As he finalises his preparations for a crucial European Champions Cup double header, Dave Rennie knows there could be bonus points of a different sort available should his Glasgow Warriors prevail in Lyon this weekend.

The French side has lost its first two matches in the competition so another defeat this weekend would end its interest in Europe this season.

Engaged as it is in the battle for play-off places in the French Top 14 competition, motivation levels would be such that there would be little prospect of them putting up much of a fight in the return leg, so any kind of win this Saturday could be enough to earn Glasgow a valuable nine points which would set them up perfectly for the remaining Champions Cup matches in January.

That, though, only ups the ante in the first of their back-to-back clashes and he is only too aware of that, too.

“I imagine they will be desperate as this is a massive game for them,” he said. “If they don’t get it right their European campaign is over. They are a side that offloads a lot and they kick the ball a fair bit. They’re pretty creative, one of the best French sides around. We think there are opportunities but we’ll have to be really clinical and look after the ball.

“I’m not sure what their mindset will be if we get a result there (but) at home, the French sides are different creatures.”

The same can be said of Glasgow down the years, particularly in Europe, but in this season’s competition they rebounded from a defeat to English champions Saracens at Scotstoun by claiming a bonus point win in Cardiff and even in the absence of most of their international contingent they can draw confidence from also having done well on the road in the autumn international window.

Those recent performances have been such that Rennie admitted to having been forced into a re-think by those recent performances, most recently last Saturday’s extraordinary win against the Scarlets even after the team was reduced to 14 men for more than three quarters of the encounter following the dismissal of prop Alex Allan who will discover his fate, in terms of suspension for the high tackle which saw him shown a red card, at a disciplinary hearing tonight.

Naturally the majority of his senior international players will return this weekend having been given time off following the autumn Tests,, but they returned to Scotstoun this week knowing they are coming under increasing pressure for their places.

“There will be a fair bit of change of personnel,” said Rennie. “Obviously, it was a big effort at the weekend and there are some pretty sore and tired bodies, but some guys will be rewarded and we’ll bring in some fresh legs.

“We had a pretty clear plan in mind around Lyon. Obviously, the international guys have played a lot of footie and we needed to freshen them up mentally as well as physically. Even guys like Callum Gibbins and Rob Harley, who trained the whole time with Scotland without getting a sniff, we just felt we had to freshen them up. They’ve come back in, keen as... A few internationals have come back over the past few games but the group that has been here has done a really good job.

“We’ve picked up 16 points from the past four games and there was pretty good opposition amongst that, Munster, Ospreys, Cardiff and Scarlets. Those boys have done a good job and the challenge for the guys coming back in is that we have to raise standards even more.”

The challenge facing Rennie is one that has repeatedly caught coaches of Scotland’s professional teams out in the past with collective continuity sacrificed in favour of individual quality, but recognising that in advance provides the best possible chance of getting the mix right.

“I guess there’s a bit of feel in it,” said the coach. “Quite often you can bring guys straight back from international rugby thinking it will strengthen you and it ends up hurting you. Hence the reason we left a number of those guys out last week and I think we’ll benefit from that this week.”

“You try to build momentum, you try to drive expectation. The good thing is that the group that played last week put a little bit more pressure on for people to keep building what we are doing.

“What we know is that this is a massive game for us and if we don’t get it right then it is doubtful we’ll get out of the pool stage and if we get it right and get it right the following week then we put ourselves in a really good position with Cardiff coming here in round five.

“Then, obviously, we’ve got a couple of big Edinburgh games following Europe, so if we can get it right over the next month we’ put ourselves in a good position in both comps.”