Lyon defeat tough to take
The disappointment on the faces of each Glasgow Warriors player was clear to see following last night’s defeat in Lyon, as the reality of the result began to sink in.
Despite earning themselves a 27-13 lead with 25 minutes to play, the seemingly harsh sin-binning of Jamie Bhatti and a quickfire double of tries from the home side swung momentum back in French favour, ultimately providing Lyon with a platform that they gratefully accepted.
For back-rower Ally Miller, it’s a defeat that’s hard to swallow.
“We’re gutted, to be honest,” the flanker told glasgowwarriors.org.
“I felt we came out of the blocks well and recovered from conceding the penalty off the kick-off well. We managed to build momentum and take our chances when they came, but Lyon just kept coming back at us and varied up their game plan.
“That kept giving them a foothold into the game and it ultimately told.”
Speaking after the full-time whistle, the frustration at not being able to close out the result and earn an historic first-ever European semi-final was also a tough one for Danny Wilson to take.
Yet the Head Coach was also quick to praise the effort of his players, as they completed the latest leg in a marathon road trip to complete the 2021/22 season.
“We’re missing 13 frontline players right now and that’s tough at the business end of the season,” said Wilson.
“There’s a plus there in that we get guys like Gregor Brown, Nathan McBeth and Lewis Bean game time, but it’s tough.
“Key moments once again are hurting us, though, Once again we’ve got ourselves into a position to win the game, and we haven’t closed it out. That’s something we’re still addressing and that we need to hammer home until we fix it.
“This group of players has gone Newcastle away, a double-header away in South Africa and now away to Lyon, all in a short space of time. That’s a long stretch away from home.
“To come out here and play with that level of passion in our game and put ourselves in the fight with a good lead against a very good and in-form Lyon team, I’m proud of the effort the boys showed.”
Miller echoed his Head Coach’s sentiment, with every Warrior emptying the tank at the Stade Gerland.
“The effort of everyone in that changing room – honestly, everyone gave everything they had,” he said.
“It’s just finding that 80-minute performance that we know we have in us.
“It’s frustrating for us and we know exactly what the fans are feeling.”
With next weekend now a down weekend for the Warriors, recovery now takes precedence as the format of the next fortnight begins to crystallise.
A couple of days to recuperate from a physically demanding month now await the squad, before all focus turns east and to BT Murrayfield for the 1872 Cup decider.
“That’s now a massive game for us,” said Miller.
“We’ll take some time off at the start of the week to get our bodies back to full fitness, and then it’s important that we take the time to reflect, take the learning points out of tonight and then get stuck in.”
As his team returns to Scotstoun, Wilson is also all too aware of the significance of the round 18 derby match in the United Rugby Championship.
“No-one at the club is under any illusion as to how much is riding on the Edinburgh game now,” he said.
“The 1872 Cup, league position for the playoffs, European qualification – we’ll take the time to recover after a long time away from home, and then we’ll be ready.
“The level we need to be at in knockout rugby has just been made even clearer to us, and we’ll be working as hard as we can to make sure that’s the level we take into Murrayfield and into the knockout stages.”