Smith keen to make his mark
Even if the Principality Stadium had been full to the rafters for Rufus McLean’s wonder try on Sunday, you’d have struggled to find a better seat in the house than Ollie Smith’s.
Instead, with the 75,000 arena empty to all bar a few accredited personnel, it was left to the 20-year-old and his fellow Warriors to roar the winger home in the Cardiff sunshine.
“We were warming up at the end of that end of the pitch, so we saw it all unfold,” a grinning Smith told glasgowwarriors.org
“Because of COVID we’re now not allowed to celebrate with the guys on the pitch, but we were all going mental when he made the break and scored.
“It was a brilliant try and such a great one to see live.”
With fellow FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy graduate Ross Thompson also setting the Guinness PRO14 alight with two Player of the Match-winning performances from his first six matches, the confidence with which the club’s young talents are playing is clear for all to see.
The hunger to make his own impact is just as clear to see from Smith, as the former Ayrshire Bull continues to enjoy his first steps in senior professional rugby.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Smith said.
“It’s come around pretty fast. It’s been a weird old season obviously with COVID and everything else, but it’s been a great opportunity for young players like myself to get chances with the matchday squad.
“It’s been something that we’ve all been aiming towards over the last few years and I’m grateful for every chance I get to be involved. It’s not been the greatest start for me personally with the two yellow cards, but from speaking to the coaches they’re saying that any experience is good experience and to just keep going out and playing my game.
“It’s all about not getting too bothered by any errors – you have to make mistakes in order to improve. These are things I’ve just got to take in my stride and learn from.”
After coming off the bench last weekend, Smith and his fellow Warriors are itching to get out and back to winning ways in their final Guinness PRO14 match of the shortened 2020/21 campaign.
It’ll be the first opportunity for the full-back to test himself against Benetton if selected, as he and the rest of the club’s young guns look to continue their rise through the ranks.
“It’s a massive game for us,” said Smith.
“We obviously don’t know what’s going on with European qualification next year yet, but you’ve got to prepare for this game like you would any other game.
“We want to go out and bounce back from the result last weekend, so that means doing the basics well and going out to beat Benetton. We want to finish on a high and give ourselves momentum going into the Challenge Cup and Rainbow Cup.
“It’s great that there are a few of us all coming through the ranks together. Ross, Rufus and myself all played together for Scotland U20, and it’s really cool to get to play with them for Glasgow.
“Having such a young backline almost takes some of the pressure off – we’ve got licence to go out and show what we can do because the coaches trust us to pull on the shirt.”