Glasgow Warriors are bracing themselves for a bruising physical encounter when Montpellier arrive at Scotstoun tomorrow night, but they know they will be confronting brains as well as brawn.
The French club is now run by former Scotland coach Vern Cotter, while his fellow New Zealander Aaron Cruden, the ex-All Blacks stand off, runs the show on the pitch and that ensures they will be given full respect ahead of what is a make-or-break European Champions Cup encounter.
“We know what Montpelier are like. The guys know Vern very well from Scotland, Jason and Humphs know him well as well,” said Kenny Murray, referring to his fellow assistant coaches Jason O’Halloran and Jon Humphreys who were both part of Cotter’s Scotland’s backroom team.
“We know what Montpelier are like. The guys know Vern very well from Scotland,” said Warriors assistant coach Kenny Murray.
“And with Cruden they have a different element with their game. He has the ability to kick but is also very evasive if you give him time and space and he has two massive guys outside him to get over the gain line.”
The power available to Montpellier is formidable and Murray admitted that there are unlikely to be many surprises in the way the teams set about their business with Glasgow looking to use their preferred high tempo game to run the energy out of their bigger opponents.
“When you watch Montpellier play, they are a very strong side, their game is based on physicality with big, big men,” he said.
“Their back line is one of the biggest in club rugby, not just Northern hemisphere but southern too.
“You have (Nemani) Nadolo, with (Francois) Steyn and (Jan) Serfontein at centre, huge, huge men.
“It is going to be a tough game for us but for me we will reflect back to the two Racing (Metro) games last year when we were met with real physicality and performed well.
“We have a plan how we want to play them – people will not be too surprised at what that plan will be when you play against big French sides.
“We are looking forward to it, the boys want to give themselves a chance to progress in the tournament but there is also that big battle of wanting to do well against big French sides and with Vern coaching there as well, it brings a wee added edge to it.”