Champions Cup Pool Draw - Team by Team Guide
An in depth team by team guide of all our possible opponents as we look forward to this afternoon's Heineken Champions Cup Pool Draw.
Glasgow have been drawn in a pool with Bath four times in the history of Europe’s elite competition. Supporters may remember Richie Gray’s dramatic last minute try at Firhill in 2011 or Niko Matawalu’s bonus point score at Scotstoun in 2014; which led to the Premiership side signing the Fijian the following season. Drawing Bath would also mean a return to the Rec for Adam Hastings.
The Italians have qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time on merit having reached the Guinness PRO14 play-offs after an outstanding 2018/19 campaign. Head Coach Kieran Crowley was voted the PRO14’s coach of the year last season and masterminded a 20-17 victory over the Warriors in Treviso in January.
The Warriors have only ever faced the French Giants once in Europe’s top competition back in 2001/02 season when they were known as Monterrand. Since then they have been consistently one of the best teams in France and in Europe. Runners up at BT Murrayfield in the 2017 Final, they narrowly lost the French Top14 Final to Toulouse earlier this month have lifted the Challenge Trophy earlier this season. Could we be seeing Greig Laidlaw at Scotstoun this season?
Should Glasgow draw the Chiefs in their pool this season the headlines would all be about Stuart Hogg who joined the Premiership runners-up this summer. The Warriors faced Exeter two years ago, losing narrowly at Sandy Park before putting on a show at Scostoun, Tommy Seymour and Matt Fagerson both scoring memorable length of the field tries.
Johan Ackermann has returned Gloucester to Europe’s top competition and the Premiership play-offs since joining the club in 2017. Drawing the Cherry and Whites would give the Warrior Nation the opportunity to travel to Kingsholm and experience ‘the shed’, widely acknowledged as one of the best atmospheres in rugby as well as watching the RPA Player of the Season and Premiership Player of the Season for 2018/19, Danny Cipriani.
Glasgow’s most recent hit out against Harlequins was in Perth for the Famous Grouse pre-season Challenge last season where the Warriors were 50-17 victors. Glasgow travelled to the Stoop in their first year in the competition in the 1996/97 season and should they do so again it would mean a return to west London for Ruaridh Jackson.
Glasgow have never faced the French semi-finalists in any form of the Champions Cup so a visit to the port on the west coast would be new territory for the Warrior Nation. La Rochelle are well established in Europe and reached the Challenge Cup Final in Newcastle last season, losing in the final to Top14 rivals Clermont.
The Warriors shared a pool with Lyon last season winning at Scotstoun and on the road. The French side continue to be one of the most consistent performers in the Top14, reaching the semi-finals this season and will be looking to transfer their domestic form onto the European stage in 2019/20.
Former Scotland Head Coach has taken up a new Director of Rugby role in the South of France ahead of the new season with former French International Xavier Garbajosa coming in as Head Coach. The Warriors lost home and away to Montpellier during their 2017/18 campaign but won home and away in 2014/15 with DTH van der Merwe scoring a hat-trick at Scostoun.
Glasgow have faced Northampton Saints in pre-season for two years on the bounce and have drawn them in their European Pool 4 times. Pete Horne’s 81stminute length of the field match winner in 2013 will be remembered fondly by the Warriors Nation. Chris Boyd has returned his side to the Premiership play-offs with his expansive style of rugby the won the Hurricanes the Super Rugby title in 2016. Former Warrior Taqele Nayiravoro now ply’s his trade at Franklins Gardens.
The Swansea side are just one of two PRO14 teams that Glasgow could draw in the pool stages of this year’s competition. The Warriors have faced both Neath and Swansea in the Heineken Cup but never Ospreys. Drawn in Conference A alongside the Warriors again for 2019/20, should the sides be drawn together they play each other four times next season. The same happened with Glasgow and Cardiff last season, Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe has since made the move from the Arms Park to the Liberty Stadium.
The Warrior Nation would no doubt revel in the opportunity to finish the new U Arena in Paris with the stadium regarded as one of the most impressive places to play rugby in the world. On top of that former Warriors Finn Russell and Leone Nakarawa no pull on the blue and white of Racing. Glasgow drew the French team in consecutive seasons, winning home and away in 2016/17.
Drawing Sale Sharks would mean another reunion with some familiar faces with Josh Strauss and Byron McGuigan now playing their rugby at the AJ Bell. In Faf de Klerk the Sharks have one of the most exciting talents in world rugby at the minutes and he has be joined in the squad by several of his Springbok colleagues ahead of the new season, most notably by giant lock Lood de Jager.
The thorn in Glasgow’s side in European competition in recent years. Both of Glasgow’s progressions to the Quarter Finals of the tournament have been against Saracens who have secured their status as the dominant force in European Rugby. Champions Cup winners in three of the last four seasons and English Premiership Champions four of the last five, drawing Mark McCall’s side would give the Warriors a chance for revenge after three defeats during the last campaign.
The four times Champions have returned to the highs of European Rugby with victory in the Top14 Final earlier this month. Glasgow have shared a group with Tolouse four times and recorded a famous away victory in the 2010/11 season. Jonny Gray going up against this brother Richie for the first time ever would be a fascinating battle that the Warrior Nation would no doubt travel in their droves to watch.