European Champions Cup: Townsend says Glasgow 'must beat Racing 92'

Gregor Townsend
Gregor Townsend says Glasgow Warriors must beat Racing 92 at least once

Glasgow Warriors must win at least one of their December clashes with Racing 92 to stand a chance of progression in the European Champions Cup, according to head coach Gregor Townsend.

Warriors sit second in Pool 1 with five points from two matches and only the top team assured a quarter-final berth.

Their double-header with the French champions begins in Paris on Saturday.

"It'd be great if we could win them both and that's the target," said Townsend.

"But we need to be going into our final two games having had at least one win over these two games."

The corresponding group game takes place when Racing travel to Scotstoun on 16 December.

Glasgow, who have never reached the last eight of Europe's top-tier competition, hammered Leicester Tigers at Scotstoun in their opening fixture.

A week later, however, Townsend's side were thrashed in similarly emphatic style by Munster, following the death of their head coach, Anthony Foley.

Warriors met Racing in last year's pool stages, losing the first match in Paris, before recording a 22-5 victory over the Top 14 champions at Kilmarnock's Rugby Park.

While Glasgow were already eliminated by then, a star-studded Racing went on to reach the final, where they were beaten by Saracens.

Leone Nakarawa
Former Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa now plays for Racing 92

The wealthy Parisians' squad features the likes of All Blacks greats Dan Carter and Joe Rokocoko, Argentine Juan Imhoff and a host of French internationals, as well as former Warriors phenomenon, Leone Nakarawa, the Fijian lock.

"They're among the top three, top four sides in Europe," said Townsend. "They were runners-up last year and French champions so that gives you the right to be classed among the best in Europe.

"They've spent a lot of money to become one of the leading lights in Europe. They've got some of the best players the game has ever seen.

"So we know the tests ahead of us, we know the players in their team will play close to their maximum in the Champions Cup.

"Last year (in Paris) we had chances against them. We had a few line breaks that didn't lead to tries. And then in the second half they just got the upper hand, especially in the set-piece. We know we'll have chances, we've just got to make sure we take them."

After a trio of Pro12 defeats yielding a cumulative points tally of 64 conceded and just 23 scored, Townsend insists the challenging fixture is the perfect opportunity to halt a poor run of form.

"I think it is (the ideal game)," he said. "You want a challenge. It's a different competition; we've been disappointed with our results in the Pro12.

"The focus is now on something totally different - a new team, a different type of rugby and an opportunity for us. We know if we can go out there and win, we'll be in a really strong position in our group."

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