Smith targets response for Zebre clash
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Franco Smith was left to rue his side’s error count in the immediate aftermath of defeat at the hands of the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg, yet also praised his players for the resilience with which they stuck to their task in the South African sun.
Despite rallying from a 24-7 deficit after 37 minutes, the visitors would come up just short in their pursuit of a comeback victory, with a four-try bonus-point proving scant consolation for the Warriors at the full-time whistle.
“We made a lot of mistakes and were pretty self-destructive today, really,” Smith said post-match.
“There were five clear try-scoring opportunities we created that we didn’t convert. We turned the ball over too easily in our own third of the field, and I feel like we lost a little bit of focus during the second quarter of the match.
“We were probably guilty of overplaying once or twice, but we created enough opportunities to win that match. We allowed the Lions in too often, and all credit to them – they took their opportunities, I don’t want to take anything away from their performance today at all.”
Whilst the result stings for Smith and his players, however, the Glasgow boss was also keen to underline the opportunities that the flying trip to Johannesburg presents to this group of players moving forward.
With Eli Caven impressing on his debut, Allan Dell enjoying his first taste of action in Glasgow colours, and Rory Darge successfully re-integrated into the fold following a long-term injury, the increasing depth in the Warriors squad is an asset Smith believes will serve his side well as the campaign approaches it’s business end.
“We’ve now used 52 players in the URC this season and we’re developing our own DNA as a squad, and sometimes the only way you get it right is to learn from getting it wrong,” said Smith.
“We’ve got great competition for places and we know we’re going to need every part of our depth as we fight for a place – and a home place – in the playoffs.
“To be a great team you need to be a great squad, and this group of players is willing to work hard for each other and for our supporters.”
Attentions now turn to the visit of Zebre Parma to Scotstoun this Friday night, as the Warriors defend a home unbeaten run that encompasses 12 matches in all competitions across 13 months.
It’s a task that provides Smith and his players with an immediate chance to right any wrongs from Emirates Airline Park, as the race for the playoffs intensifies.
“I’m proud of our guys today,” said Smith.
“Despite the challenges of this week, we still tried to play the Glasgow way. This group of players showed great resilience to stick to their task and kept on believing in themselves, and you saw that by their determination to fight back into the game in the second half.
“There’s still 20 points available from our remaining games, and our focus now is getting ourselves ready to go again against Zebre Parma on Friday.”