Fraser sees positives despite Ulster defeat
The result might not have gone the desired way for Glasgow Warriors in Cavan yesterday, but the positives of the performance far outweigh the negatives in the eyes of Angus Fraser.
Whilst Ulster held on to claim a 19-14 victory in front of just over 7,000 spectators at Kingspan Breffni, the hooker was quick to highlight the effort of his side throughout the 80 minutes in the immediate aftermath of the full-time whistle.
“There were definitely a lot of positives to take out of that one, especially our defence,” Fraser told glasgowwarriors.org
“Ulster threw everything at us in that first half and it felt like we didn’t see the ball in forever, but I thought we fronted up really well.
“To keep them scoreless in the second half, too, is a real plus point for us. Guys were putting in big shots, stopping Ulster carriers in their tracks and we picked off a few turnovers too.
“It just felt like we couldn’t quite get our attack going, and we probably weren’t accurate enough at the breakdown overall. If we can match up our attack from the first half against Zebre last week and our defence from this week, though, we’ll be in a really good place.”
As was the case in the victory over Zebre Parma at Scotstoun last weekend, it was a Glasgow Warriors squad that blended youth and experience that took to the field in Cavan, showcasing the full depth of the playing group available to Franco Smith and his coaching team.
Young prospects including Ruaraidh Hart and Duncan Munn continued to show up well in their first taste of professional action, whilst the returning figures of Oli Kebble, Enrique Pieretto and Josh McKay brought a wealth of experience to proceedings.
For Fraser, it’s something that can only be a benefit as the start of the 2023/24 season comes further into focus.
“We’ve all trained together for the full pre-season, and we’ve just continued to gel the longer we’ve worked together,” said the hooker.
“Our lineout’s been going well and we’re really hitting our connections, and for us as a pack, to have guys like Oli [Kebble] and Kike [Enrique Pieretto] coming back and bringing that experience is so valuable. It’s that on-field feedback, too – the more we get used to each other on the pitch, the better it’ll be.”
Another to impress was Gregor Hiddleston, with the Dumfries Saints product getting on the end of a rolling maul to score the only try of the second half.
Fraser was quick to shut down the idea of any competition in the try-scoring stakes amongst his fellow hookers, though.
“Johnny [Matthews] will win that, let’s be honest!” laughed Fraser.
“Gregor did brilliantly, though, in all seriousness, I’m really pleased for him.
“He threw well, put himself about the park, and it was a really good maul setup that he got on the end of for the try. He got a couple of turnovers too, and he can be really pleased with how he played.”
The visit to Cavan – in what was the first rugby match ever played at the home of Cavan GAA – rounds off Glasgow’s on-field pre-season preparations, as the club returns to Scotstoun for a fortnight of fine-tuning before the visit of Leinster to open the BKT United Rugby Championship.
While tipping a hat to those at Kingspan Breffni, it’s the prospect of being involved on Family Day that’s driving Fraser and his team-mates as the new season approaches.
“It’s been a really cool trip actually, aye!” said the hooker.
“The welcome we’ve had from Cavan and the stadium – it’s been a really good experience. It was a bit strange seeing four sets of posts set up at first, though! The atmosphere was great throughout and it was great to see a few Glasgow supporters in there too.
“Everyone’s keen to get involved, and everyone keeps driving each other forward. We know Leinster will be a proper test, but we’re all determined to work hard and put ourselves in the best possible position.”