IF ever there is a time when a player will really pull out all the stops to impress his coaches – a couple of extra pounds on the gym weights, a few extra sprints in the warm-up, two or three extra gulps of that revolting protein shake – it will be when friends and former team-mates loom in a side’s next fixture.

It is a safe bet that Moray Low will be doing all that and more this week as he tries to get himself into Exeter Chiefs’ squad for the English club’s opening European Champions Cup match at their Sandy Park ground on Saturday night. This is not just any old tournament opener – this is one against Glasgow Warriors, the club where Low played for eight years, making almost 150 appearances.

“I know quite a lot of them who were there when I was there, Pat MacArthur guys like that,” Low said. “We keep in touch. It will be good to see them. It should be a good game.”

Europe always takes things up a notch, but Glasgow have their work cut out this year. Exeter are the reigning English champions and the pool is completed by Montpelier, who went into the weekend leading the Top14, and Leinster, one of only four teams to have won the title and then retained it.

But as the players keep pointing out, you have to beat teams of this calibre if you want to win the trophy. There are benefits in getting some of them out of the way at the pool stage.

None of which reduces the pressure on the team travelling to the West Country of England – admittedly a shorter journey than the trek to South Africa where they beat Cheetahs 29-26 on Friday night but still a bit of a slog – aiming to repeat last season’s feat

and open with a win over English opponents.

The difference is, a year ago they were at Scotstoun. This time they are in Devon, and Glasgow have lost all but one of their opening fixtures when they have been away, the exception being 20 years ago when they beat Ulster the first time they were involved in the European Cup.

This is a radically different team, though, as Low knows well. He has heard all about their unbeaten start

to the season, but still sees Exeter as contenders to go all the way.

“We won the league last season, which was great, and have started well this season,” the 32-year-old said. “Now we aim to push on in another competition. It is one that we are targeting to do well in.

“We all know how important home games are in this competition – it is definitely one we will be going after.”

Low sees many similarities between his former club and his current one. Both shrugged off the tag of also-rans to emerge among the strongest teams in their respective competitions.

They even followed similar paths. In Low’s final season in Scotland, Glasgow lost in the PRO12 final. The following season, they went on to win it. Similarly Exeter reached the Premiership final in Low’s second season there, but lost it; like Glasgow, they used the experience to go one better the next time.

“We are in the same boat as Glasgow,” Low said. “It is that ability to learn from mistakes and that hunger to push on and do well, like Glasgow have done, that we share,” he said.

The similarities don’t end there. Playing style is another.

“They seem to be going for a high-tempo game with the ball in play a lot,” Low added. “They want to challenge the opposition and play at a tempo they cannot live with. That is also what we try to do at Exeter. We try to play at a tempo the opposition cannot deal with.

“Our ball-in-play time, compared to other teams in the Premiership we were two or three minutes ahead of anyone else. Glasgow are similar. They like to challenge teams to keep up with them. Having two teams that play that brand of exciting rugby will be cracking to watch.

“We are high tempo at training. For a big forward like me it is quite tiring but it is one of the things we pride ourselves on, having a good set-piece and high ball-in-play time. A lot of it is a talented back line, getting our X factor players doing their thing, but a lot of it is also down to being professional and working hard. Glasgow seem to have the same mindset. It is four years since I was there but it does look as though they still have that same mentality.”

The big problem for the prop, who has 37 Scotland caps – the most recent less than a year ago – is that he is currently struggling to get picked. Desperate, as he is to face his friends, he does not have much time to convince Rob Baxter, his head coach.

“It has been a bit frustrating not getting the game time, but it is tough at a club that has just won the Premiership,” Low said. “In my position there are guys who are playing for Wales, guys who are playing for England. The standard has come on a lot.

“To play against Glasgow would be brilliant. Even to watch – it will be great to see the guys and talk to them all afterwards. It is an extra incentive for me. There are a lot of new faces but are still a few guys I played with.”

The team have met before in European competition, in 2013-14, Low’s his final season at Glasgow. For the record, Glasgow won both games, 23-16 at home and 15-10 away. Most definitely not the results Low is hoping for this time.