Leinster knocked his side out of Europe this season and could yet stand in the way of their bid to claim the inaugural Pro14 title, but Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie was still pulling for the Dublin-based side as they claimed the Champions Cup last weekend.

A 15-12 victory over Racing 92 of Paris, after three teams from the Pro14 reached the semi-finals in a season in which Ireland also won a Grand Slam, was the latest evidence the domestic competition in which Scotland’s professional teams play creates, when utilised intelligently, the best possible environment to allow players and teams to overcome the inbuilt advantages boasted by better-resourced teams in England and France.

That clearly seems attributable to the relegation free set-up that has more in common with traditional American than European sport or, in rugby terms, with Super Rugby which breeds Springboks, Wallabies and, of course, Rennie’s compatriots, the All Blacks.

“The good thing about our comp is that it is more positive. Three of the four sides [in the Champions Cup semis] from the PRO14 is a positive indicator,” he said yesterday. “And I know Leo [Cullen, Leinster’s head coach] well so I’m ripped for him and it’s great for this comp.”

Leinster having shown their ability to go toe-to-toe with imposing opponents when grinding out victory in Saturday’s final in Bilbao with five successful penalty kicks to their opponents’ four, Rennie reckoned they have proved that they can deal with whatever confronts them, rather than merely adhering to a philosophy of how best to play the game.

“In the end, we have a responsibility to produce the kind of product that people [want to] pay money to sit in the stand and watch [but] I think it is a good mix over here,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of brutality and it’s not just about throwing the ball around. People back home [in New Zealand] probably don’t watch a lot of PRO14 and don’t realise the quality of teams in it, which has been reflected in Europe.”

That, in turn, underlines the scale of the challenge facing Glasgow this weekend and, should they get through, on the following one since their three fellow semi-finalists are those other three Celtic teams that reached the last four in the Champions Cup.

Leinster will meet Munster in an all-Ireland derby in Dublin on Saturday, while Glasgow also have home advantage, having set the pace all season and Rennie believes their formidable home record favours them ahead of the visit of the team that won the title when the competition was still the Pro12 a year ago. 

“There’s no doubt that statistically we’ve been really strong at home in this comp. We’ve had 10 games here for 10 wins and nine bonus points – 49 out of 50 – and we haven’t conceded anything here. No team has left with a bonus of any description,” he said.

“That’s a hell of a record. It gives us confidence, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. We know Scarlets are a quality side, defending champions and I’d imagine they’ll be pretty highly motivated. I think it will make for a really high-quality encounter. They have a positive mindset and so have we.”

He played down any personal significance in terms of seeking to win a trophy in his first season at the club.

“It’s not about me,” said Rennie. “We would love to still be in the race next week. We’ve worked hard, we have a great bunch of men and 
I’m really proud of what they’ve done so far. We are keen to put in a big performance in front of our home crowd. I’m just happy to go along for the ride.”

As to whether they have achieved his goal of being ready to peak for the end-of-season knockout matches, he reckoned his players had been given every opportunity to do so and were relishing the continuing challenge.

“I suppose it will tell on Friday [but]we have used the time very well,” he said of the three weeks they have had to prepare for this match since their last league match. 

“We gave the boys a pretty tough first week. We gave the boys three days off the second week and got a good head start on the Thursday, Friday knowing it was going to be Scarlets. This week is about fine tuning and making sure we have a full tank.

“In big play-off games you need every player to front up and every player to fire. The mindset has been great. We are rapt to still be in the race. There are 10 teams who are probably drinking a fair bit of alcohol this week so yeah, the heads are good and the bodies are good. We have to put that on the park at the weekend.”