Townsend excited about European adventure

Glasgow Warriors have been drawn with Top 14 winners Racing 92, Leicester Tigers from the Aviva Premiership and fellow GUINNESS PRO12 side Munster for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup.

Following the draw, which was held in Switzerland earlier this afternoon, Gregor Townsend said he's excited about playing quality European opposition.

Speaking to glasgowwarriors.org, he said: "When you get to Champions Cup level every pool has the top teams from the best competitions, and not being in the top tier this year meant we were going to get a champion or finalist and Top 14 winners Racing 92 are one of the best in world rugby.

"We know Racing 92 well as we played them home and away last year, so it'll be great to come up against them again this season."

There is speculation that former Glasgow Warriors second-row Leone Nakarawa is set to join Racing 92 and Townsend says it'll be great to come up against him if he does move to Paris.

He said: "We've played against players who have moved to other clubs before and it would be great to see Leone again.

"We keep in good contact with players who have represented the Warriors and I'm sure our supporters will be keen to see him play again, but we know he'll be one of their best players."

The last time Glasgow played Leicester was in 2000 and Townsend says he's looking forward to pitting his wits against Aaron Mauger's side.

Glasgow Warriors defeated Racing 92 at Rugby Park last seasonHe said: "It'll be great for our squad to play at Welford Road and as a coach I'm looking forward to facing a different European team.

"They're changing the way they play and they have some quality players already in their squad and internationally renowned players coming in to boost it, such as Matt Toomua and JP Pietersen.

"Leicester have always been one of the biggest clubs in Europe, they've always had that pedigree with their stadium, their structure and their past European success."

The fourth team drawn into Glasgow's pool was Munster and Townsend is well aware of how much European rugby means to the Irish Province.

He added: "European rugby is really special for Munster and they get bigger crowds for their European games.

"We know the level of intensity will go up when we play them in Europe and already in the league it's a fantastic battle against them. We've played them in a semi-final and final in the past and both our games against them in the league last season were close encounters.

"We know Munster well and we have some cracking games against each other and it'll be good to take them on in Europe next season."

Now that the draw has been made Townsend knows excitement levels will continue to build ahead of the new season and he says his players will be looking forward to returning to training next month for the second block of pre-season training.

He said: "We completed our first block of pre-season last Friday and the players are having a bit of down time, but we did highlight to them that there are a couple of dates which are important to us including today, so we can start to get our thoughts on who we're playing in Europe.

"The Champions Cup is a massive competition for us alongside the GUINNESS PRO12 and we really want to give it everything and go as far as we can."

The only way to secure your seat at all three Champions Cup home games against Racing 92, Leicester and Munster is with a season ticket membership!

Season ticket members have until Monday 4 July to renew for the 2016/17 season HERE, while a limited number of new memberships are also available to purchase HERE.

Written by
Jeremy Bone