DAVE Rennie is confident he is leaving behind a Glasgow squad capable of competing at the highest level in Europe.

The head coach, who officially hands over to Danny Wilson tomorrow, is particularly bullish about the Warriors’ pack, which he believes is as good as any in the Champions Cup.

Rennie acknowledged that some investment would be needed in a playing group that is about to lose Jonny Gray and has also been deprived of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg in recent seasons. But the New Zealander insisted that provided such investment is made - particularly in senior professionals who can replicate the leadership role Callum Gibbins played for him - the young talent in the squad can continue to improve.

“I think we’ve now got a pack that can compete, and that’s crucial in Europe,” said Rennie, who will begin his new job as Australia’s head coach after a spell at home in quarantine. “I think there’s certainly enough X factor in our group, but there’s a lot of steel now too. We’ve got a pack, when we’re at full strength, to compete with anyone in Europe. We’ve got to keep building on that, and keep developing good young kids.

“That will need some investment. Callum Gibbins, for example, came in and had a massive positive influence on this group: just very, very professional, a high-quality player, great example to our young men and an excellent role model.

“We need to make sure that we’re still bringing in some high-quality guys who can contribute and grow the club. I think all of that’s important. There’s a lot of quality in our group and we’ve got to keep growing that. Sometimes you’ve got to spend a little bit of money on a couple of key players.”

While particularly optimistic about the potential of young forwards such as Scott Cummings and Zander Fagerson, Rennie highlighted the key role played in recent years by Rob Harley. Turning to the backs, he believes that Adam Hastings can continue to mature as a replacement for Russell.

“I understand the amount of money that Finn, Jonny, Stuart will get is miles in excess of what we paid them here. That’s why I’ve said before our job is to find good young guys coming through and try and accelerate their learning. That’s been the plan around Finn leaving; that’s been the plan around Adam Hastings.

“I think Adam’s going to be an excellent international player. He’s young and he’s still a little green, but he’s really competitive and fit and is really working hard on developing his skills. He’s got a great work ethic. It takes time and ideally a lot of these guys, if they’re not learning at the international level, they’re established by the time they get there. He’s gone really well: I’ve been very impressed with Adam.

“Maybe Scott Cummings becomes the new Jonny Gray. I think Scott Cummings has the potential to be a phenomenal international player. He’s a real point of difference with the second rows over here, he’s a great athlete, so deceptively quick. He’s really developed an edge to his play around the physicality. He’s a very smart man, very good lineout caller, very composed.

“Someone like Zander Fagerson would be on the radar for a big club somewhere in the near future. He’s a phenomenal player. He’s only young but his scrummaging’s come a long way, he’s got a big engine, a massive work rate and his brutality is first-rate around the tackle, clean, counter-ruck.

“He’s got a really good skill set and I think he’s just going to get better and better. Maybe he’s the next challenge to try and keep in Glasgow and Scotland.

“One of the guys who’s impressed me massively here has been Rob Harley. I reckon he’s a better athlete now than he was three years ago, he’s put a lot of emphasis on his agility and speed, he’s worked really hard on his skill set, and that’s the reason Rob plays every week.

“He’s very intelligent, has real attention to detail and is durable, just keeps going. He’s someone who’s always trying to learn and be better; he’s Glasgow’s highest-capped player.”

Richie Gray, Jonny’s elder brother, is about to return to the squad and is one of the senior players who will be expected to take on a leadership role. Having by and large left the recruitment process to Wilson, Rennie declined to offer details about other incoming players, other than to confirm that “there’s some announcements to come”.

Asked to sum up his own feelings about his three years in Scotland, he concluded: “I’ll treasure the time we’ve had up here; it’s been absolutely brilliant. Great people. We’ve absolutely loved it and we’re just looking forward to the next chapter now.”