This is the time of year where we have to step up – du Plessis

This is the time of year where we have to step up – du Plessis

Glasgow Warriors player/coach Petrus du Plessis has called on the squad to replicate Saturday’s performance in Treviso this weekend, as the Scotstoun side prepares to welcome Exeter Chiefs for this weekend’s crucial Heineken Champions Cup encounter.

38-year-old became the oldest player in club history to take to the field in a
Guinness PRO14 fixture for the Warriors, coming on early in the second half of
Saturday’s bonus-point win away to Benetton.

“I like to
train with the guys and keep myself fit – if I have to be asked to play I want
to be ready to go,” explained du Plessis.

“You have to
just stand up and do a good job, because how can you expect to be able to coach
something if you don’t? I just wanted to jump in and help the squad as much as
I could.

“I definitely
felt it on Sunday morning though!”

The visit of
English Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs on Saturday will mark Glasgow’s first
home match of 2020, as well as serving as a vital clash in the Warriors’
pursuit of a second successive quarter-final in the top tier of European rugby.
With the fixture also kick-starting a crucial run of fixtures spanning across
the Six Nations, du Plessis is confident in the squad’s ability to step up when
it counts.

“We scored a
couple of good tries early on [against Benetton], and then let them back in a
bit. The guys that came in did an excellent job though, and they took their
chance,” he said.

converted most of our line breaks last weekend, which was really pleasing. Guys
like Bruce Flockhart and Tom Gordon came in and played really well.

“Last year
when the Six Nations was on, we didn’t lose a game. This is the time of year
where we have to step up and do that again. Last week we got the five points,
but this weekend is a whole different kettle of fish.”

A host of
players rested for the trip to Treviso will once again be in contention for a
place in the starting XV for Saturday’s clash, with du Plessis also offering an
update on both Nick Grigg and Leone Nakarawa. Regardless of the selection,
however, the Warriors assistant coach underlined the importance of executing
the squad’s game plan against this weekend’s English visitors.

“Nick was up
and back with us by 7pm on Saturday night,” said du Plessis.

“The hospital
in Italy looked after him really well and they made sure he was all good before
they sent him back to us at the hotel. We’ll see how he goes in training and
factor that into selection for this weekend.

“Leone is a
fantastic player, and it’s great to have him back at Scotstoun. He’ll have to
learn the plays, but the players and coaches are working well with him. He’s fitted
in really well.”

“The guys
that were rested feel refreshed and are hungry contention to come back in
against Exeter this weekend and make an impact. The tenacity Exeter show in
defence is very good, though – we need to break through that with our
physicality and speed of ball.

“We’ll have
to be just as accurate this weekend if we want to get the right result.”

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