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Gregor Townsend: Interest in Glasgow's players inevitable

Gregor Townsend admits it is inevitable Europe's biggest spending clubs will try to lure away Glasgow's top stars after their stunning double over Racing 92.

Warriors have all but killed off the French champions' hopes of making the Champions Cup knock-out stages after this month's sensational back-to-back victories.

But Townsend concedes shooting down Dan Carter and co. will only have alerted cash-rich sides from the English Premiership and France's Top 14 to the talents he currently possesses.

The Scotstoun coach has managed to persuade the likes of Stuart Hogg, Henry Pyrgos and Adam Ashe to re-commit themselves to Glasgow in recent weeks.

But j oint-skipper Jonny Gray has already been linked with a move to Toulon and Townsend confessed the team he has spent the last four years building will eventually be picked apart.

Townsend - who will not have to worry about those consequences as he prepares to take over the Scotland side next summer said: "If our players show they can perform at the best level then they earn the right to not only to get international recognition but to earn a better contracts here.

"But that also means other clubs will be interested in them.

"We had that last year with Leone Nakarawa moving to Racing but it is a good position to be, because it means we're taking on the best in Europe and our players are showing what they can do.

"For Scottish rugby as a whole, it's important there is a balance between allowing too many players to leave. We as a club had 14 players in the last Scotland squad then you add in the Edinburgh players, so it shows there is still not a huge amount of guys playing outwith our borders.

"But it is inevitable that with amount of really good players coming through, they are not going to stay at just two teams. They are going to end up playing elsewhere.

"If it's right for the player and he can still improve, then it's not a bad thing is he moves on. But right now we certainly want to keep our best players."

One player likely to be in high demand is stand-off Finn Russell.

He was the architect of Glasgow's triumphs over Racing as he outshone All Blacks hero Carter over two games.

And Townsend believes he can fire himself into contention for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand next summer if he continues to improve.

The Glasgow boss - who has made six changes to his line-up ahead of facing Edinburgh at Murrayfield in their Boxing Day Guinness PRO 12 clash - said: "He's playing with a lot of confidence right now and making really good decisions - but I think he's only scratching at the surface of the player he can be.

"He'll be the first to admit that there were a few things that didn't go for him against Racing. That will always happen to players at 10 who have to make decisions.

"He's experienced a lot over the last few months - winning the PRO12, overcoming a serious injury - but he's learned a lot. When you play against Australia for Scotland and then Racing with Dan Carter, one of the best fly-halves to ever play the game, then you are going to be a better player for the experience.

"There is a lot competition of at stand-off for the Lions. England have two guys in that position and they are unbeaten for the whole of 2016. There's Jonny Sexton, a Lions Test stand-off, who is a brilliant player, and Dan Biggar from Wales.

"But Finn should be in the mix because he's starting stand-off for Scotland and playing some really good rugby."

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