Humphreys: “Both teams will be hurting after Saturday”

Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys expects a tough battle when Ulster visit Scotstoun on Friday night, as the race for a home semi-final continues under the Friday night lights.

The conclusion to the Guinness Pro14 regular season returns to centre stage following Saturday’s defeat to Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final, a result that Humphreys and the squad were disappointed to have suffered.

“You learn that if you’re not on top form going to a side like Saracens that you’re going to get soundly beaten,” said Humphreys.

“Unfortunately for us, we weren’t at the top of our game on Saturday.

“The players don’t feel like they did themselves justice and that’s a tough one to take. We’re keen to show that game doesn’t define us, though. 

“We’ve got at least four games now where its our job to go out and show what does define us before the end of the season.”

Humphreys believes that - whilst being a difficult result to take - the experience gained by the squad will stand them in good stead going forward, including in their three final fixtures of the regular season.

“We’re still pretty new to European knockout rugby,” said Humphreys.

“It was only our second-ever quarter-final in the Heineken Champions Cup, and some of our players were playing in their first European tie. 

“It’s a disappointing result, but sometimes you need to go through some tough lessons to get to where you’re heading.

“We’re relishing the run-in now. This time last year we were home and dry at the top of the league, but we felt like we lost our competitive edge. We’re going to need every bit of that edge to get through our next three fixtures.”

The first of those three fixtures comes at Scotstoun on Friday night, as Ulster make the short hop across the Irish Sea in their own ongoing pursuit of a playoff place. Humphreys is expecting another tough test under the floodlights, with the two sides able to boast a long history of closely-fought encounters.

“Both teams will be hurting after losing on Saturday,” said Humphreys.

“It’s always a tough one against Ulster. They’re a good team, well coached and have made significant improvements this year. They’re very powerful up front, and score a lot of tries from their pack.

“They also defend really well, work hard over the ball and are a difficult team to break down, so we know we’re going to have to be more physical to get something from the game.

“We’re looking forward to being back home. We’re keen to show the supporters what this team is about – we need to win to keep ahead of Munster, because we want to win the conference.”