“This team is building” | Smith

“This team is building” | Smith

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Franco Smith was left to rue his side’s inaccuracies as the BKT United Rugby Championship returned, as Leinster ruthlessly punished their visitors’ errors in a 40-5 victory at the RDS.

Despite enjoying a majority in both possession and territory, the Warriors would time and again come away from Leinster territory empty-handed, with only a solitary try from Sebastian Cancelliere providing any consolation on the scoreboard.

“We almost beat ourselves today,” Smith said post-match.

“Some of the errors and penalties we gave away were unacceptable – we gave away six consecutive penalties at one point in the first half, which gave them field position that led to their three tries.

“We were also nowhere near clinical enough when we breached their defence, which we did on a number of occasions. There was always a little error that prevented us getting the score.”

Yet Smith was quick to underline the fact that he believes his side remain on the right track in their journey as a playing group, with impressive performances from newer faces including Alex Samuel and Murphy Walker.

Allied to the experience provided from senior figures such as Kyle Steyn, George Horne and Fraser Brown, and the Glasgow boss is encouraged by the development of the squad at his disposal.

“There are definitely positives to take, but there are also areas from which we have to learn,” said Smith.

“Four of Leinster’s tries came from turnovers, which is an area we can control. It’s incredibly disappointing to lose, but I’m feeling very positive about the character of this team.

“I believe we can take a lot of heart from that performance, though. I felt that we continued to keep fighting and asking Leinster questions, which is so important for the growth and development of this group of players. It’s a tough place to come and play, but this squad is going to lean on experience gained from matches like this as this season goes on, let alone in future years.

“We’ll be going back to the training field on Monday and looking to build on the positives from that game, of which there are definitely some to take. We can use this feeling to build into Zebre next week, which we know is going to be a big game for us in the context of the league.”

Away from proceedings at the RDS, Smith also paid tribute to Scotland and British and Irish Lions legend Doddie Weir, whose sad passing at the age of 52 was announced shortly following the conclusion of yesterday’s match.

An elite operator in the pack during his playing career, Weir’s tireless campaigning to raise funds and awareness of Motor Neurone Disease following his diagnosis in 2017 only served to increase the love and affection with which he was held not only by the Scottish rugby family, but by the global rugby community.

“Doddie is an icon of Scottish rugby,” said Smith.

“I was deeply saddened to hear the news and you can see by the emotion from the rugby community just what he means to everyone in the game.

“I was privileged enough to play against him when I played for South Africa against Scotland; Joost van der Westhuizen, who was a close friend of mine, was also in that team, and he battled for years with Motor Neurone Disease with a similar vigour as Doddie.

“I’d like to send my thoughts personally to Doddie’s family – our heartfelt condolences go out to them at this time.”

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