Glasgow Warriors urged to prove themselves in Europe

Gregor Townsend celebrates Glasgow Warriors' Pro12 victory
Townsend led Warriors to the Pro12 title

Gregor Townsend thinks it's time Glasgow Warriors proved themselves at European level but realises they face a difficult task next season.

Northampton Saints, who topped the Aviva Premiership, big-spending French club Racing 92 and Pro12 side Scarlets are also in Champions Cup Pool 3.

"We've learned a lot over the last two or three years and we've shown progress in Europe," Townsend told BBC Scotland.

"But we've still not reached our potential. We've drawn a tough pool."

Warriors are Scotland's only representatives in Europe's premier club competition but were seeded for Wednesday's draw in Switzerland.

"It is obviously a competition we want to do well in," said Townsend.

"It is a fantastic tournament - you've got the 20 best teams in Europe.

"You must win at least four games from the six you play to get out your group and you've got to be at your best in every one of those six games.

"We weren't for the six last year, but we'll aim to be better next season."

Townsend insists he was excited to see the quality of the teams in a draw that pairs Glasgow with one of his former sides.

Dan Carter in action for Crusaders
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has joined Racing 92 from Crusaders

"Northampton have been one of the best sides in England over the last few years," he said.

"We were drawn against them three years ago, we played very well down there and we were 15-0 up and we just didn't have the confidence to keep that going.

"When we got them back up in Glasgow, it was a great victory - we won in the last minute."

Racing 92, meanwhile, have secured the services of Italy prop Martín Castrogiovanni and former New Zealand back-row Chris Masoe, both from Toulon, plus a legendary New Zealand fly-half.

"Racing 92 are putting together a phenomenal team with Dan Carter probably their biggest signing," said Townsend of the 33-year-old moving from Canterbury Crusaders.

"It is very similar to when we were drawn against Toulon two years ago, when it was exciting for our supporters to see Jonny Wilkinson come over, probably the best stand-off of recent times.

"And Dan Carter is right up there. He is reported to be the highest-paid player in world rugby and he's going to bring his experience to bear on this tournament.

"They seem to have got their cheque book out this summer and have signed some big names - Casto Giavanni, Chris Masoi, a couple of guys from Northampton as well - so we know we'll be facing a strong squad."

Townsend added that Scarlets were a quality side who would now feature DTH van der Merwe, the winger who left Glasgow at the end of the season on a high with vital tries in the Pro12 semi-final and final.