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Jonny Gray proud to see Glasgow reach Champions Cup quarter-finals

Glasgow captain Jonny Gray hailed a "very, very special" feat after the Warriors reached this season's European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Not only are Glasgow through to the last eight, but they did it in remarkable fashion by crushing twice-European champions Leicester 43-0 at Welford Road.

It was the first time since 1978 that Leicester had failed to score a point in a home match; their heaviest European defeat anywhere and biggest loss - home or away - since Bath beat them 45-0 in September 2014.

Not since the Barbarians battered the Tigers 73-19 in March 1998 had one of English rugby's genuine heavyweight clubs been floored so spectacularly on home soil during its 137-year history.

"That was something very, very special," said Gray, whose rampant team ran in six tries to claim a top-flight European knockout place for the first time.

"Reaching the quarter-finals is something the guys have been working hard to achieve. It has been a long-time goal.

"Qualifying is not just for the guys who played but for the guys who played in the years before - people like Al Kellock - and all the fans that came down.

"It was a special feeling and I am proud to make history. It was a team performance - everybody did their job really well. All credit to our guys, who stuck to our game-plan and did their job.

"For it to come together is special. We are proud to have qualified for everybody involved with the club and in the past."

Glasgow can now set their sights on the Champions Cup last eight, and even though they will be away from home, hopes of further progression in the tournament cannot be discounted.

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend added: "April is a couple of months away. Whoever we play we will be playing away, but we should take confidence from beating two excellent teams away from home in Racing 92 and Leicester in the pool.

"Whichever team we will be playing against is obviously a form team - they've won their pool - but, come April, I would like to think we will be in a very good position to give it a crack whoever we play."

Glasgow shipped 90 points when they faced Leicester in a European quarter-final play-off game at Welford Road 19 years ago, and with Edinburgh also making European progress this season in the Challenge Cup, Scottish professional rugby is flying high.

"It's a great end to the chapter, from where Scottish rugby started in professional rugby and where it is today," Townsend said.

"Something like 20 years ago Glasgow were conceding 90 points, and 10 years ago there wasn't that much hope in the future of (Scottish) professional rugby with one of the teams closing down and the other two not doing well.

"Now, we've got a situation where we've had a huge number of fans down at Leicester and the team winning.

"Edinburgh got a great crowd on Friday night, so it has been a brilliant weekend, a weekend we will all remember.

"It was a big game where we knew if we won we would go through, and if we didn't then it would be a terrible disappointment. To win away from home is huge."


From Belfast Telegraph