Gregor Townsend was Glasgow’s head coach when they enjoyed what is the biggest triumph in their history – the PRO12 final of 2015, when they beat Munster in Belfast. But, as he looked ahead to the Warriors’ Challenge Cup final against Toulon on Friday night, the Scotland coach believed that learning the lessons of two defeats may be more useful for his old team than dwelling nostalgically on that victory eight years ago.

One loss was in 2014, when Townsend led his team to the PRO12 final, where they lost convincingly to Leinster. The other was just eight days ago, when Franco Smith’s side were knocked out of the URC play-offs in the quarter-finals by Munster.

“I would say not playing the occasion,” Townsend said when asked what advice he would give to head coach Smith and the playing squad ahead of the meeting with the French side at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. “We made a mistake in the first final we went to over in Dublin. We got too pumped up for it. It was a great day for our supporters, but we burned so much energy in that first 20 minutes and in the warm-up that we didn’t play to our potential.

“And it’s no bad thing that they lost last weekend, [because of] the physical break that they’ll get. But also that was the biggest game that they’ve had to play as a group. They maybe learned a few things from that experience and can say ‘Right, we’ve got another opportunity’. It’s rare – certainly rare in Scotland – that you’re in semi-finals and finals of two tournaments.”

While the Warriors had the weekend off, Toulon were at Racing 92 last night on Top 14 duty. While not underestimating the strength of the favourites, Townsend believes their busier schedule could tell against them.

“Toulon have got a mixture of power and pace, they’ve got a lot of experience, they’ll want to dictate the tempo. They’re a powerful side. But La Rochelle beat them last weekend. They’ll be coming into it from another Top 14 game this weekend that they have to win to get into the play-offs, so they’re maybe not going to be as fresh as Glasgow.

“If Glasgow play to their potential they’re going to cause Toulon problems, because the width they play at, the pace they play at, they will create try-scoring opportunities.

“It will be a very tough game for Glasgow. But I believe they can win.”