Gregor Townsend hailed one of Glasgow’s “best-ever performances” after they humiliated European Champions Cup opponents Leicester at Welford Road.
Glasgow cruised into the last-eight for the first time in their history after claiming a six-try, 43-0 win – 19 years after shipping 90 points against the same opponents on the same ground.
“It’s a great end to the chapter, from where Scottish rugby started in professional rugby and where it is today,” Glasgow head coach Townsend said.
“Some 20 years ago, Glasgow were conceding 90 points, and 10 years ago there wasn’t that much hope in the future of professional rugby with one of the (Scottish) teams closing down and the other two not doing well.
“Now, we’ve got a situation where we’ve had a huge number of fans down here and the team winning.
“Leicester are a very good team, but the way we started and got that first try would have affected their confidence and it gave us huge confidence that if we were accurate and worked really hard, there could be space there.
“That was one of our best-ever performances, and it got its rewards in the end when the players’ desire to win meant we managed to keep going for the 80 minutes.”
Leicester had already been eliminated before their final pool fixture, but Glasgow battered them beyond recognition on a record-breaking evening.
Glasgow had a bonus point wrapped up by half-time following touchdowns by wing Tommy Seymour, centre Mark Bennett and magnificent captain Jonny Gray, while a penalty try plus four Finn Russell conversions and a penalty left Leicester floundering.
Flanker Ryan Wilson added a fifth try early in the second period, before lock Tim Swinson crossed for try number six and Russell finished with 13 points.
It was twice European champions Leicester’s heaviest defeat in the tournament – their previous worst came against Ulster five years ago, when they lost 41-7 – and also Glasgow’s record European win.
Glasgow progress to the last-eight stage as one of three best group runners-up, but Leicester, who sacked rugby director Richard Cockerill earlier this month, appear to be facing a Herculean task in terms of salvaging their season.
They currently remain in the Aviva Premiership play-off picture, but Glasgow’s ruthless demolition job might have shattered confidence beyond repair after a defeat that not even Leicester’s lengthy injury list – one that includes Manu Tuilagi, JP Pietersen and Owen Williams – could remotely excuse.
Leicester head coach Aaron Mauger said: “It’s a tough one to explain. There was no lack of effort or desire, we just didn’t execute things well enough.
“Glasgow were very good. They executed their game-plan very well, and we didn’t have the answers.
“We knew the start was going to be big, and they controlled it very well. We didn’t recover. We weren’t good enough.
“It is really painful. We apologise to our people, our Tigers family.
“The guys are hurting inside because they care a lot. People will probably question their attitude and all those things, but I don’t think you can.
“We are clearly not good enough at the moment. To go down 43-0 at home is pretty painful.
“Probably the biggest thing for us is to stick tight and look after each other. We are going to have a couple of days off to assess and reflect on where we are at.
“We are going to have to sit back and reflect and do a lot of thinking about how we are going to trigger a response to be the team we can be.”
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