Fixtures - Top Bar

Former Scotland skipper Andy Nicol looks ahead to exciting Champions Cup clashes

As an ex-Glasgow Warrior Andy Nicol is delighted to see the Scotstoun outfit side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, but the former Scotland skipper knows tests don’t come much harder than defending champions Saracens.

Sunday afternoon sees Glasgow travel to Allianz Park to take on a Saracens side who are looking to hold on to their European crown following last season’s 21-9 showpiece victory over Racing 92.

And Mark McCall’s men have been in imperious form in this season’s competition, winning five and drawing one of their six Pool 3 games to advance to the quarter-finals, not to mention heading into this weekend’s clash having beaten Bath Rugby 53-10 at home in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Sunday.

However, Gregor Townsend’s Glasgow Warriors have impressed too, most notably beating Leicester Tigers 42-13 and 43-0 in the Pool stages – the latter coming at Welford Road.

This is the first time Glasgow have reached this stage of the competition and former scrum-half Nicol – who spent two years at Bath before moving to Glasgow in 1999 – is champing at the bit for their historic clash with Saracens.

“I’m a former Glasgow player, as you mentioned, so personally I think it’s just great that Glasgow have got through to the knockout stages for the first time in their history,” said Nicol, now a presenter for BBC Sport.

“I never thought I’d ever see Leicester be beaten like that at home, so Glasgow will go down to Allianz Park full of confidence.

“A lot of their players appeared for Scotland in the Six Nations and doing pretty well at the moment, so they’ll come out feeling good there.

“They’re also playing on an artificial pitch at Allianz Park. They play on one at Scotstoun too, so they’re used to it. They want to play on it, they like playing on it, it gives a fast game. And when you’ve got players like Stuart Hogg, who’s on fire, and Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett and Finn Russell, these guys are just desperate to have success with Glasgow.

“Saracens are an outstanding side. They’re the reigning English and European champions, so it doesn’t get much harder for Glasgow.

“There’s Owen Farrell, Mario Itoje, I could go on and on, Schalk Burger too. There are so many world-class players there that I just think that Gregor and the rest of the Glasgow boys will just relish that opportunity.”

But 24 hours before the action gets underway at Allianz Park, Wasps travel to the Aviva Stadium to take on Leinster in the first Champions Cup quarter-final.

Wasps beat Leinster 33-6 and 51-10 in their two pool encounters last season, and with the firepower at theAviva Premiership Rugby’s leaders disposal, Nicol believes we are in for an action-packed opener.

He added: “For me the tie that stands out is Leinster versus Wasps – what a set of attacking players that will be on show.

“If the weather’s good there at the Aviva that Saturday, it will be a fantastic game of rugby. You’ve got so much attacking talent on both sides.

“Wasps, my goodness! With Kurtley Beale, with Jimmy Gopperth, Christian Wade, with Willie le Roux having come in, and then obviously up front they’ve got James Haskell, they’ve got Thomas Young, who’s been on fire.

“It’s incredible the players that will be on show that day, and it’ll be close to international quality, intensity and passion.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

For more details about Andy Nicol click here

Latest News

George North gets first 2017 tour try in dramatic British & Irish Lions draw

The British & Irish Lions concluded their midweek fixture list in New Zealand with a thrilling 31-31 draw against the…

Newcastle Falcons can’t wait for trip to Philadelphia

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards believes that the second Aviva Premiership Rugby regular season match in America can…

Dean Richards

Mark Reddish retires from rugby

Harlequins second row Mark Reddish has today (Tuesday 27th June) announced that he will retire from the game due to…

Mark Reddish

Aviva Premiership Rugby stars to feature heavily in Lions final midweek game

EIGHT Aviva Premiership players will start the British & Irish Lions’ final midweek game tomorrow looking to force their way…

Teofilo Paulo excited by London Irish move but will miss home cooking

Samoan international Teofilo Paulo is making the most of his mum’s cooking ahead of the summer move to London Irish.…

British & Irish Lions beaten in first Test by New Zealand

Two second-half tries from winger Rieko Ioane helped New Zealand to a 30-15 victory in the first Test against the…

Harlequins Ladies coach savours upcoming Women’s Super Rugby season

Women’s sport is booming according to former Richmond prop and Scotland captain Karen Findlay, who is now relishing the prospect…

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches