Match Preview – Sale Sharks
A place in the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition is the prize at stake for Glasgow Warriors this weekend, as the club travels south to take on Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Rennie’s men know that a victory is the minimum required to keep their
quarter-final hopes alive, with their fate also dependent on other results
around Europe this weekend.
travels south on the back of last Saturday’s thrilling 31-31 draw with Exeter
Chiefs at Scotstoun, having pushed the English Premiership leaders all the way
in a pulsating encounter in Glasgow’s west end.
are already out of contention for the knockout stages, but with a squad laced
with world-class talent the Warriors will be under no illusions as to the
challenge awaiting them on Saturday evening.
the Sharks are shaping up ahead of this weekend’s clash:
Sharks form guide
Diamond’s side is unable to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup
quarter-finals, with the English Premiership outfit currently bottom of Pool
Two with one win from their five matches in the competition to date.
bonus-point was all the Sharks could take from an opening round trip to
Scotstoun, as Diamond’s men found themselves edged out in a 13-7 victory for
victory over La Rochelle in round two put the men from the north-west back in
contention, but a narrow 22-20 defeat at home to Exeter in round three left
their qualification hopes hanging by a thread.
was sealed in round four, as the Sharks found themselves overpowered at Sandy
Park before defeat away to La Rochelle last weekend left them bottom of the
standings heading into the final round of pool stage action.
The AJ Bell
Stadium bade farewell to a former Warrior over the summer, as Josh Strauss made
the switch to the Bulls after a short stint as a medical joker with Stade
utility back James O’Connor was another to leave the Sharks following his Rugby
World Cup commitments, returning home to join Super Rugby side the Reds ahead
of the new season.
Samoan centre Johnny Leota and Russian second-row Andrei Ostrikov also said
goodbye to the club, whilst George Nott and Paolo Odogwu joined London Irish
and Wasps respectively.
company caught the eye of many an observer with their off-season recruitment,
as they looked to push on towards the top end of the English Premiership.
African second-rower Lood de Jager headlined an influx of players from the
Rainbow Nation, arriving following his side’s triumphant 2019 Rugby World Cup
Rob, Dan and
Jean-Luc du Preez all also made the switch to the AJ Bell in the off-season,
with Simon Hammersley and Mark Wilson linking up with the Sharks from Newcastle
Falcons following their relegation in 2018/19.
in the Scotstoun meeting between the two sides, hooker Akker van der Merwe provides
a constant threat with ball in hand in open play. The South African’s brand of
hard carrying, coupled with a deceptive turn of pace, makes him a key cog in the
Hammersley’s performances with Newcastle earned him a reputation as one of the
most dangerous counter-attackers in the Premiership, with Sale pouncing
following the Falcons’ relegation. A safe pair of hands under the high ball to
boot, the former Durham University man has added to Sale’s attacking options
brother Tom has been winning plaudits across the rugby world with his
performances for England, Ben Curry has been equally as impressive in a Sharks
jersey. The flanker is just as capable of causing havoc from blindside flanker
as he is from the openside, forming a potent double-pronged attack when paired
with his sibling.
It was the
Warriors that claimed the victory when the two sides met earlier in the season,
as a DTH van der Merwe try proved decisive in front of the Warrior Nation.
Scotstoun crowd roared with delight as the Canadian dived over for Glasgow’s
sole score of the afternoon, man-of-the-match Adam Hastings contributing two
penalties and a conversion to secure the points for Dave Rennie’s men.
will be the man in the middle at the AJ Bell tomorrow afternoon, the Frenchman
having also taken charge of Glasgow’s clash with Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park
back in November.
Chalon and Julien Dufort will be his assistants, with Eric Gauzins serving as TMO.
making the trip south for tomorrow’s encounter can follow the match live on BT
Sport 3, with The Famous Grouse Fan Zone at The Old Schoolhouse showing all the
build-up ahead of kick-off at 5.30pm.
commentary is also available on BBC Radio Scotland, whilst you can follow all
the action as it unfolds via our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.