ANGUS MACDONALD today revealed the lure of the Heineken Cup was a key factor in signing for Glasgow Warriors.
The versatile 31-year-old, who can play at No.8, lock and on either side of the scrum, has spoken to fellow former All Black team-mates about Europe's top competition.
With Glasgow having been drawn in Pool Four with North- ampton, Castres and Ulster, Macdonald's hopes of helping Glasgow through to the knockout stages of the Heineken for the first time have been boosted.
Mac said; "I have spoken to Doug Howlett at Munster and Sam Tuitupou at Sale, and a few others who can't say enough about the Heineken Cup. I have played at Northampton before with the New Zealand Maori, but I don't know too much about Ulster or Castres
"I know how important it is for Glasgow to make it out of the Pool stages and there was a real buzz around the place last week after the draw.
"Ulster made the final of the Heineken last term and are one of our rivals in the PRO12. Castres are coming to the fore again in France and have Max Evans, one of the former players here, starring for them. But I think we have a chance of making it through."
The new Warriors star added: "Glasgow is the start of a new beginning for me. Gregor Town-send has exciting plans and I have bought into these."
Macdonald played No.8 for the NZ Maori in their win over the British Lions in 2005 but, after making the breakthrough with the All Blacks on that same tour, saw his hopes ruined by injuries at a key time and, by 2007, his All Black hopes began to fade.
The Kiwi then went to Japan, where he has been with Coca-Cola West Red Sparks.
The 31-year-old's season ended in February, but the SRU arran-ged for Macdonald and his fellow- Warriors new boy, Tongan international Viliami Ma'afu, to train in Auckland for the past two months.
Warriors are now into their second week of pre-season, and Macdonald said: "It is clear the guys have kept themselves in very good shape."
And that is just as well, as one unnamed player's lack of punctuality cost the squad an extra session of pain but, with Macdon- ald having been confined to four seasons in Japan, there is no doubt that the opening of hostilities can't come quickly enough.
The Kiwi powerhouse said: "The season in Japan wasn't the longest and I would love to have played more often, but I have a chance to make up for that here.
"Maybe people are looking at me and asking, at 31, why is he coming back here? Well, I am here because I am hungry to achieve something with Glasgow and I believe everything is in place to do that this season."