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Gregor Townsend hopes Racing 92 match will fire up Glasgow

Gregor Townsend hopes the challenge of facing down one of the strongest sides in Europe will shake his Glasgow side out of their slump.

Warriors take on French Top14 winners Racing 92 in Paris on Saturday as they resume Champions Cup action after three straight defeats in the Guinness PRO12.

Scotstoun head coach Townsend is in no doubt about the quality of opposition awaiting his men at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir.

But he hopes the task of staring down the likes of star stand-off Dan Carter will inspire his men to produce a shock result.

He said: "Racing are among the top three, top four sides in Europe.

"They were Champions Cup runners-up last year and won the Top 14 so that gives you the right to be classed among the best in Europe.

"They've spent a lot of money to become one of the leading lights in Europe. They've got some of the best players the game has ever seen.

"So we know the tests ahead of us, we know the players in their team will play close to their maximum in the Champions Cup.

"Maybe we're going to Paris as underdogs. Maybe they have seen our results and the fact they beat us comfortably over there last year.

"But we have got to make sure we turn up and show the best version of ourselves.

"Last year we had chances against them. There were a few line breaks that didn't lead to tries and in the second-half they got the upper hand, especially in the set-piece. We know we'll have chances. We just need to make sure we take them this time."

Glasgow were disappointed as they slumped to defeats against Scarlets, Ospreys and Munster but will have six of their international stars back after autumn Test duty.

Italy flanker Simone Favaro returns after being named man-of-the-match in the Azzurri's surprise win over South Africa, while prop Zander Fagerson, lock Jonny Gray, stand-off Finn Russell, centre Alex Dunbar and full-back Stuart Hogg are recalled after their involvement with Scotland last month.

"It's great to have these guys back. They bring something different, they all have their different personalities and we have missed them.

"The whole group certainly feels back to normal. We've got Simone back in after he had a great experience with Italy.

"We've got some massive games coming up so hopefully the guys respond. You want a challenge, it's a different competition for us having been disappointed with our last few results in the PRO12, so this gives us the chance to focus on something totally different.

"It's a different side to the Racing line-up we faced last year and a different type of rugby for us to experience.

"It's an opportunity too. If we can win, we know we'll be in a really strong position in our group."

Warriors sit second in Pool 1 after victory over Leicester and defeat away to Munster.

Racing will be welcomed back to Glasgow next Friday and Townsend believes his men must topple the French giants at least once if they are to make the knock-out phase for the first time in the club's history.

"Saturday's game is huge," he said. "I think we're in the mix in the Champions Cup, we had an excellent win against Leicester and a disappointing defeat.

"After two games we have five points and we need to back that up with more points.

"It would be great if we could win them both against racing and that's the target but we need to go into our final two games having had at least one win over these next two matches."


From Belfast Telegraph