Gregor Townsend reckons that Racing 92 will provide a tougher test when they visit Scotstoun on Friday night, but he can worry about that later. Just now, the Glasgow coach should still be basking in the glory of Saturday’s 23-14 win over the French champions in Paris.
Tries from Alex Dunbar and Ali Price secured a victory that Townsend described as the second best of his Glasgow tenure, behind only the memorable 2015 Pro12 final triumph against Munster.
It is only the halfway point of their European Champions Cup Pool 1 campaign – return fixtures against Racing, Munster and Leicester await – but Glasgow have given themselves a big chance of qualifying from the group stages for the first time in their history.
“It’s got to be the next best [result] after the Pro12 final,” said Townsend. “The final was a stand-out – the guys delivered in a game that really counted for something.
“Today counted for a lot, the opposition was outstanding and they delivered.
“We have played some cracking games in Europe – Bath [in 2014] and Leicester [this year] stand out – but to come over here, where I’m told they have not lost for two years in Europe, they had their full team out, and given we lost by a big score here last year, shows what this team is capable of.”
In the same Stade Colombes where Eric Liddell won 400 metres gold at the 1924 Olympic Games, it was Racing who were quickest out the blocks. With seven minutes on the clock, World Rugby Player of the Year Dan Carter sent a long pass to Casey Laulala, who sent Brice Dulin racing away from his own half. The full-back combined with Joe Rokocoko, who powered towards the try line but he was brought down, and the ball was worked back to the blindside, where Argentina wing Juan Imhoff dotted down at the corner.
A couple of Finn Russell penalties brought Glasgow back into it, and then Dunbar raced in for his try on 30 minutes. Russell took the ball at first receiver and sent his centre crashing through a hole in the French defence to score, with the fly-half adding the conversion for a 13-7 half-time lead.
The visitors took control after the break, with Russell at the heart of things again. He was brought down just short of the Racing line, but his half-back partner Price spotted a gap and scored at the base of the posts after 42 minutes.
The conversion was duly added by Russell and then the Scotland international kicked a penalty to put his side 16 points ahead with just 15 minutes remaining.
Carter danced through the Warriors defence to score, before converting to bring his side back to within nine points, but it was too little, too late.
“After their first try, the way we played after that was great,” said Townsend. “We took them on with ball in hand and we fronted up defensively.”
Next up, at Scotstoun on Friday, it’s Racing again. “They will be better next week, they’ll know more about us,” said Townsend. “They’ll throw everything at us as well.”