KO 8.00 at Twickenham Stoop
Friday 5th April 2024

Live on TNT Sports 1

  • Glasgow’s last knockout fixture was the Challenge Cup final against Toulon. There are eight changes from the starting XV for that game with Kyle Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, George Horne, Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, Scott Cummings and Zander Fagerson the returning players..
  • So far in 2024, Glasgow and Harlequins have scored 358 points at an average of 29.8 points per game, with just 0.5 of those points per game coming from penalties.
  • At least seven tries have been scored in 13 out of Harlequins’ last 14 Champions Cup fixtures (nine or ten tries in ten of their last 14).
  • Danny Care’s first experience of European action was as an unused sub for Leeds Carnegie against Grenoble on 23rd October 2004. Glasgow’s replacement scrum half, Jamie Dobie, was born in June 2001 and would have been at the toddler stage when Care was taking his first steps in senior rugby.
  • Harlequins’ replacement, Cameron Anderson, was a Scotland u20s’ teammate of current Warriors, Angus Fraser, Jack Mann, Ollie Smith, Ross Thompson and Murphy Walker in 2019.
  • This is the first time Glasgow have named a starting XV with more than 200 tries scored for the club (204) since November 2020.
  • In terms of previous Warriors’ appearances the 23 selected is the most experienced for any game this season with 1,343 – although it is some way short of the 2,070 Harlequins’ matches among the home ranks.
  • Up and coming loosehead prop, Nathan McBeth, is the Warrior to Watch.


Scotland Rugby News:

Head to Head:

A couple of free-running full backs will go head to head at the Stoop. Tyrone Green has the most metres made in the Premiership (998 at an average of 72m per 80 minutes) while Josh McKay has the second most in the URC (805m at an average of 75m per 80 minutes).

Both groups are set up to attack. This may be the quickest unit the Warriors have had to defend against in any game this season.

Glasgow’s backline should have some idea of what it’s like to defend against Andre Esterhuizen. The big South African can bring the power but also distributes at first or second receiver with a skillset similar to the Warriors’ own Sione Tuipulotu.

The clash between the two inside centres should be worth the price of admission alone and could be one of the highlights of a long European weekend of action.

At just 25 years of age, Marcus Smith has already played 185 times for club and country. That’s 144 more top level games than his opponent on Friday evening, Tom Jordan, who is also 25 but has taken a more roundabout route to get to his current role..

The opposing scrum halves will play the game in a similar style. Neither of them will let up when it comes to keeping the pace high, looking for opportunities to attack - or nipping the referee’s ear…

The Harlequins’ front row will be looking to impose themselves on the setpiece battle. The Warriors’ big men may feel they can contribute a lot more around the park. Who comes out on top may come down to how stop start the game is.

Jack Walker doesn’t exactly need tips on how to get to the tryline, but the Quins’ hooker’s six tries during the current campaign are rather put in the shade by the dozen scored by Johnny Matthews. The Glasgow maul will need to be in top form if the Scouser is to add to his tally and tie (or even beat) his club record of 13 tries for a season.

Neither side has a truly dominant lineout specialist in their ranks – Glasgow are particularly missing the guru Richie Gray and the seemingly telescopic arms of JP du Preez in this area – but both sets of coaches will feel they are strong enough to secure quality ball for what should be the favoured phase of the game from which to long their range launch strike plays or powerful rolling mauls from in close.

Glasgow’s all international back row will have their hands full trying to contain a couple of the Premiership’s top performers. Will Evans turns ball over for fun while Alex Dombrandt is the most consistently successful gain line carrier.

The Fagerson / Darge / Dempsey axis haven’t started together for the Warriors since the URC playoffs at the end of last season (with one start as a unit for Scotland in the interim). Glasgow will need them to be in sync from minute one if they are to manage an upset away win and topple the fifth seeds.

In recent weeks, Glasgow have been more successful in the second half of their games, which will, at least in part, have been down to the contribution of their bench. Since the end of the Six Nations, the Warriors have won the latter period 48 – 0 (compared to an aggregate of 14 – 16 in the first half).

Harlequins had an especially tough time late on against Bath and their splits for games in the last couple of weeks are: first half 33 – 27; second half 14 – 61.

Glasgow Greetings:

Sione Tuipulotu returns to the Warriors’ lineup for the first time in 78 days. The Scotland midfielder is listed at inside centre on the team announcement, but it will be interesting to see how he and Stafford McDowall actually line up, with their 16 previous starts together all featuring McDowall filling the 12 shirt, with Tuipulotu at 13.

Warrior to Watch:

Nathan McBeth will make his first start in the Champions Cup and his fourth consecutive appearance in the number one jersey. Already during 2023/24 he has made as many starts as he managed across the previous five seasons with Glasgow and the Lions.

This is an important development, not just for the player, but also for the Warriors and, potentially, Scotland. There is a demographic crisis coming down the track in this position – as of 7th May every capped Scottish loosehead will be at least 30 years old.

At 26, and with his prime propping years ahead of him, McBeth is a very strong candidate to go on the national side’s tour of North and South America this summer. A big showing against an experienced Harlequins’ front row in Europe’s top tier tournament would go a long way to really establishing McBeth’s reputation as a credible option for international honours.

Current form:

Scotland Rugby News:

So far during 2024, Glasgow have won five out of the six games they have played (with Euan Ferrie’s disallowed try versus Exeter being the only thing separating them from a 100% record) while Harlequins have won four out of six.

In their last five matches, the Warriors have only conceded three tries. That defensive solidity will be sorely tested by the home side who average more than four tries per game this season.

Glasgow away v English sides in the Champions Cup:

  • 3 wins
  • 24 losses
  • Glasgow’s victories were against:
    • Exeter 2013/14
    • Leicester 2016/17
    • Sale 2019/20
  • Since that win against Sale, the Warriors have also emerged victorious away to Newcastle (2021/22) and Bath (2022/23) in the Challenge Cup.

Most recent match-up versus a Premiership side in England:


Referee: Tual Trainini (FFR)
AR1: Flavian Hourquet (FFR)
AR2: Ludovic Cayre (FFR)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (FFR)

M. Trainini’s regular season record for 2023/24:

  • Matches – 16
  • Average penalty count – 22.9 per game
  • Home side penalties conceded percentage – 48.3%
  • Average card count – 1.3 per game
  • Penalties per card – 17.4

This is the third consecutive season that M. Trainini has refereed Glasgow in a Round of 16 clash, following Newcastle (2021/22 – match won but penalty count lost) and Dragons (2022/23 – both match and penalty count won) in the Challenge Cup.

He has also taken charge of a brace of Harlequins’ fixtures in the last couple of campaigns, with the English Premiership side winning the penalty count fairly handily (11-14 and 11-20) on each occasion against URC opposition.

Both teams will be wary that the whistler has sent someone off in four of his last six European outings, with just a single card free game in that spell.

Dr. Tual Trainini has been a Top 14 ref for nearly eight years, but his day job is with Airbus Helicopters. He has not only a master’s degree but also a research doctorate. Add in seven published papers and his ability to speak three languages and the French official can lay a strong claim that he will be the smartest man on the pitch at the Stoop!

Additional ref stats from: https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/referee_heads.php?countryID=5