Glasgow Warriors v Saracens: Adam Hastings 'can handle heat' - Dave Rennie

Adam Hastings in action for Glasgow Warriors
Adam Hastings has beaten more defenders - 25 - than any other player in this year's Pro14
Heineken Champions Cup, Pool 3
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 14 October Kick-off: 15:15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland, score updates on BBC Radio 5 live, and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Coach Dave Rennie has backed Glasgow Warriors playmaker Adam Hastings to handle the heat against Saracens.

Rennie has no concerns about pitting him in a battle of wits with the two-time former winners' British and Irish Lions star, Owen Farrell.

"If you look at the last 12 months, we've always picked on form," he said ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup opener at Scotstoun.

"Guys have to earn the right to play. Adam has been outstanding."

Saracens have made a near flawless start to the Gallagher Premiership by claiming six straight wins and five bonus points.

It will be a major test for Rennie's men and Hastings - son of former Scotland player Gavin - in particular after the 22-year-old fly-half got the nod to start ahead of experienced Dark Blues cap campaigner Peter Horne.

But the Scotland international has beaten more defenders than any other player in the opening six rounds of Pro14 fixtures.

"He's really good with the ball in hand, his ability to organise and ignite our attack is really impressive," Rennie said. "He's kicking well too. So he's earned the right.

"Owen Farrell is a class operator, but I'm not sure how much head-to-head stuff there will be between the two of them.

"But, to learn, you have to play the best and we have real confidence in Adam. I'm sure Saracens will try to put some heat on him, but I reckon he's up for it."

Progress in Europe will again be the aim of a club that has only once reached the knockout rounds of the continent's premier competition.

Rennie's first taste of the tournament ended in disappointment last term as his side crashed out after winning just one of their six group games.

However, the Kiwi insisted: "We're a better side than 12 months ago - there's no doubt.

"What we've seen from the first six weeks of this season is our ability to hold onto the ball for longer periods.

"Looking back to last year, six games in, we'd scored a lot of flash tries from 100 meters out. This year, we've had to work a lot harder to score, but that's been good for us.

"We have a better understanding of building pressure and we can now go multi-phase and keep working until the right opening presents itself."

Glasgow are in the same group as Lyon and Cardiff Blues, but Saracens will be favourites.

"It's a huge challenge on Sunday - and huge is the operative word," Rennie added. "They have a lot of big men up front and they will carry hard. Their ability to recycle possession and build pressure is impressive.

"They have a lot of line speed defensively and try to build a wall in front of you.

"We're going to have to defend well, there's no doubt of that. When we have the ball, footwork is going to be important against their big men. We need quick ball if we're to negate their line speed.

"What we can't afford to do is be ill-disciplined and allow them to put us in the corner."

Top Stories