Reflect and Reset | Wilson satisfied with opening block
With the first block of United Rugby Championship fixtures in the books, it’s important to reflect, recharge and refocus.
That’s been the case across the board at Scotstoun in the fortnight following last month’s defeat to Leinster, with the competition coming to a halt to allow for the Autumn Nations Series to take centre stage.
For Head Coach Danny Wilson, though, the building blocks are all slotting into place as his side turns its attention to an action-packed ten-week stint come the end of November.
“League-wise, the important thing for us is that we’ve taken 15 points from our first five games,” Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org.
“We were obviously disappointed not to pick up any points in our last match of the block [against Leinster at Scotstoun], but right the way through there’s been some really good stuff in our performances. We had as complete a performance as I can recall for 50 minutes against the Sharks before dropping off, and that’s been an issue for us since then I’d say. 15 points is a reasonable start, but we know we left a couple of points out there.
“We’ve given a lot of players an opportunity though, and that’s important. We can’t rely on the same group of players every week, so it’s been important to build that depth and I think you’ll see a more complete squad when we come back after the break.”
With his side sitting sixth in the overall URC standings after the first five rounds of competition, kicking on and hitting the ground running once the action resumes is high on the list of priorities for Wilson and his players.
Indeed, the Glasgow boss believes his side are on track and building nicely as they aim to be in the mix come the business end of the season.
“We’re very close to where we’d targeted being after the first block,” explained Wilson.
“We’d said that we wanted to be in the top four of the competition and we did that right up until the last game against Leinster, where a couple of sides jumped us in the standings.
“Importantly, though, the players have been gelling well together – they’ve now got a well-deserved break, and then it’s back into the hard work ahead of the next block.”
Indeed, the Warriors know that putting in the hours on the training paddock is going to be crucial in the lead-up to one of the most significant spells of the 2021/22 campaign. A trip to Benetton and the visit of the Dragons to Scotstoun precedes the opening of Heineken Champions Cup action, with La Rochelle and Exeter lying in wait in Europe’s premier club competition.
With the festive double-header with Edinburgh looming into view over the horizon as well, and with vital URC Scottish-Italian Shield points on the line in addition to the 1872 Cup, Wilson is relishing getting stuck into the next 10 weeks.
“The next block really produces a lot of big games week after week,” he said.
“We know we won’t be able to lean on the same players each week, especially with a lot of them coming off the back of a four-week Test window and then going into a Six Nations campaign after that, so squad depth is going to be so important.
“It’s exciting, though. We’ll have to look after the boys as best we can, but we want to take as many points from the block as we can. Our objectives in the URC won’t change, and then Europe poses the challenge of two of the best teams in Europe on top of that.”
Above all else, though, one thing remains key for both Wilson and the club as a whole.
By creating the right atmosphere off the field, the Head Coach strongly believes that the right results will follow when his team steps over that white line.
“We try to create an environment and culture that fosters enjoyment for everyone,” said Wilson.
“You want to come to work with a smile on your face. If you don’t, then it’s easy to become demotivated, so our boys know there’s a time to enjoy each other’s company and then times to get down to the hard graft.
“The attitude of the boys has been superb, and that’s how it’s going to work for the rest of the season. The leaders here, too help to drive and create that culture – I’m a big believer of shared leadership, and when you’ve got leaders like Ryan Wilson and Fraser Brown you’d be foolish not to use them.
“Enjoying the day-to-day, that’s what gets you through.”