THERE were wry smiles on Glasgow faces as they flew out to France yesterday for their tussle today with Montferrand in Clermont Ferrand. Etched on memories was the oh-so-recent mauling up front from a Sale team that was far bigger, and far stronger in almost every department.

``It was quite funny,'' said winger Derek Stark, ``but the Sale boys were telling us after the game on Wednesday that they had been taken apart up front by the French, who gave them a real doing and ground them down. That has made us all sit up and take notice. If our forwards were stuffed by Sale's, and Sale's forwards were stuffed by Montferrand's pack, then what on earth is going to happen to us?''

It was all said tongue in cheek, but the nagging doubt remains that Glasgow are off the pace when it comes to travelling over the English channel to face a bunch of hardened, unshaven, nasty, rough Frenchmen who would quite like to eat a few Scots for le petit dejeuner. The Sale rugby club may not have a backer, and they may have been told that there is no money after November to pay wages, but they were quids in to take Glasgow to the cleaners in the rougher chores of rugby at Hughenden mid-week.

Experience may have to tell for Glasgow, and while John McLeod at stand off was predictable in his attacks - so predictable that Sale encroached miles offside when they knew the up-and-under wasn't an option despite the conditions - this time Stark will be used as the voice of experience.

With Logan having departed, hopefully temporarily, Stark now finds himself in the position of being the only cap in the Glasgow side. ``I have played in France four times before,'' says Stark. ``And I played in the game when the Scottish A team beat the French A team in Brive when no one expected us to do it. We musn't think of this as an impossible mission, and we must battle as hard as we can for the whole game. Scottish teams have gone to France and done what no one expected, and we must try to do the same.''

The feeling exists in the Glasgow camp that the wet weather mid-week did not help their cause, and the lightweight pack, which wants to launch David McLeish, John Shaw and Fergus Wallace into the open field, would prefer drier conditions. Scottish sides more usually want to have seen the heavens open before playing French teams.

Both Glasgow and their French opponents have won one, and lost one. Montferrand though, have only lost to Agen, currently, the best side in France. This is a tough call for Glasgow.

Glasgow - G Breckenridge (GHK); D Stark (Melrose), A Bulloch (West of Scotland), H Bassi (GHK), G Metcalfe (Glasgow Academicals); J MacLeod (GHK), J Weston (Watsonians); A Perrie (Glasgow Academicals), G Bulloch (West of Scotland, capt), B Robertson (Stirling County), S Begley (Glasgow Academicals), M Norval (Stirling County), F Wallace (GHK), D McLeish, J Shaw (both West of Scotland). Replacements - K Baillie (Edinburgh Academicals), C Sangster (Stirling County), C Little (GHK), G Mackay (Glasgow Academicals), G McIlwham (GHK), D Porte (Glasgow Academicals).