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Zander Ferguson backs Glasgow's own stars to shine against Racing 92

Published 08/01/2016

Glasgow take on Racing 92 and their superstar fly-half Dan Carter, pictured, this weekend
Glasgow take on Racing 92 and their superstar fly-half Dan Carter, pictured, this weekend

Glasgow prop Zander Ferguson is not worried about squaring up to some of the biggest names in rugby on Saturday - because Warriors have their own star-studded line-up.

Gregor Townsend's men take on big-spending Racing 92 and their enviable list of international stars in Paris this weekend in a crucial European Champions Cup clash.

The Top 14 leaders have named the biggest draw of all, World Cup-winning All Black Dan Carter, at fly-half with six French internationals also starting alongside the likes of Wales lock Luke Charteris.

Teenage prop Ferguson admits the Scotstoun side have never played a match of such significance as they try to keep their bid for a first-ever quarter-final slot on track.

But he is refusing to panic in the face of Racing's big names as the clubs meet for the first time.

Instead he has pointed to the likes of British and Irish Lions full-back Stuart Hogg and the exciting talent of Finn Russell - surprisingly shifted from stand-off to inside centre as he replaces the injured Peter Horne - after picking out the exciting attacking threats Glasgow can call on.

The 19-year-old - who makes his first European start at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir - said: "You couldn't pick a bigger game to bounce back after the disappointment of losing to Edinburgh last week - this weekend is probably the biggest game in the club's history.

"They are leading the Top 14 and one of the best teams in Europe packed full of world-class stars, so we're looking forward to it. It's a massive opportunity.

"They may have a team full of superstars but they are still humans who are capable of mistakes. If you spend too long thinking about who they are and what they've done, it will come back to haunt you.

"We never go into any game thinking we are second fiddle to the opponents though. We always back ourselves. We've got some big talismen of our own. If we can apply the same pressure they are going to apply to us then we have every chance of coming out on top."

The Guinness Pro12 champions - who have never made the knock-out stages of Europe's premier competition - could move to the top of Pool 3 with victory in France with two games left to play.

Ferguson added: "We certainly think this could be our year when it comes to Europe. We feel it is going to be a great season.

"It's my first European start and I'm absolutely buzzing that the coaches think I'm the right man for the job. It's certainly the biggest game of my career."

Hooker Pat MacArthur - this week handed a new two-year deal - returns from injury for Glasgow's trip to the French capital.

The Warriors European opener was postponed in November, following the shocking terrorist attack in the city.

MacArthur returns following six weeks on the sidelines with a jaw injury - sustained in the home defeat to Northampton Saints and joins Ferguson and Gordon Reid in the front row.

Leone Nakarawa returns to the side to partner captain Jonny Gray in the second-row and the only change to the back-row sees Adam Ashe come in for the injured Josh Strauss at number eight, with Ryan Wilson and Chris Fusaro continuing at blindside and openside.

In the backs, Hogg lines up alongside wings Taqele Naiyaravoro and Sean Lamont, while Mark Bennett is joined in the centres by Russell.

Duncan Weir once again starts at fly-half with Ali Price at scrum-half.

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