FELIPE Contepomi’s first season back at Leinster will end with a meeting with opponents coached by a familiar foe and the former Argentina play-maker has recognised similarities between the way Dave Rennie is coaching Glasgow Warriors and the methods that brought him success previously.

One of the greatest players of his generation, Contepomi spent the best years of his career with Leinster, winning Celtic League and European titles while in Dublin and representing his country 87 times before returning home to help the newly formed Jaguares ready themselves for the challenge of Super Rugby.

His time there coincided with Rennie’s glory days in charge of the Chiefs, leading them to their only Super Rugby titles in 2013 and ’14 and his respect for the New Zealander is clear.

"He was in Chiefs when I was involved with the Jaguares (and) although Super Rugby and European rugby are different in certain ways, you can see some traits and some touches of Dave has brought to this Glasgow team,” he said.


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"Yeah, they are a very, very good side who can turn around situations in the blink of an eye. They can turn defensive situations into attack with two, three passes; they have very good individualities as well and they are very well coached. They're a very, very solid team."

Rennie’s Glasgow play with a style that would seem to fit with what has been characterised as the ‘comfortable in chaos’ ethos championed by Stuart Lancaster, the former England head coach who is now a hugely influential figure at Leinster.

Playing that way requires every member of a team to be comfortable in possession of and distributing the ball, as epitomised last weekend when the pick of Leinster’s tries in their defeat of neighbours Munster, featured a delightful exchange of passes among their front-row, with props Cian Healy and Tadgh Furlong combining to send hooker Sean Cronin away. Contepomi, who returned to the province as backs coach last June was understandably impressed last weekend by a finish to a move that any back three partnership would have been proud of.

"It was Leinster rugby at its best as it started with a driving maul, when we got a penalty we took the advantage play, wide into the channels and then some of our backs do what our forwards normally do and when we saw space out wide, the front row play that beautiful straighten up, squaring up and short-pass rugby,” he observed

“I'm not surprised as we trained that way and today I was telling the backs, that front row action is exactly the same exercise that Stuart does with all the team of coming around the posts and squaring up. When you see it happening you realise and understand why we do things in training. It's to actually do things on game day.”

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There is also an awareness that they cannot neglect their core duties and, as much as he appreciates the silkier side of the game, Contepomi was a back who was capable of producing the physicality of a forward when the intensity increased and he is not necessarily anticipating a free-flowing spectacle at Celtic Park.

“It all starts up front, always,” he said.

“Definitely, they (Glasgow) have speed and quality in the back three and we'll have our strategy.

“It's more about a whole performance and when you get into finals rugby or into a final, it's a sequence of small moments.

"Every final is different, every game is different and you need to make sure we get those things right. Set-pieces, defence and when the chances come, make sure we take them.

“Leinster are well known for playing for good flowing rugby but I think we need to make sure that we have the proper balance of high pressure rugby in terms of… these are finals you know?

“It all goes up one level when you get into finals rugby and definitely we would like to have a lot of opportunities but it all starts in small little details of getting the set piece correct and then making sure we got into our shape on what we practice, moving parts and moving quickly off the ball so that we get into spaces where we want to and then if we can attack.

“There’s a lot of other things to put in place first to be able pass and play that flowing rugby and also the opposition will play with more intensity and put more pressure, so it’s hard to find space but I think you have to find the moments and when the moments come, take the opportunities.”