Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier

Date published: December 7 2017

Scotland centre Huw Jones will make his Glasgow Warriors debut when they take on Montpellier in Friday’s Champions Cup clash at Scotstoun.

Despite losing their opening two European encounters, leaving their qualification hopes teetering on the brink, boss Dave Rennie has named a strong team.

Jones starred for Gregor Townsend's men in the autumn and will line up alongside Sam Johnson at centre after signing from the Stormers.

Ruaridh Jackson continues at full-back in the absence of Stuart Hogg while Tommy Seymour replaces Lelia Masaga on the wing, who drops out of the squad.

At half-back, Finn Russell and Ali Price come back into the side after being rested against Cardiff Blues the previous week.

Rennie has also chosen to alternate his forward pack with James Bhatti and Zander Fagerson starting at prop and Ryan Wilson shifting to the blindside, allowing Samuela Vunisa to take the number eight slot.

Star lock Jonny Gray comes into the XV as well, replacing Kiran McDonald.

A defeat would effectively end Glasgow’s chances of entering the knockout stages but that also applies to Montpellier.

Following Rennie’s lead, Vern Cotter has decided to strengthen the French outfit, bringing in imposing wing Nemani Nadolo, who joins Jesse Mogg and Benjamin Fall in an exciting back three.

They will be supported by an unchanged centre partnership, with Frans Steyn and Jan Serfontein lining up at centre.

Ex-New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden makes his Champions Cup debut, linking up with Enzo Sanga at half-back.

In the forwards, home grown hero Louis Picamoles is at number eight, which means Kelian Galletier moves to flanker and Julien Bardy keeps his place at openside.

The front-five is also rotated. Nico Janse van Rensburg is the only one to retain his place as Jacques du Plessis, Johannes Jonker, Bismarck du Plessis and Mikheil Nariashvili all come into the side.

Form: Despite being unbeaten from 10 games in the PRO14 competition, Glasgow Warriors are yet to win a Champions Cup match this season. They are firmly rooted to the bottom of Pool 3's standings after failing to pick up bonus points in their defeats to Leinster (34-18) and Exeter Chiefs (24-15). Meanwhile, Montpellier, who are in second place on the Top 14 table, have fared slightly better, but they are also winless although they are two points clear of Glasgow in the standings after their narrow losses to the Chiefs (27-24) and the Irish province (24-17). These two clubs have met four times in the Champions Cup with Glasgow yet to lose against the Top 14 side (W3, D1). The four previous meetings have seen 120 points scored in total, at an average of 30 per game. Glasgow Warriors have lost their last three Champions Cup games, their worst run since losing seven consecutive matches from January 2012 to January 2013. Montpellier have lost their last nine games away from home, although they've secured a losing bonus point in three of their last four such games. Nemani Nadolo has beaten 20 defenders after just two games, nine more than any other player in the Champions Cup this season.

The teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 James Bhatti
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Matt Smith, 21 George Horne, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Niko Matawalu

Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Enzo Sanga, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Jacques du Plessis, 4 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Grégory Fichten, 18 Mohamed Haouas, 19 Konstantine Mikautadze, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Benoit Paillaugue, 22 Gabriel Ngandebe, 23 Henry Immelman

Date: Friday, December 8
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald (England), Andrew Jackson (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)