Smith hails character as attention turns to Europe
Head Coach Franco Smith was heartened by the strength of character shown by his squad in the face of adversity yesterday evening, as Glasgow Warriors fought back to claim a four-try bonus-point in defeat to Munster at Musgrave Park.
Despite falling to a 26-5 half-time deficit, four second-half tries saw the visitors secure a point to take home to Scotstoun and keep themselves at the sharp end of the BKT United Rugby Championship standings after seven rounds of fixtures.
“We must compliment Munster first and foremost, as they produced one of their best performances of the season tonight,” Smith told glasgowwarriors.org following the match.
“From speaking to their coaching team afterwards, it’s clear the work they did during the week paid off – they kept the ball well and we got trapped in the breakdown too often and we got penalised too much in that area of the game. That allowed them into our half of the pitch and that in turn leads to tries, especially when you give away two yellow cards as well.
“Their attack was accurate and forced us into errors, but I’m pleased with the character that this team showed. They fought their way back in and if we can eliminate some of the errors we’ve seen over the first seven rounds, we will be a difficult team to beat.”
Smith was particularly pleased with his side’s second-half showing, with the Warriors out-scoring their hosts 24-14 to stay in the fight until the full-time whistle.
“That second half showed what this team is made of,” said Smith.
“Everyone loves this club and loves to play for each other and for the supporters out there, and they produced a reaction that was needed.
“That excites me greatly as we move into the next part of the season, because we can still be a lot better and everyone knows the next steps that we will now strive to take.”
The URC now takes a back seat for the next fortnight, as Glasgow Warriors focus turns to their return to the top tier of European rugby in the form of the Investec Champions Cup.
Northampton Saints are the visitors on Friday night in the first match of the competition, a fixture that both excites Smith and gives him a chance to reflect on his side’s start to the campaign.
“The benefit of playing a team like Northampton is that we don’t see each other that often and that gives us a different challenge,” he said.
“Our preparation this week will be a little bit different, and that will give us the right ingredients for where we are as a squad as we go into another exciting competition.
“I’m happy with the path this group is on overall. We’ve used 40 or so of the 50 players in our squad already, and when you consider we have four or five long-term injuries in those players that haven’t yet featured, that puts us in a really good place.
“Everyone is involved and engaged in what we are doing; we always knew that this first block of fixtures would see us play some of the top teams in the competition, including all four of last season’s semi-finalists, and it’s really pleasing to sit where we sit in the standings after the first seven rounds.
“We’re disappointed with the defeats in Connacht and tonight, but we’ve made some great strides forward. Now it’s all about backing that up in Europe over the next fortnight, starting with Friday night.”