THE sad and unpalatable fact that springs from this game is that Glasgow's players knew they were going to lose before a ball was passed, and then proceeded to do exactly that in spectacular style.

We all knew Glasgow were going to lose. But there is losing after fighting for every inch of the pitch and biting and tugging and making a nuisance so that the opposition hate you, and there is being taken to the cleaners.

We are in exactly the same position now that we were in before the tournament which is we know that other countries, in particular France, have a huge number of bigger, stronger and better rugby players than Scotland. It is how we learn from what is becoming a series of humiliations that is the key. We must use these games to look forward.

I felt sorry for the two New Zealand coaches, Kevin Greene and Gordon MacPherson, who both must know that no New Zealand side would have gone down so lamely. Waikato or Otago would have had fur, boots and anything else that came to hand flying in the face of tramplings, and the occasional head butt.

Rugby is a sore game.

Yes, Montferrand had seven caps in their side, including the formidable Olivier Merle, back row hardman Arnaud Costes, and his fellow wing forward Jean Marc Lhermet, but Glasgow knew that last spring.

Glasgow's sole cap was Derek Stark, and, remember, nine, yes nine, of the city's starting line up are playing second division rugby week in and week out! Second division, all skin and bone and nae skill or real bother, and then into this!

All GHK, Glasgow Accies, West, cucumber sandwiches, the relic of the fee paying school system and then this!

That is the one excuse. A clash of cultures with douce Glasgow chappies coming up against real tough hommes with broken noses, scars, the odd prison sentence, and a penchant for playing screaming-hot rugby in front of packed stadia.

You folks back home, trust me, do not realise how big time this is. My fear is that if these results keep happening then Scotland's sides invited to play in the competition will be cut back. If Glasgow had been given the power to take these players away from the clubs and prepare them properly for this then things would not be so bleak.

We have to get our act together and make sure this never happens again. The players, too, have to demonstrate that they want this and change their shapes accordingly.

``They were just bigger, faster, stronger and better rugby players than our boys,'' said Kevin Greene afterwards. ``I was pleased at the way we started, but after a while they just blew us away. Once they were points up they just changed their style and ran at us. If you lined their team up against ours man for man they had all of the better players in each position.''

There were many Glasgow players clearly out of their depth, the scrum went back at knots, some even looked scared, but exonerated from blame were a truly magnificent David McLeish, who was feinting with exhaustion in the dressing room after the game, Gordon Bulloch who, likewise, ran until his last breath, and John Shaw.

Jamie Weston played some rugby at scrum half, but Glasgow's backs looked shaky, they missed far too many tackles, and despite a bright opening spell, they were chasing shadows, and not dropping them. Kenny Bailey dislocated his elbow while on for Breckenridge.

Montferrand scored through David Bory, twice, Raphael Saint-Andre (Phillippe's brother), Olivier Azam, Jean Dorlet, Christophe Larrue, Gerome Nadau, Jean Marc Lhernet, Gerald Merceron, Jean Courtiex, and there was a penalty try thrown in for good measure.

George Breckenridge scored all of the city's points with penalties.

It sounds bleak. But there is a way forward. It is to scrap the existing structure in Glasgow, denude the clubs of power, and invest in a brand new Glasgow set-up. A centre of excellence to breed rugby men of all backgrounds with skill. Glasgow should be everything. It should be like Montferrand. I tell you, you should have been in Clermont Ferrand on Saturday night.

SCORERS: AS Montferrand - Bory 2t, Saint-Andre 1t, Azam 1t, Darlet 1t, Larrue 1t, Nadau 1t, Lhermet 1t, Merceron 1t 6c 3p, Courtiex 1t, Penalty try. Glasgow - Breckenridge 3p.

AS Montferrand: Darlet, Saint-Andre, Ribeyrolles, Merceron, Bory, Nicol, Larrue, Duchene, Azam, Heyer, Lecomte, Merle, Costes, Juillet, Lhermet. Replacements: Courtiex for Darlet, Nadau for Bory.

Glasgow: Breckenridge, Stark, Bulloch, Sangster, Metcalfe, McLeod, Weston, Perrie, Bulloch, Robertson, Norval, Begley, Wallace, McLeish, Shaw. Replacements: Mackay for Wallace, McIllwham for Perrie, Bailley for Breckenrdge, Little for Bailley.

AS Montferrand ...........76, Glasgow ...........9