More to come from Glasgow Warriors as knockouts loom large

More to come from Glasgow Warriors as knockouts loom large

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Franco Smith believes his side will benefit from the challenge presented by Connacht in last night’s 29-27 victory at Scotstoun, a result that ensured the Warriors would remain unbeaten at home during the 2022/23 regular season.

Tries from Huw Jones, Ali Price, Tom Jordan and Johnny Matthews saw the Warriors make it nine wins from nine in the BKT United Rugby Championship, overcoming a stern test from the men in green to claim all five points in front of the Warrior Nation.

“First of all, credit and compliments must go to Connacht,” Smith said to journalists post-match.

“They had a lot more to play for tonight and we knew that they were going to throw everything at us, which they did for the full 80 minutes. The way they went about their game was impressive and they were physically better than us, there’s no getting away from that.

“It was a highly physical encounter and there are a few players being looked at by our medical team after that one. Nobody wanted to lose tonight. We are fiercely proud of our unbeaten record here at Scotstoun.

“It was what we needed going into playoff rugby, to be honest. Our mindset was probably not quite into that of finals rugby yet, which it definitely will be after tonight. That’s the lesson we’ll take from tonight as we go into the [Challenge Cup] semi-final at Scarlets next week.”

The club’s preparations during training were also highlighted under the Saturday night lights, with Glasgow forced to field players out of their natural positions – including George Horne and Matt Fagerson coming off the bench to play on the wing and in the centre respectively –  after being forced into changes over the course of the match.

“We always prep the loose forward on the bench for those kind of scenarios,” said Smith.

“Up in Stirling on Friday, our A team ended the match with Thomas Gordon at 12 and Archie Smeaton on the wing as a result of injuries, so we are always preparing for these eventualities.

“Nothing is a gamble, and you could see that every player knew of their responsibilities in attack and defence.”

A quarter-final date with Munster now awaits in a fortnight, as the Warriors welcome the Irish province to Scotstoun for the club’s first home league knockout fixture since 2019.

Smith is under no illusion as to the scale of the test that awaits his side, with kick-off times and ticket information set to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

“Munster came back from shipping 50 points against the Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup and drew down there this weekend after beating the Stormers last weekend,” said Smith.

“They’re a team that knows how to play playoff rugby.

“Our result in Limerick will not even be something that we bring up in conversations. We’ll look at the video footage from that match, but we know it’s an entirely new game when they come here in a fortnight.”

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