Champions Cup: Bayonne v Glasgow: George Horne returns for crunch Euro clash

Club issue an injury update which reveals that Matt Fagerson and Murphy Walker have undergone surgery

George Horne will return to the Glasgow Warriors starting XV for tomorrow night's Champions Cup clash in Bayonne. Image: © Craig Watson -
George Horne will return to the Glasgow Warriors starting XV for tomorrow night's Champions Cup clash in Bayonne. Image: © Craig Watson -

GEORGE HORNE will return to action after being sidelined for the last three weeks with a hamstring injury when Glasgow Warriors take on Aviron Bayonnais at the Stade Jean Dauger in the Champions Cup tomorrow [Friday] night.

It is a key clash for Warriors who lost their European opener against Northampton at home last week, with another defeat  not necessarily cutting off hope of making the knock-out stages of the top tier Champions Cup, but leaving that target dangling by a thin wire.

Sione Tuipulotu will captain a much changed and fairly inexperienced side (six new forwards and a four new backs in the starting XV) , although there are 10 internationalists in the starting XV, including stand-off Ross Thompson who is making his first start of the season.

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George Turner is the only alteration to the front-row, as the Scotland hooker packs down between fellow internationals Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson.

In an all-new second-row, Greg Peterson line up alongside Alex Samuel, who is making his Champions Cup debut for the Warriors.

Similarly, a brand-new back-row trio sees Ally Miller start at No 8, with Gregor Brown and Thomas Gordon selected on the flanks.

Huw Jones rekindles his midfield partnership with Tuipulotu, while Kyle Rowe comes into the back-three in place of Sebastian Cancelliere, with Ollie Smith and Josh McKay retaining their places from last weekend.

Angus Fraser will be another Champions Cup debutant off the bench having been named alongside Nathan McBeth and new dad Oli Kebble as the front-row replacements.

Richie Gray rotates to the bench after starting at Scotstoun last time out, whilst Max Williamson and Ben Afshar retain their places amongst the replacements after impressive cameos last weekend.

Henco Venter wears the number 21 shirt in a six-two split of forwards and backs, with the matchday 23 rounded out by Tom Jordan.


Meanwhile, a squad injury update explained that Jack Dempsey has undergone surgery on a facial injury sustained against Ulster in the BKT United Rugby Championship and has now begun his rehabilitation with the medical team at Scotstoun, with the back-rower expected to be sidelined for the next couple of months.

Murphy Walker also underwent surgery last week, with the prop treated for a knee injury at Ross Hall Hospital; the Scotland international has started his return to play pathway with the medical team at Scotstoun and is also expected to be out for the next couple of months.

Sebastian Cancelliere is undergoing ongoing assessment on a neck injury sustained in last weekend’s defeat to Northampton Saints, while Matt Fagerson, Sintu Manjezi and Lucio Sordoni are also being assessed by the club’s medical team, after sustaining facial, foot and shoulder injuries respectively against Northampton Saints last weekend.

JP du Preez (knee), Fraser Brown (knee), Jamie Dobie (ankle) and Kyle Steyn (ankle) all continue their respective return to play pathways as they recover from long-term injuries.

Enrique Pieretto will miss this weekend’s fixture as he and partner Stefi await the birth of their first child.

Euan Ferrie has begun his reintegration to team training after an ankle injury picked up in the club’s ‘A’ team fixture against Edinburgh last month.

Facundo Cordero has returned to full training after completing his rehabilitation on an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.

Jack Mann has also returned to full training, the former Scotland U20 back-rower having completed his return to play protocols following a head injury.

“Bayonne will provide a strong test for us tomorrow night – they dug deep to earn a draw with Munster last weekend and will want to put on a performance for their supporters in their first-ever home match in the Investec Champions Cup,” said head coach Franco Smith.

“As with all clubs, eight matches in a row leaves its mark on a squad, so it is important to keep the squad fresh while also putting out the team that we believe is best placed to challenge the opposition we face each week.

“We have spoken all season about this club being on a journey to become a great squad, and we have always known that squad depth will be important across both the URC and in Europe – we are excited to see everyone contribute tomorrow night.”


Glasgow Warriors (versus Aviron Bayonnais at Stade Jean Dauger in the European Champions Cup on Friday at 8pm UK time): J McKay; K Rowe, H Jones, S Tuipulotu©, O Smith; R Thompson, G Horne; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, G Peterson, A Samuel, G Brown, T Gordon, A Miller. Substitutes: A Fraser, N McBeth, O Kebble, R Gray, M Williamson, H Venter, B Afshar, T Jordan..

Unavailable for selection: Fraser Brown (knee), Sebastian Cancelliere (neck), Jack Dempsey (face), Jamie Dobie (ankle), Matt Fagerson (face), Euan Ferrie (ankle) Sintu Manjezi (foot), JP du Preez (knee), Lucio Sordoni (shoulder), Kyle Steyn (ankle), Murphy Walker (knee).



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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Looks like Smith has given up on Europe already. Can understand his plan to get a flying start to the season by bringing back all the internationalists and get some early wins under his belt. With injuries and SRU Scotland player protocols, the next few months are going to see teams not unlike the one selected for today’s match.

  2. Great to see Horne back. No Mathews either ?? our top try scorer?. No Vailanu our best available carrier?. I suppose we need to blood newish guys, and our injury list is rather long but this looks a lightweight team.
    A small thought, we have started the URC well this year, are we going to go all in for that rather than the EPCR , which lets be honest we have not the resources to win. Then if we drop in to the Challenge Cup we could have a chance at winning that, I just ask.

  3. Much as I admire Franco as a no nonsense coach I fear, like last week, he has got the selection wrong. Jones defence was found wanting last week and when Vailanu came on last week what a difference it made.
    While I appreciate rotation, it is important to have sufficient experience to blend in with the less experienced.

  4. Another very unusual selection from Marco. I thought he might go full strength for this one as a last chance to make progress in the Champions cup.Thats not a back five to frighten anyone although Miller and Gordon are decent players who just don’t get much game time so its a chance to impress. I suppose Marco is playing the long game ie you’ve got to give the up and coming guys some game time otherwise how else do you gain experience and many of them will be needed during the 6 Nations. Lets hope they do us proud.

  5. Oh dear this looks like a bit of a mish-mash of a team to me – our strongest front row but an untested 2nd row and underpowered back row. Unless our backs are getting a lot of ball this could be a difficult night in a raucous ground against a team that (unlike us a few weeks ago) managed to get something out of Munster away and will have their tails up. :-O

  6. A weak back five that is likely to struggle. No Fagerson or Dempsey due to injury, which makes the omission of Darge and Vailanu all the more painful. At least the Jones-Tuipolotu axis is restored, while Horne and Thompson at half back has to be the best available option. But will they get the ball? One day we might see Glasgow’s strongest available side take the field, but this is taking rotation to an illogical conclusion for what is surely a must-win fixture.

  7. An interesting pack selection vs a very tough side I fear we will really struggle up front and that will make the backs lives very tough

  8. Actually like that team, nicely balanced.
    Interesting game for Ross T to make his starting comeback


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