Glasgow pick 15 Scottish internationals for Munster clash
The Warriors know that a win could see them leapfrog the Irish province to the top of Pool 1 and represent a huge step towards qualification for the quarter-finals of the northern hemisphere’s premier club competition for the first time with one group-stage game to go at Leicester next weekend.
Full-back Stuart Hogg returns to the side after being rested last Saturday and, with Rob Harley coming in for the injured Italian flanker Simone Favaro, it means that every member of the team is a Scotland cap.
This evening’s match is a repeat of the 2015 Guinness Pro12 final, which Glasgow won 31-13 to become the first Scottish club to win a major trophy in the professional era, and, while Townsend believes that evening in Belfast remains the biggest match in the Warriors’ history, he is relishing a huge occasion at a sold-out Scotstoun.
“The Pro12 final is in the past and this is the present,” said Townsend.
“It’s a huge game for the club. We understand the importance in terms of qualification for Europe and playing at home will be a great spectacle.
“We’ve had a few massive games at home this season and the crowd have really got behind us.
“There will be a few Munster supporters there as well so it should be a brilliant atmosphere.”
Glasgow and Munster have cultivated an intriguing rivalry in recent years, including a Pro12 semi-final, final and last October’s emotionally-charged 38-17 victory for the Irish earlier in the pool campaign, which came a week after the death of their coach Anthony Foley.
Townsend has come up against Munster 12 times since becoming Glasgow coach and his win record currently sits at 50 per cent.
“We’ve been involved in real battles with them, games that have gone to the last play,” said Townsend. “The semi-final [in 2014 – a 16-15 win for Glasgow at Scotstoun] was a stand-out. Sometimes we’ve had the upper hand and sometimes they have.
“Most of the games have been really close. We enjoy the battles against them, but we know they are an opposition who will keep fighting for 80 minutes. But we do that as well. We’ve got to do that on Saturday.”