As well as the West Country club, standing in their way of reaching the knockout stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup are French clubs Montpellier and Toulouse – clubs with plenty of European experience and, in Toulouse’s case, four European titles, but the Warriors aren’t fazed by the task ahead of them.
“We have a great squad of players and have competition for places, but everybody wants to prove themselves at the top level in a match like this
Last year’s PRO12 finalists may have made a great start to the domestic season winning five of their opening six matches, but have failed to get beyond the group stages of Europe’s premier cup competition, and the Scotland international believes that it is time for them to step up on the big stage.
“Glasgow has respect through the PRO12 and has got respect from how we play and what we have done over the past three or four years,” Swinson said.
“We have to show that in Europe and we can only do that by focusing on how we play. On our day we can beat anybody as we have a good side in both attack and defence.
“I think [Europe] is where people make their mark. We have a great squad of players and have competition for places, but everybody wants to prove themselves at the top level in a match like this.”
Bath have also made a great start to their Aviva Premiership campaign, and are a club that the Warriors have faced in Europe as recently as 2011/12, winning their home match and losing at the Recreation Ground as they finished second in their pool, but missing out on qualification for the Amlin Challenge Cup knockout stages.
Swinson’s history with their opponents at Scotstoun on Saturday goes back even further, to his early playing days with former club Newcastle Falcons, and it wasn’t an easy ride for the then 21-year-old to deal with in March 2008, who would finish a disappointing season for the club as their player of the year.
“I made my debut against Bath at the Rec in 2007/08,” Swinson said. “I came off the bench. I was absolutely terrified and almost had a panic attack in the deadball area. After I made a couple of big tackles I was okay.”
“Danny Grewcock was the first guy I saw in my career and thought, ‘oh my god, you are that big’. “He had the biggest hands I had ever seen in rugby.
“[The panic attack], I think that was a one-time thing. I had been there before sitting on the bench the previous week against Gloucester and didn’t get on. We lost to Gloucester 28-20 and I think to Bath 22-11.”
Despite seeing their unbeaten PRO12 run end last weekend to Ulster in Belfast, Swinson accepts that losing is part of the game, and the Warriors are looking to bounce back with a win this weekend in front of an expected capacity crowd of 7,000.
“Losing is part of professional sport,” he said. “Anyone who goes through the season thinking they are going to go through the season undefeated and win every title going is delusional.
“It is how you respond to defeat. That is what we are working on today and leading on to the weekend.
“This is the first round of a new European competition and we want to show something that teams in the PRO12 have realised for a number of years: that Glasgow are a good side, and we now want to show that to a wider audience.”
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