AL KELLOCK, the captain of Glasgow Warriors, has welcomed the selection of 25 of the club's present and past players in Scotland's Six Nations Championship training squad but knows it gives them an added responsibility ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup meeting with Northampton Saints
Kellock was part of the Scotland team that dropped to 12th place in the world rankings with defeat to Tonga in November and, either side of that, has led Glasgow through their worst Heineken Cup run in his time with the club.
With an Edinburgh victory at Saracens on Sunday all but unimaginable, his side now have the only realistic chance of preventing a first winless Scottish season in Europe and, since the Six Nations opens with a visit to England, there is an extra edge to Saturday's match because of the make-up of the opposition. "That definitely doesn't go unnoticed, especially when you look at the number of guys who are likely to be involved from Northampton, as well," Kellock said. "I like to think we are learning lessons and, if that's the case, this should be our best performance in Europe."
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Midway through his seventh season as club captain, the man who led Scotland at the last World Cup is used to looking for ways of lifting his men to greater effort and with so many of them now in with a chance of involvement at Twickenham on February 2 he admits that there is no shortage of ways of doing that this week.
"This weekend's team motivating factor is about us continuing momentum to take on into the league, but there are individual motivations as well; the fact the guys are going for positions in the squad . . . the fact that this is the last game before England. There's a lot at stake even though we can't qualify," he said.