Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie has predicted an “outstanding match up” as Scotland stand-off Finn Russell goes head-to-head tonight with Kiwi superstar Aaron Cruden.
Vern Cotter’s Montpellier visit Scotstoun in the European Champions Cup in what will be another big stage for Russell to show off his world-class credentials before he joins French giants Racing 92 next season.
Rennie knows Montpellier playmaker Cruden well having worked with him extensively in New Zealand and believes the clash of the stand-offs will be pivotal to the outcome of a game Glasgow need to win with a bonus point to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.
Cruden won the last of his 50 All Blacks caps in the final Test against the British and Irish Lions this summer before heading to France on a three-year contract reported to be worth close to £2 million. He was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning New Zealand side but missed the 2015 success in England with a knee injury.
“I think he [Cruden] is one of the best 10s in the world, if not the best 10,” Rennie said yesterday.
“I worked with him for a hell of a lot of years at Manawatu, New Zealand Under-20s and at the Chiefs. He has a great understanding of the game and he is really driven, very professional.
“He has a very attacking mindset. It’s a bit different for me to be coaching against him but I’m looking forward to it.
“They are very similar players. Finn has the ability to challenge defences and ask questions. He has an excellent skill set so it is an outstanding match up.”
Glasgow, like Montpellier, have lost both Champions Cup games against Leinster and Exeter and the visitors’ flanker Jacques du Plessis, pictured, admits his side have their work cut out at Scotstoun.
The South African said: “I have watched some of their matches. They are a great team, fast, with a lot of Scotland internationals. It will be a tough battle. If we want to qualify, we will have to win all our matches. This is our goal. We must not lose this match in Glasgow. We have to go and be sure of our strength. I think we have the means to do it.”