Glasgow Warriors can be like Barcelona - Gregor Townsend

Interview: Gregor Townsend
Guinness Pro12: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
Venue: RDS Arena, Dublin Date: Friday, 27 March Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC2 Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland (MW) and the BBC Sport website

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said his club is looking to emulate football giants Barcelona.

Townsend went to study the Spanish side to take a look at study how they develop players, and left impressed.

"They are probably the best sports club in the world in how they bring through their own people," said Townsend.

"It's more than just what they do on a Saturday. It would be great if something like that could happen in Glasgow."

He continued: "We have to look at a long term view of how we can make this club better. Not just for this season but for 5-10 years.

"We're a couple of steps along the way in terms of crowd numbers, in getting young players through, of being near the top of the table, so adding to that would certainly be an aim.

"The environment, the philosophy about how they develop their players, the style of player they look at to come into their squad and structure, to the style of football they play at the highest level. It just seeps out through everything you see.

"They're very strong in their values, very respectful. The under sevens will wear the same kit as the first 11, and you see the attachment and identity right throughout the club players, youngsters wanting to be a Barcelona player and knowing what it takes to be a Barcelona player."

Townsend also revealed it was one of a number of visits the club have made to other sports club as they look to develop Glasgow Warriors further.

He said: "We aim to learn from a number of sports. The same time I was in Barcelona one of the team were with the Dutch hockey team, then PSV Eindhoven. Our analyst was down at a rugby league team.

Gregor Townsend watched the youth teams at Barcelona training
Gregor Townsend watched the youth teams at Barcelona training

"Any environment we believe we can see success there and get links to learn from coaches, learn from players as well, we're open to sharing ideas, we're also seeing what we can bring back."

Closer to home, Warriors welcome back seven internationals for the trip to face Leinster on Friday, with Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, Fraser Brown, Tim Swinson and Rob Harley all set to start the game.

"It's probably the strongest test we'll have all season," said Townsend. "Leinster are reigning champions and over on their own patch.

"Irish rugby is on a real high right now and a lot of their players were involved in the Six Nations winning championship team.

"We've had a lot of close games with them. The first game here was probably the best we've played from an attacking perspective.

"The games tend to be very competitive, very open, and we know we'll have to play at our best to win."