Former Scotland coach Vern Cotter and deputy Jonathan Humphreys had joked that they were convinced they would meet up again in next season’s European Rugby Champions’ Cup.
Almost inevitably Montpellier – where Cotter joined as director of rugby after leaving Scotland last month – will face the Glasgow Warriors in the pool stages and go head to head with his former assistants Humphreys and Jason O’Halloran.
The Warriors, who reached the quarter-finals of the ERCC for the first time last season, will also face Aviva Premiership champions Exeter and their Guinness PRO12 rivals Leinster in Pool 3 after yesterday’s draw in Switzerland, but the meetings with the French club now piloted by Cotter will clearly carry most interest, as Humphreys conceded.
“We talked to Vern (Cotter) about this a fair bit during the 6 Nations – we were convinced it was going to happen,” he admitted.
“We’ve worked together for a long time, so we know what the strengths and the style of play of Montpellier will be, although we said we would probably double-bluff each other. It’s a really exciting group and we’re looking forward to it.”
Humphreys and O’Halloran are already in situe at Scotstoun with new head coach Dave Rennie coming after the Chiefs have finished their Super Rugby season, and the forwards coach is looking forward to his first taste of European competition with the Warriors.
“International rugby is a fantastic experience, but it’s great to be back in club rugby and with the chance to do something special,” said Humphreys.
“There’s a slightly different atmosphere on European nights than in the Guinness PRO12.
“Leinster, like a lot of the Irish teams, seem to base their season around the European campaign, so we’d expect them to have their best players available and really go for it.
“Leinster, Exeter and Montpellier all want to play a good brand of rugby, so I think it’s going to be a really good tournament for the spectators.”
Assistant coach Kenny Murray is also relishing the challenges posed by Glasgow’s European opponents.
“We’ve had a lot of chat over the last few days as to who we might get, and I think Jason and Jon, having worked with Vern, were quite keen to get Montpellier,” said Murray.
“It’s a really challenging and exciting group. We’ve played Exeter before and enjoyed that experience, and they’ll be on a high after winning the Premiership.
“The atmosphere here when we play the Irish sides is always outstanding, so I expect it’ll be the same again when Leinster come here.
“We’re looking forward to those nights because it’s great for our club and our city.”
Glasgow centurion Chris Fusaro is confident that the Warrior Nation can play their part in another historic European campaign.
“The general intensity of the Champions Cup means the games always have a different edge,” he said. “Exeter play a great brand of rugby and are a team we’ve enjoyed playing in the past, and Montpellier are one of the French giants.
“It’s always tough against them, and I’m sure Vern going there will bring an attacking edge to their game – there are no easy pools.”