Henry Pyrgos thinks the Glasgow Warriors are set for a seamless transition from the Gregor Townsend era when they back up Saturday’s brilliant win in Paris in the return game against Racing 92.
The 18-times capped Scotland scrum-half has signed on for another two years at Scotstoun, following fellow Scotland star Stuart Hogg in committing himself to the Warriors through the two years of incoming head coach Dave Rennie.
The man appointed co-captain with Jonny Gray at the start of this season is one of the first of a long list of players at Scotstoun with expiring contracts to agree new terms, after Hogg’s decision last month.
But the co-captain’s immediate concern is another win over Racing in the return European Rugby Champions’ Cup match on Friday, which would set Glasgow up for the quarter-final place that has eluded them for so long.
“We’ve said ourselves it over the last few years in Europe,” admitted the 27-year-old, who made his comeback from a knee injury as a replacement in Paris. “We’ve often had one great performance and this year it’s been two performances in Europe, but that’s still not where we want to be.
“We need to go again, this has been a major reason why we’ve never qualified for the quarter-finals. There is quality opposition week-in week-out in this competition and we’re going to have to go and back it up, that’s the exciting challenge.
“We didn’t do it against Munster away after the Leicester game and now we’ve got a great opportunity to do it.”
It was not a difficult decision for Pyrgos to sign on, as he believes the club culture he’s been part of at Glasgow for the last seven years will continue even as Gregor Townsend moves into the Scotland job.
“What was done on the field has been exciting, winning the league two years ago was up there with the highest achievements of my career and I feel we can do that again,” he said.
“Once you have tasted success you really do want it again. I feel we have a group of players who can really continue that, and I want to be part of that.”
The transition to the highly-rated Dave Rennie as head coach from next season makes Pyrgos believe that success will, continue at Scotstoun.
“It is unusual when you stay at the same club and it’s the head coach that changes,” he admitted. “I think this transition is going to be way up there with the best.
“Gregor and Dave have worked reasonably close over the past couple of years, Gregor has been over there and they have shared ideas. We met Dave briefly a few months ago and told us the stuff he would like to take forward and it’s going to be exciting to be part of.”
The other factor for Pyrgos in staying is that it will be easier to play for his country, and he’s philosophical about the emergence of Ali Price during the Autumn Tests when he was injured and for Glasgow with two try-scoring performances in a row.
“That’s rugby,” he comntinued. “Every year I have been here, nothing has been handed to me or any individual.
“There was Chris (Cusiter), Niko (Matawalu) here beforehand and other guys who have been here trying to get the jersey. We all know the team is picked on form and consistency.
“Obviously I have to be playing here if I want to play for Scotland but I’m not thinking about that at the moment, I just want to get back on the pitch and play well and it’ll take care of itself.
“If I play well and contribute to the team then it’s going to help with Scotland as well.”