referees: Sean Davey (England), Nigel Carrick (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)