“The buzz has been incredible” | McDowall
Stafford McDowall has been through a few campaigns with Glasgow Warriors by now, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pre-season clash that resonates as much with the centre as Friday night’s match with Newcastle Falcons.
After 18 months of playing behind closed doors at Scotstoun, the centre and his team-mates were finally able to experience the roar of the Warrior Nation once more as just over 3,500 spectators saw Danny Wilson’s men take to the field.
It was an experience that had the Warriors in rapture post-match, a feeling that McDowall says still hasn’t died down amongst the squad.
“It was amazing,” the centre told glasgowwarriors.org.
“The fans made so much noise – even without the stands at either end, it was just an unreal atmosphere. It gave the boys such a lift. You could feel it all the way through the warm-up, and to run out the tunnel and hear the fans again was such a special moment.
“The buzz that everyone’s had from having the fans back has just been incredible.”
Whilst the result ultimately didn’t reflect the occasion, there was at least a score to savour for the returning fans as Duncan Weir finished off a well-executed counter-attack.
Having been at the heart of the move that led to the sole Glasgow score on the night, McDowall has been knuckling down beside his team-mates to ensure that a few more chances end up being converted in Friday’s upcoming clash with Worcester Warriors.
“We’d been working quite a lot on our counter-attack off turnover ball, so it was really good to see us convert one of those for Duncy’s try,” said McDowall.
“Johnny Matthews showed some good wheels when he made his line break, and then luckily Duncy ran a good support line off myself. I just had to give him the offload and he did the rest really!
“The big thing we’ve spoken about this week is making sure we take more of the opportunities that we create, though. We managed to create quite a lot against Newcastle, we were just missing that clinical edge in their 22.
“That’ll come with a bit of time, though – the main thing and the big plus for us was that we were creating those chances. We’ve been getting stuck into that so far this week, and hopefully you’ll see it pay off on Friday.”
With the trip to Sixways the last chance for Wilson’s squad to hone their skills in competitive action ahead of the new United Rugby Championship season, Friday’s match is an important marker in Glasgow’s pre-season preparations.
Despite the hosts finishing bottom of the Premiership standings in 2020/21, though, McDowall and company are in no doubt about the challenge that lies in store.
“We know Worcester will be another physical test for us,” said McDowall.
“They’ve got a dangerous back three and they like to play a good brand of rugby, so we’re expecting them to try to play at every opportunity.
“That’ll be something we’ll have to deal with and we know we’ll need to be on form to get the right result down there this weekend.”
? Glasgow Warriors Members can watch their side complete their 2021/22 pre-season schedule this Friday night, with the clash with @WorcsWarriors at Sixways to be live-streamed exclusively to Season Ticket and Warrior Nation Members.#WhateverItTakes ⚔️?️
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) September 7, 2021