Preview: Racing 92 v Glasgow Warriors

Date published: December 9 2016

Racing 92 boss Laurent Labit has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Champions Cup clash with Glasgow Warriors in Paris.

Labit has made just one change to his back-line, after last weekend’s 23-23 draw against La Rochelle in the Top 14, with Anthony Tuitavke coming in to the midfield at the expense of Henry Chavancy. Tuitavke will line up at inside centre with Casey Laulala shifting out a position to wear the number 13 jersey.

In the pack, Antonie Claassen comes in at number eight for Chris Masoe, who drops down to the bench, while Cedate Gomes Sa replaces Luc Ducalcon who is also amongst the replacements.

Meanwhile, Simone Favaro is one of six returning internationals to the Glasgow Warriors side. Favaro was named Man of the Match in Italy’s victory over South Africa during the Autumn series, and went on to captain his country for the first time the following weekend against Tonga.

He starts at openside flanker, joining number eight Ryan Wilson and Rob Harley in the back-row. Jonny Gray is another of those returning, captaining the side from the second-row alongside Tim Swinson.

Up front, Zander Fagerson starts at tighthead, packing down next to Fraser Brown and Gordon Reid. Stuart Hogg, who will be looking to bring his international form back to the club game, starts at full-back.  Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones start on the wings and Sam Johnson is joined by the returning Alex Dunbar in midfield.

Finn Russell is at fly-half, outside of last weekend’s Man of the Match and try-scorer Ali Price. Co-captain Henry Pyrgos is involved for the first time since the home game against Treviso having overcome a knee injury and he starts on the bench.

Lock Brian Alainu’uese is also named among the replacements and could make his European debut for the club.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We have a huge challenge ahead of us this weekend against one of the best teams in Europe, but we will travel to Paris with belief in achieving something special.

“We know Racing 92 well having played them twice last season and have learned a great deal from those experiences. We have also been boosted by our returning international players who have helped us have a very good week of training.”

Form: Glasgow Warriors face a second tough trip in a row in Pool One as they head to Paris to face a Racing 92 side that beat them 34-10 at Stade Yves du Manoir last season. This follows their 38-17 defeat against Munster at Thomond Park in Round Two and an impressive showing in their tournament opener when they beat Leicester Tigers 42-13 at Scotstoun. Racing’s Round One fixture against Munster was postponed after the Irish province’s head coach, Anthony Foley, died of a heart problem at the team hotel on the eve of their clash in Paris. They then suffered a 27-17 loss to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in Round Two.

The teams:

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Anthony Tuitavke, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Chris Masoe, 21 Xavier Chauveau, 22 Benjamin Dambielle, 23 Albert Vulivuli

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Samuel Johnson, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Robert Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Brian Alainu’uese, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Mark Bennett, 23 Sean Lamont

Date: Saturday, December 10
Venue: Stade Yves du Manoir
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: John Meredith (England), Wayne Falla (England)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (England)