Glasgow’s disappointments in Europe will help them in the long-term as they re-enter the Guinness PRO14 tonight against new South African visitors Southern Kings, believes Dave Rennie.
Two losses to follow the six wins to start the PRO14 campaign were a sobering reminder to warriors fans about the work still to do, but not to the head coach.
“We won our first six games in this comp but we have big strides to make,” he said. “A lot of it is about our patience and our ability to build pressure; we will go 24 phases and then put in a little kick or force a pass that isn’t on and that releases pressure.
“You can get away with it in some games, but against big teams like Leinster and Exeter it can hurt you.
“It is something we’ve worked hard on for the past few months but we still have work to do in that area. Some good lessons have been learnt and hopefully that will show in the PRO14 over the next few weeks.”
Rennie still believes his team “played a lot of good footie” in the last couple of weeks, but admiuts “we’ve got to be better”.
“We need to be the best team in this competition in May,” he said. “There’s a lot of growth in the group.
“You’ve got to take things on the chin and learn from them. That’s why I think the last couple of weeks have been good for us.”
With a casualty station after last week’s Leinster game and the need to prepare his side for prolonged periods without their international players, the coach has taken the opportunity to blood a new young half-back partnership in Adam Hastings and George Horne against a Kings side that has lost all six games so far.
“Absolutely they’re ready,” he said. “George spent the whole off-season with us and played in the two pre-season games. He has had a couple of cameos of the bench, he has been training full-time with us and he’s a very good halfback.
“Adam also started the two preseason games and played a big chunk of the Connacht game before getting injured.
“We could have played Finn (Russell), but it’s important to give Adam a start because he may well play a bit of footy for us over the next month.”
The son of former Lions and Scotland captain Gavin has really impressed Rennie.
“He has a great work ethic, and we asked him to make some changes and he has gone back to club rugby and done that,” continued the coach.
“He has a good skill set. He has the ability to challenge defences and make space for others, he’s got a pretty solid kicking game and he is brave. In terms of managing a game he has made improvements in that area and hopefully will see evidence of that tomorrow night.”
The Kings are steadily improving, believes Rennie, having been struggling with player availableability on entering the PRO14 at short notice.
“They have a big pack, and I think they will try to ask questions of us down our end of the field and around the edges,” he said.
“They battled a little bit at the start of the competition with such a short assembly time and lost a lot of their super rugby players. They’ve had a couple of weeks to tidy a few things up and bring in some new personnel. They will be better than they were for the first few weeks.”
Callum Gibbins is likely to miss only a week after his head knock against Leinster, and Rob Harley leads the side.
Glasgow Warriors (vs Southern Kings, Guinness PRO14, Scotstoun, tonight ko 7.35 pm, live on BBC ALBA) Stuart Hogg; Lee Jones, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Niko Matawalu; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Alex Allan, Pat MacArthur, Zander Fagerson; Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray; Robert Harley (capt), Matt Smith, Matt Fagerson. Replacements: George Turner, Ryan Grant, Adam Nicol, Greg Peterson, Lewis Wynne, Ruaridh Jackson, Stafford McDowall, Lelia Masaga.