THE view from outside the camp may be that all Glasgow Warriors have to play for is pride in Dublin today and when Exeter Chiefs visit Scotstoun next weekend, but for a group of professionals whose capacity to perform the basics of their trade has been questioned, that should be more than enough.

As he prepared for his first start since the meeting the same opponents in October which effectively killed off their chances of reaching the knockout stages, Adam Ashe was man enough to admit that the club’s forwards in particular have been wounded by the impression that they have a soft core and, for all their capacity to play stylishly when allowed to, that they can be bullied by European rugby’s more hardened sides.

“We know it’s an area to work on and I think we have been doing that, so hopefully we can reap the rewards and go out there and put in a physical performance,” he said. "Certainly we know that Leinster keep the ball for a lot of phases, build a lot of pressure on you, so defence is going to be massive this week.

Loading article content

“We have been looking at getting really physical, we have had some good training sessions. It’s almost been like a week of pre-season, a lot of training, long sessions, a lot of contact, it’s been a good week and we are all looking forward to it.

“We have been bloody hammering the mauls. The forward pack have been doing a lot of maul work in training and hopefully we can go out there and show that and do some good stuff on the pitch. I think we have a young team full of energy and excitement out there so defensively at the contact point we can just fire in and get stuck in as they say.”

The international No 8, who said that he and the callow flankers chosen this weekend - Matts Smith and Fagerson - have shared a joke or two about his status as the "wise old man" of this new-look back-row, was also candid enough to admit that it is one thing to make such claims and another to do it against opponents of Leinster’s quality.

“I know at our best we can match any team physically so I think its just a case of going out there and doing it. We say all these these things but getting out there and doing it…that’s another thing,” he acknowledged.

What they will not be short on is enthusiasm since the resting of senior internationalists, including Finn Russell and Jonny Gray, has merely amplified the excitement levels for those involved.

“We’ve got such a big squad here that when players get the opportunity to play they’re excited, they look forward to it and they want to go and express themselves and show what they can do,” Ashe said.

“I think it’s a case of that this weekend. Although we can’t proceed through to the next round it’s a fantastic occasion, it’s a great opportunity for us to get out there and play one of the best teams in Europe at the moment and show what we can do and what we’re all about. It’s what we love doing, so everybody’s looking forward to getting out there and having a good crack at it.”

In some cases, his own included after a 10 week absence caused by ligament damage incurred during that previous meeting with Leinster, there is also the opportunity of demonstrating fitness and form to the national selectors with the Scotland squad for the Six Nations Championship due to be announced on Tuesday.

“I never actually knew the team was getting announced on Tuesday, but I’m back training fully with the team, played 60 minutes at the weekend, so here’s hoping I get some good time at the weekend and then from there we’ll see what happens. We’ve just got to go out and play and hopefully put in a good shift as a team and keep building towards the end of the season for the league,” he said.

“You never know with these things. There are times when you think you might have a look in and then you don’t get picked. As a player you can project what you want but I guess if you get picked you get picked. It’s all about going out there and playing and hoping the cards fall your way and you put in a good performance.”