Murray praises defensive resolve
They may well have been as different as victories can be, but for Glasgow Warriors Assistant Coach Kenny Murray, securing back-to-back results against South African opposition was a key milestone at the start of the 2021/22 campaign
A hard-fought 13-9 win over the Emirates Lions at Scotstoun yesterday afternoon ensured that the Warriors continued an unbeaten home run that stretches back to February, taking them to the top of the Scottish-Italian Shield at full-time.
“We’re pleased to get the win,” Murray told glasgowwarriors.org post-match.
“We targeted victories against both of the South African teams – with two home games at the start of the season, we knew how important it was to get two good results on the board early.
“Reflecting on the game, we created a lot of chances, especially in the first half. We just didn’t take as many as we’d hoped we would.
“We probably forced a couple of offloads that weren’t on, but the boys showed good resilience. We knew we’d be under a bit of pressure at the scrum, and it’s good to come away with the win.”
The key intervention came with just two minutes on the clock, as Jamie Bhatti celebrated his 50th appearance for the club with the only try of the match.
With the loose-head back enjoying his rugby following his summer return to Scotstoun, Murray believes that there’s still even more to come from the former Stirling County and Melrose man.
“He hadn’t scored a try up until last week, and now he’s got two in two games – he’s doubled up!” quipped Murray.
“It’s great for him. He’s a very well-liked member of the squad, and to reach 50 appearances is a good milestone for any player to achieve.
“He’s really enjoying being back at Glasgow after he didn’t get a lot of rugby along the M8, and you can see that in his play. I think he’s only going to get better and better.”
Whereas last weekend’s win over the Sharks was built upon some scintillating attacking rugby, it was defences to the fore in the Glasgow drizzle yesterday afternoon.
With the Warriors becoming the first team to prevent the Lions from crossing the whitewash this season, Murray was pleased with his side’s resolve against yesterday’s visitors.
“Last week we defended well for most of the game and then let them in for a couple of soft scores towards the end, so we’d spoken about needing to front up physically in our 22,” he explained.
“To not concede a try against as physical a side as the Lions is very pleasing. They’re a team who have a lot of threats across the park, so the boys can take real heart from that going into next weekend.”
The fixtures keep coming for the Warriors, as Danny Wilson’s squad travels to Parma next weekend for their first meeting of the season with a Shield rival.
“We’ve already done our preview of Zebre, and we know how dangerous a side they can be,” said Murray.
“They play a lot of rugby across the park, so we know how tough a test we’re going to get. They made us work for the win when we went out to Parma last year, so we’ll be working hard in training this week.
“The boys will get a chance to freshen up physically and mentally, because we know that it’s going to be important to keep the momentum going.”