Glasgow Warriors: Gregor Townsend relishing Saracens Champions Cup test

Mark Bennett
Glasgow ran in six tries in a devastating attacking display against Leicester

Glasgow Warriors will "have to go up another level" to beat Saracens and reach the Champions Cup semi-finals, says coach Gregor Townsend.

Warriors produced arguably their finest European performance to crush Leicester 43-0 and reach the last eight.

Townsend hopes that display has given his players belief they can go on to win the competition.

"It should," said the former Scotland player. "To play such a prestigious team is something we can't wait for."

Glasgow ran in six tries as they humiliated Leicester at Welford Road to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

They progressed as sixth seeds, with the results of Sunday's final pool matches pitting them against Saracens - the English and European champions securing a home tie courtesy of a 10-3 win over Toulon.

Had results in Pool Two been different, Glasgow would have faced a trip to Munster, but Townsend is pleased his side have a fresh challenge.

"We're probably looking forward to Saracens more because it's a team we've never played," said the man who will replace Vern Cotter as Scotland head coach in the summer.

"They're the champions, they've not lost a game in Europe for the last two seasons and there is less distance for our supporters to travel. I'm sure many thousands will try to make it down to London and there will be a lot of Scots in London trying to get tickets.

"We'll love having to analyse a new team. We'll learn from some of the things they'll do and they'll have to learn about what we do and stop what we do. It is a couple of months away and there will be a lot of work to do until then, but it should be a cracking game."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has confirmed that the club plan to expand the capacity of their Allianz Park home ground to accommodate the tie, rather than switch to Twickenham.

McCall says the Premiership team have "huge respect" for their opponents, praising Glasgow's performances against Racing 92 and Leicester - teams of "real European pedigree".

He added: "There's a really positive energy in their squad and they have a team packed full of internationals so it'll be a huge test for us but one that we're looking forward to."

European Champions Cup quarter-final draw:

Clermont Auvergne v RC Toulon

Leinster v Wasps

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors

Munster v Toulouse

Chris Ashton
Chris Aston scored the only try as Saracens beat Toulon at Allianz Park

Townsend believes the knockout format gives his men a chance of going even further in the tournament.

"We always strive to get out of our pool for the very fact that then it's just knockout rugby," he said. "The best eight teams in Europe are going to play each other and no-one has the right to go through to the next round. You've got to give your best and take your chances. We've now given ourselves that opportunity.

"We realise how tough it will be but we've been in play-offs in the last five years in the Pro12 so we've got experience of what it takes. We'll just have to go up another level against Saracens."

Glasgow scrum-half Ali Price, meanwhile, feels his side are on the road to establishing themselves as one of the best teams in Europe.

Previous Glasgow Warriors-Saracens matches
2003-4 Challenge Cup second round: Saracens 37-6 Glasgow (1st leg); Glasgow 33-5 Saracens (2nd leg) - Saracens won 42-39 on aggregate2006-07 Challenge Cup pool stage: Saracens 28-23 Glasgow; Glasgow 6-6 Saracens
2006-7 Challenge Cup quarter-final: Saracens 23-19 Glasgow2007-08 Heineken Cup pool stage: Saracens 33-31 Glasgow; Glasgow 17-21 Saracens

"Our goal has always been to be one of the top teams in Europe - the best team in Europe," said the Scotland international.

"I feel like we're now on the way to proving that. We're into the top eight clubs in Europe and I feel if we match the physicality and intensity of any team in that top eight then we can go anywhere in Europe and pick up the result.

"I don't see why we can't win it. We've made it to the last eight and we've earned our place here. If we click on our day I feel that we've got the attacking style to break down anyone."

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