Glasgow Warriors urged to follow Rangers example and reach European final

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Glasgow have never made it past the quarter-finals of continental competition but Wilson knows what it’s like to taste success having led Cardiff Blues to a Challenge Cup triumph four years ago.

The Scotstoun coach had nothing but admiration for Rangers as they beat RB Leipzig to set up a Europa League showdown with Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.

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Warriors are at the quarter-final stage of the same competition and take on Lyon in France on Saturday night. They would face an away semi against either Edinburgh or Wasps if they can win at Matmut Stade Gerland.

“Nothing beats a European final,” said Wilson, whose Cardiff side defeated Gloucester in 2018 in Bilbao. “I’ve been lucky enough to experience it previously. It’s a brilliant day out and occasion to be involved in.

“If we can go on and become the first Scottish team to win a European trophy, that would be fantastic. But, first and foremost, we know Lyon are going to be a huge challenge this weekend. That’s all we are focusing on just now.”

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Glasgow Warriors captain Ryan Wilson was at Ibrox on Thursday night. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)

Ryan Wilson, the Glasgow captain, was at Ibrox and was joined by team-mates Cole Forbes, Duncan Weir, Ali Price and Sam Johnson.

“There’s a fair few Rangers fans in the squad, let’s just say,” said Danny Wilson. “It’s not all one way, a few of the boys support other teams as well.

“Even when we were away in South Africa, some of the boys were still watching the Rangers games.

“It’s a great example. It’s a team who have made it to a European final and done a brilliant job. We hope to do the same.”

Ross Thompson returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up at stand-off. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)

Glasgow have been hit hard by injuries and there are four changes to the side that went down to the Bulls in Pretoria last week.

Johnson comes back into the starting XV at inside center at the expense of Stafford McDowall, Ross Thompson replaces the injured Weir at stand-off, Johnny Matthews returns at hooker ahead of George Turner and flanker Ally Miller takes the place of the unfortunate Rory Darge.

The latter suffered an ACL injury in South Africa and is unlikely to play again this season. The prognosis on Weir is not good either, with the experienced fly-half also out for the remainder of the campaign after breaking his thumb against the Bulls.

Lyon have limited European pedigree and this is their first time in a quarter-final but they have been going well in the Top 14 and beat leaders Montpellier last week.

Duncan Weir has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a hand injury. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group)

Richie Gray spent seven seasons in the French top flight and Wilson hopes his experience will tell on Saturday.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Richie this season,” said the coach. “I think he maybe fell off it a little bit at the end of last season.

“But he’s been absolutely outstanding this season. As a leader, he’s really stepped up.”

Lyon v Glasgow Warriors: European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, Matmut Stade de Gerland, 8pm BST. TV: live on BT Sport.

Lyons: 15.Toby Arnold; 14. Josua Tuisova, 13. Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. Davit Niniashvili; 10. Leo Berdeu, 9. Baptiste Couilloud; 1. Sébastien Taofifenua, 2. Yanis Charcosset, 3. Demba Bamba, 4. Felix Lambey, 5. Romain Taofifenua, 6. Dylan Cretin, 7. Beka Saginadze, 8. Patrick Sobela (c).

Replacements: 16. Mickael Ivaldi, 17. Vivien Devisme, 18. Hamza Kaabèche, 19. Temo Mayanavanua, 20. Loann Goujon, 21. Jean-Marc Doussain, 22. Joel Kpoku, 23. Xavier Mignot.

Glaswegian Warriors: 15. Oli Smith; 14. Josh McKay, 13. Sione Tuipulotu, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Cole Forbes; 10. Ross Thompson, 9. Ali Price; 1. Jamie Bhatti, 2. Johnny Matthews, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Rob Harley, 5. Richie Gray, 6. Ryan Wilson (c), 7. Ally Miller, 8. Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Nathan McBeth, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Lewis Bean, 20. Kiran McDonald, 21. Gregor Brown, 22. Jamie Dobie, 23. Domingo Miotti.

Referee:Matthew Carley (England)

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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