Match Preview | Lions
A new opponent will take to the Scotstoun pitch this Saturday afternoon, as Glasgow Warriors welcome the Emirates Lions to town in round three of the United Rugby Championship.
It’ll be the second successive weekend on which Danny Wilson’s side has faced off against a team for the first time, having claimed a 35-24 bonus-point victory against the Sharks last time out.
With the Lions the only South African franchise to record a victory in the 2021/22 campaign to date, however, Wilson and his players will be taking the challenge of the Johannesburg-based outfit extremely seriously indeed.
So what should you know about the Lions ahead of kick-off?
Whilst Saturday’s meeting will be the inaugural clash between the Warriors and the Lions, there are a few connections between the two sides.
Lions winger Rabz Maxwane is already well known across the competition after scoring 14 tries in 20 matches during the 2018/19 Guinness PRO14 campaign, including a double against an Edinburgh side containing current Glasgow props Simon Berghan and Murray McCallum.
Former Warrior and fan-favourite Josh Strauss also holds fond memories of his time with the Lions, having served as club captain in the 2012 Super Rugby campaign.
Ones to watch
The flying Maxwane has already made an impact in the 2021/22 URC, crossing for a brace of tries in the opening match of the competition against Zebre in Parma. Blessed with rapid acceleration and an eye for the try-line, the Warriors will need to be on their guard against the 25-year-old winger.
Another member of the Lions rapid back division has also been catching the eye, with 23-year-old Wandisile Simelane impressing in the midfield in the franchise’s opening two fixtures. The former South Africa U20 star is a product of Jeppe High School in Johannesburg, who can also boast current Springbok Sbu Nkosi and former South Africa Head Coach Jake White amongst their alumni.
Up front, the experienced figure of Jaco Visagie at hooker adds some steel to an already physical forward pack. The 29-year-old can boast spells at Gloucester and Toulouse in his career to date, as well as over 50 appearances for the Bulls in Super Rugby.
A clash with the Lions is likely to bring back good memories for one Warrior in particular; after all, the South African side were the opponents for Ali Price’s first try in British and Irish Lions colours.
The scrum-half served notice of what was to come on this summer’s tour with 32 minutes on the clock, finishing off a well-worked lineout move by diving over untouched under the posts.
It was part of a virtuoso tour from Price, who went on to feature in all three Test matches against the world champion Springboks.
Gianluca Gnecchi takes charge of Saturday’s match at Scotstoun, as the Italian referees his tenth match in the competition across recent seasons.
David Sutherland and Dunx McClement will be his assistants, with Matteo Liperini serving as the Television Match Official.
How to follow the match
If you’re unable to make it to Scotstoun, you can watch the match live on Premier Sports 1, with kick-off scheduled for 3.05pm.
You can also follow all the action as it happens in our Live Match Centre; head to glasgowwarriors.org from an hour beforehand for all the updates.