Smith looking ahead following Benetton defeat

Smith looking ahead following Benetton defeat

Franco Smith was in philosophical mood following last night’s BKT United Rugby Championship defeat to Benetton, expressing his disappointment while also underlining his belief in his squad.

A four-try showing from the home side saw the men from Treviso claim a 33-11 victory over the Warriors in the opening match of the 2022/23 competition, Zander Fagerson registering Glasgow’s only try after coming off the bench.

Smith highlighted the disruption to the club’s two planned pre-season friendlies when discussing the performance, but refused to use the factor as a reason to explain events in Treviso.

“First of all, the result is disappointing,” he said post-match.

“We didn’t have the chance to get rid of all of the pre-season tiredness from our legs in either of our planned friendlies, so coming into the game with just the Ayrshire Bulls hit-out behind us was not ideal.

“I’m trying not to use that as an excuse because we weren’t good enough tonight, but there is a reason that you play these warm-up games. Especially in the first-half, we were reverting to old habits. The second half allowed us to show more of what we can do, but we left ourselves too much to do.”

Smith also underlined that the process of getting to know his squad is ongoing, having never overseen his new charges in a competitive environment until last night’s match.

“Execution under pressure is one thing we definitely need to work on going forward,” he said.

“I also learnt a lot about the emotional intelligence of all of the players out there – you could see how each individual handled pressure, how they converted it into positive energy and so on.

“We’ll be able to improve a lot now that we have these actions on video and available to review ahead of next week, because now we know what triggers are required to stimulate a better performance from them under the intensity of a match against live opposition, rather than simulations in training.”

The Warriors will have a full week to turn things around, as Cardiff come to Scotstoun for what will be Glasgow’s first fixture at Scotstoun in almost six months.

Smith is confident that his squad will bounce back, as he prepares for his first experience of the Friday night lights in Glasgow’s west end.

“This is the beginning of the season – we’re at the beginning of our journey together,” he said.

“There’s a reason that Olympic athletes have competitions throughout the season to improve and get to their peak condition in time for the Olympic finals.

“Part of our preparations has involved being sustainable and giving us a platform to grow. These guys have made a step up in pre-season, but tonight was another step up in terms of the intensity of contact.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and progress to be made, but we know the energy levels will continue to rise. Everyone that’s had their pre-season fixtures has come in to the season in the condition that they want to be in – we’re just unfortunate because of the circumstances in our pre-season.”

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