DESPERATION is going the be the driving force for Glasgow Warriors this weekend as they head back into the Heineken Champions Cup knowing they have to down a big, tough French side if they are to have any hope of making progress in the competition.

Fortunately, says Matt Fagerson, the young No8 who was the team's top ball carrier with 12 in the first leg in France, they are starting to find the physicality and power they need to compete with these leading teams.

"We showed we had that towards the end of last season," he pointed out. "We found our mojo, we had to to dig deep when we had to come away with points.

"It might have looked flashy when we came away with 50 points against Ulster in the semi final but a lot of that came off brutal, physical carries, brutal cleans and all the nasty stuff people don’t like to talk about. There is a proper grit about the team.

"We have become desperate to come away with wins. We have this [La Rochelle at Scotstoun] then two massive games against Edinburgh, which I know the boys are massively looking forward to. They are going to be real physical encounters."

Fagerson admits the physicality side of Glasgows performances was missing early in the season but for the last few weeks has felt it was coming back. The way the players stood held La Rochelle in France last weekend proved how far they had come.

That was particularly true in the final minutes when Glasgow were desperately defending their line and a three-point lead knowing La Rochelle, who had already lost twice in the competition, could not not settle for a draw.

Fagerson played some role in that when a tackle on Kevin Gourdon, the French flanker, that was ruled high, allowing the home side the chance to kick for the corner and set up that final attack.

"I hit him around the chest but then, towards the end, it slid up," he accepted. "There was not a lot of force in it but all the referee saw was my arm around his neck. He played what he saw.

"It was pretty nerve wracking but it shows the grit the boys had. We had to dig deep to pull it out of the bag.

"When it came down to the two line out mauls, we held them and got the turnover. It was a massive bonus. Even in phase play, we were putting them back five metres, 10 metres, it shows a lot of grit and the defence did a massive shift for us."

That was the big takeaway from the match in France, the proof that they could stand toe-to-toe with those big sides, mix it with them and still come out on top. Now that they have reminded themselves how it is done, Fagerson expects to see that brutality more often.

"In seasons past, we’ve maybe been able to the cruise through this early part of the season; we’d have gone eight games in a row on the bounce in the PRO14, or had the pool we had last year in the Champions Cup," he noted

'This season it has been pretty tough. Sale, the first half was a pretty horrible game so we had to show some grit to come away with a win on that one. It was the same there [La Rochelle] to come back from 18-6 at one point, to score before half time, then score again.

"We came off with a win away in France but the boys were still a bit upset with the way we played, the way the team played, in letting them get such an early lead.

"At times people see us as a flashy team but don’t see the hard grit. We have 100 percent line out in the Champions Cup and I think we had that last year as well but people don’t always notice that. The grit that boys had last season is coming back."