Gregor Townsend: We must raise game for Racing return

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend believes his side will have to play even better against Racing 92 if they are to repeat last week’s historic win.

Warriors sprang a major surprise when they toppled the reigning French champions 23-14 in their European Champions Cup clash in Paris. They are now looking to do the double and boost their chances of reaching the knockout stages for the first time in the club’s history when they host the Top 14 giants at Scotstoun tonight.

But Townsend — who will hand forward Josh Strauss his 100th Glasgow appearance against Racing — is worried his side’s opponents may have worked out the Scots after their shock defeat.

He said: “Both teams will know each other better and the players will have more of an understanding of each other of what is required to win. Racing 92 are a quality side and played some excellent rugby against us last weekend. We’ve got to ensure that we deliver an even better performance against them this week.

“We can’t wait to get out in front of a sold-out crowd who can bring their energy into our performance.”

Strauss starting last week’s Pool 1 clash on the bench. His inclusion at the expense of injured Italy international Simone Favaro is the only change to Townsend’s starting XV following that famous victory. That means centre Alex Dunbar and scrum-half Ali Price — who scored both of Glasgow’s tries in the French capital — retain their places.

Stuart Hogg continues at full-back with Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones on the wings, while Dunbar links up with Sam Johnson in midfield.

Last week’s man of the match Finn Russell returns at stand-off. In the pack Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson pack down in the front row, with Tim Swinson and captain Jonny Gray in the engine room.

The back-row sees Strauss come in at No.8, as Ryan Wilson switches to openside flanker. Rob Harley starts again on the blindside.

Champions Cup Pool 1 - Glasgow v Racing 92

Tonight: Scotstoun Stadium, 7.45pm

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

TV: BT Sport

Betting: Warriors 8/11, Racing 6/5, Draw 17/1

Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, S Johnson, L Jones; F Russell, A Price; G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, J Gray (capt.), R Harley, R Wilson, J Strauss

Replacements: C Flynn, A Allan, S Puafisi, B Alainu’uese, C Fusaro, H Pyrgos, M Bennett, S Lamont

Racing 92: B Dulin; T Thomas, C Laulala, A Tuitavke, M Andreu; D Carter, M Machenaud (capt.); V Afatia, C Chat, B Tameifuna; G Grobler, F van der Merwe, W Lauret, C Masoe, L Nakarawa

Replacements: D Szarzewski, E Ben Arous, C Gomes Sa, T Dubarry, A Claassen, X Chauveau, B Dambielle, J Rokocoko


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