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Townsend's Glasgow legacy secure regardless of European outcome - Harley

Published 12/10/2016

Rob Harley does not believe this European campaign is bigger than any other for Glasgow
Rob Harley does not believe this European campaign is bigger than any other for Glasgow

Rob Harley does not believe there will be a black mark left against Gregor Townsend's Glasgow legacy if his side suffers one last European let down.

Warriors kick-off their Champions Cup campaign on Friday night when they welcome English big guns Leicester to Scotstoun for their Pool 1 opener.

The Scots - who also face former winners Munster and French giants Racing 92 in the opening group stage - are looking to break new ground on the continent having never made it as far as the knock-out rounds.

That remains a source of deep disappointment for an ambitious club who won their maiden PRO12 title as recently as last year.

But lock Harley reckons even if Townsend, who is due to take over the Scotland job next summer, does not break that duck in his final season in charge he will still be remembered fondly by the Warriors faithful.

He said: "It would be great to have Gregor get that accolade of being the first coach to lead us into the knock-out rounds but it's something we have to go out and prove on the pitch.

"It's pretty clear he's been of massive benefit to Glasgow just looking at what he's built the club into.

"I don't think anything can take away from that. But it would be nice to have one extra honour against his name at this club."

Glasgow came agonisingly close to escaping their pool last season only for Northampton's Harry Mallinder to snatch away their qualifying slot with a last-minute try in their final round-robin fixture.

Harley, though, reckons his side have progressed since then but says there is no extra pressure on them to make their mark this time before Townsend departs.

The Scotland second-rower said: "Gregor's situation isn't really something that has changed things for us.

"Our goals remain the same. We want to win the league and we've been knocking at the door of the knock-out stages for Europe and as a squad we want to take that next step and be better than we have been in years past.

"Regardless of what is happening with the coaches, that remains the squad goal which we are working towards."

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