As they prepare to try to salvage their European Champions Cup campaign against Montpellier’s monsters, Glasgow Warriors will be reminded of the way they have previously performed against giant-sized French teams.
The Pro14’s only unbeaten side suffered a reversal of fortune in their first two matches in Europe, losing both to find themselves detached at the bottom of their pool.
However back-to-back wins against former Scotland coach Vern Cotter’s Montpellier could give them an outside chance of getting back into contention for the knockout stages and they know what they have to do.
“We know what Montpellier are like. The guys know Vern very well from Scotland, Jason and Humphs know him well as well,” said Kenny Murray, referring to his fellow assistant coaches Jason O’Halloran and Jon Humphreys who were both part of Cotter’s Scotland’s backroom team.
“When you watch Montpelier play, they are a very strong side, their game is based on physicality with big, big men. Their back line is one of the biggest in club rugby, not just Northern hemisphere but southern too.
“You have (Nemani) Nadolo, with (Francois) Steyn and (Jan) Serfontein at centre, huge, huge men. It is going to be a tough game for us but for me we will reflect back to the two Racing games last year when we were met with real physicality and performed well.
“We have a plan how we want to play them – people will not be too surprised at what that plan will be when you play against big French sides.
“We are looking forward to it, the boys want to give themselves a chance to progress in the tournament but there is also that big battle of wanting to do well against big French sides and with Vern coaching there as well, it brings a wee added edge to it.”
He said those meetings with Racing have given the Warriors a better understanding of the nature of the challenge. They recovered from a hefty beating in Paris two years ago to win the return match in Glasgow before, perhaps even more pertinently, beating them back-to-back in the December window last year on their way to the quarter-finals.
“The two sides have a lot of similarities. Both sides have big men in both the forwards and the back line, they are both very direct,” said Murray, who added that he believes the role of the respective play-makers will be crucial as Finn Russell goes head to head with former All Black Aaron Cruden.
“Montpellier with Cruden have a different element with their game. He has the ability kick but is also very evasive if you give him time and space. He has two massive guys outside him to get over the gain line. It will be a good match-up between the 10s.”