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Glasgow seek urgency rather than desperation for 1872 Cup win

Glasgow Warriors' Huw Jones is going to see plenty of action at full-back.
Glasgow Warriors' Huw Jones is going to see plenty of action at full-back.

“Urgency” rather than desperation is the feeling with Glasgow headed into what could be a crucial two games against inter-city rivals Edinburgh over Christmas week.

Dave Rennie has picked an attacking side, including Ruaridh Jackson at 15 and Huw Jones at inside centre for the opening of the three contests, and the only one of the three this season at Scotstoun.

But other than the suspended Matt Fagerson being absent, Rennie has opted for largely the same pack that missed all those chances to dominate against La Rochelle last week, a loss that means the club’s entire season is largely dependent on them making ground from a disappointing start to the PRO14 season.

“It’s not backs to the wall,” argued Rennie. “Obviously we’re not happy with where we’re at in either of those comps.

“Historically we’ve been well clear in PRO14 at this time of year. I always wonder whether that’s why we seem to lack a little bit of edge going into these games. That shouldn’t be the case this year.

“It’s a big game for us – it’s a big game for both clubs. I would expect to see the urgency – I’d certainly use the word urgency rather than desperation – that’s required for this situation.”

Nothing that went wrong against La Rochelle can’t be fixed by being more clinical, he said.

“We obviously didn’t play very well with the wind, there were some clear, simple kicking options that would have helped us play at the right end of the field,” he said.

“In the second half I thought we were really good, but we weren’t clinical enough. We sat down and showed the boys the multitude of options and opportunities we had to put them away.

“As we have been doing over the last month, we created a lot of opportunities but we need to be more clinical about turning pressure into points.”

For Jones, it’s a big opportunity with the national selectors watching to make a big statement about his chance sof returning to the Scotland squad after missing the World Cup.

“I think Huw is going really well, working hard on this game and contributing well in training,” said Rennie. “He is in a pretty good space and we are keen to give him another crack and build on what he has been doing.

“We have seen good shifts in his defensive game. He has been really accurate. At times he has tried to off load passes that are maybe not on when you just want him to carry, as he is a big, powerful man and we are seeing better examples of that too. We’re looking forward to seeing how he goes.”

Rennie has not won the 1872 Cup in his two years at Glasgow, and in his final year he’s still more concerned about performance.

“It’s not about me, but from a club perspective, yeah, we’d love to win it,” he said. “That’s why the next couple of weeks are important, if we can win both games and put ourselves in a much better place in our pool.

“It’s a tough pool. Cheetahs have got to play the Kings three times, Ulster are going well, Leinster are going really well. Getting a bit of silverware is a bonus, but the focus is on performance.”

Glasgow team: Ruaridh Jackson; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Kyle Steyn; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Aki Seiuli, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray; Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: George Turner, Oli Kebble, Adam Nicol, Adam Ashe, Tom Gordon, Ali Price, Nick Grigg, Niko Matawalu.

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