We continue our run through the EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A teams with a profile of United Rugby Championship outfit Glasgow Warriors.

EPCR Challenge Cup record

Glasgow have directly qualified for the Challenge Cup on three occasions, with their first appearance in the competition coming in the 1996-97 season, when they picked up just one win.

In 2003-04 they beat Montpellier Hérault Rugby 68-24 over two legs in Round 1 before losing 42-39 on aggregate to Saracens in Round 2.

Three years later, they notched four wins from six games in the pool stage to set up a quarter-final at Saracens, where they succumbed 23-19.

Last season

Glasgow were demoted from the Heineken Champions Cup into the EPCR Challenge Cup after finishing ninth in Pool A, with a 22-7 home triumph over 2020 champions Exeter Chiefs their only victory.

In the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 they saw off Newcastle Falcons 27-17 at Kingston Park but squandered a 14-point lead at eventual champions Lyon in the quarter-finals and ultimately went down 35-27.

Head coach

Franco Smith took over at Glasgow ahead of this season, with the South African having previously been in charge of the Italian national team, Toyota Cheetahs and Benetton Rugby.

A capable fly-half and centre during his playing days, nine-time Springbok Smith played 18 times in EPCR competitions for Benetton and Newport, with six of those appearances coming in the Challenge Cup.

Key players

Glasgow’s squad is awash with Scottish internationals, with props Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson, hooker Fraser Brown, lock Richie Gray and back-row forwards Matt Fagerson, Rory Darge and Ryan Wilson some of the big names in the pack.

In the backs, scrum-half Ali Price is a British & Irish Lion, while Ross Thompson was a regular points-scorer in EPCR competitions last season. Centres Sione Tuipulotu and Kyle Steyn are further Scottish talents.

Other international players are Australian flanker Jack Dempsey, the Tongan duo of No.8 Sione Vailanu and wing Walter Fifita, as well as Argentina wing Sebastián Cancelliere.

Pool fixtures

Glasgow Warriors travel to Bath Rugby in their opening Pool A game on December 10 before welcoming USAP to Scotstoun Stadium on December 16.

They then visit USAP’s Stade Aimé Giral on January 14 and complete their pool stage with a home clash against Bath on January 20.