Johnny Matthews reckons Glasgow Warriors won’t face anything tougher in their remaining matches of this season than the challenge of training against each other during the week.

Franco Smith’s side are chasing glory on two fronts with a European Challenge Cup semi-final away to Scarlets on the agenda this coming Saturday followed by a home URC play-off quarter-finals clash against Munster seven days later.

Both matches are very winnable, and Matthews believes that the success their head coach has had in developing strength in depth will be key to the team finishing a promising season with something tangible to show for all their effort.

“The fact Franco has been rotating the squad means he does have some difficult decision to make but it also means we are in a much stronger place as a squad,” said the 29-year-old hooker.

“There are over 40 boys who could all be named in the match-day squad next weekend without any real drop in performance level. That’s the confidence we have as a squad, and the toughest games we have are out there on a Tuesday and Thursday when everyone is going hell for leather against each other. It is a great spot to be in.”

Matthews – who dotted down for the 12th time this season during Saturday night’s win over Connacht – has emerged in recent months a dark horse to be selected for Scotland’s 2023 World Cup campaign in France this Autumn.

Competition is intense with George Turner, Fraser Brown, Ewan Ashman, Dave Cherry and Stuart McInally all competing for three spots in Gregor Townsend’s squad, but Matthews knows that a strong end to the season with Warriors could give him a decisive edge.

A lack of confidence is certainly not going to be a limiting factor for the team.

“Fair play to Connacht, they threw absolutely everything at us on Saturday, and we weren’t the happiest with our performance – but that’s nine from nine in the league at home this season, so we’re pretty happy about that,” he said. “We’ve had some big teams come to Scotstoun – like Stormers and Ulster – and we’ve beaten them fairly convincingly. Hopefully we can roll that home momentum now into the URC quarter-finals in a fortnight’s time, but also take it on the road next week, because winning momentum is huge.

“We’re looking pretty good at the moment, so we just need to take it forward to next week.”

Matthews joined Warriors in 2019 after impressing playing part-time rugby with Boroughmuir in the Scottish Premiership and believes that back-story has given him a hunger which has been key to his recent successes.

“I always make the joke that I came here four years ago as World Cup cover and they still haven’t got rid of me,” he smiled. “But I love making the trip from Edinburgh through to Glasgow every day to train and I love playing at the weekend. Sometimes I do have to pinch myself that I was given that opportunity, and I’m just so glad that I grabbed it with both hands. I don’t think there was one moment when I suddenly realised that I belonged at this level, I’ve just worked and grafted and tried to get better every game – which seems to have paid off.

“We’re lucky that we’ve got a hooker group who work well together and drive each other on,” he added. “Fraser [Brown] worked with me a lot on line-out throwing last summer which really helped me to develop my game, and that’s helped me get into the position where I am competing regularly for the match-day squad.

“The environment obviously helps. The culture of the squad is that everyone is pushing each other on to be better. So, you are just picking up little things every day in terms of the accuracy and the physicality and the drive that everyone has got.

“I don’t even know if we have a first, second and third choice at the club, anyone of us can step up and do a job, so that’s a really good position for the team to be in.”

Warriors have beaten both Scarlets and Munster recently, but Matthews insists that those successes will not be a factor in how the team prepares for their next two matches.

“It is knock-out rugby now, so those games that have gone by don’t really mean anything,” he said. “They are one-off game and it’s purely about who is best on the day. We just have to keep doing what we have been doing, which is take it week by week.”

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that Glasgow Warriors URC play-off quarter final clash against Munster will be played at Scotstoun on Saturday May 6 at 7.35pm. If they win that match then the face a semi-final against either Leinster away or Cell C Sharks at home the following weekend.