Glasgow Warriors have excelled in bouncing back from their rare defeats in the last two years and fly-half Finn Russell feels the same will happen against Scarlets on Friday.
The Warriors are still hurting a little from their first loss in the 1872 Cup for five years, but they know the resurgent Scarlets are coming fuill of confidence having done Glasgow a favour by beating league leaders Ospreys on Saturday night.
That meant the leaders didn’t get any further away from Glasgow in second place but Friday’s clash looks the most competitive of the last pre-Six Nations round in the Guinness PRO12, with most of the Warriors’ play-off rivals having fixtures they should be confident of taking at least four points from.
“It definitely hurt, it’s been a long time since we lost the 1872 Cup,” said Russell, who was one of the few bright sparks for Glasgow at BT Murrayfield last Friday.
“But we had a weekend off, the guys were refreshed when we got together and we’ve been through the match now, and are focusing on Scarlets.
“We have a good record in the last couple of years bouncing back from losses with good performances and got back on the front foot straight away, so it’s very important we do that this week.”
Scarlets’ win against Ospreys, just six days after they had pushed their rival West Wales region close in Swansea, shows a team in form, added Russell.
“They’ve had a struggle away from home this season but they’ve just beat the top team in the league, which will send them here with loads of confidence,” he added. “They’re a quality side and no doubt John Barclay will feel he has a point to prove coming back here.
“I was here for his last season and I know what a quality open side he is. But our guys will want to prove a point just as much to John.”
Barclay, Aaron Shingler and Liam Davies at the breakdown could be an issue for Glasgow who are still waiting on the return of their own open-side, Chris Fusaro, and it was an area where Edinburgh caused much disruption last week.
“Edinburgh did really well at preventing us getting quick ball and trying to turn that into opportunities,” continued Russell. “We know Scarlets are good in that area as well and it’s something we’ve concentrated on this week.
“We just have to be more accurate in hitting the rucks to get the quick ball to do some damage.
Personally, Russell feels he has settled into the season and was buoyed by the news that half-back partner Henry Pyrgos had signed an extension to stay two more years at Scotstoun.
“Henry’s good news for me as a 10 because you know someone’s sticking around and you can continue to build a partnership with him,” he said. “We’ve had a good run of games together and I feel we work well, and we’ll get more opportunity hopefully as the Six Nations comes on.
“I felt I settled into playing and starting last year when I had the whole back end of the season playing.
“This year I started with the injury but I’ve settled down now, through the Autumn Tests and now through Christmas, and we’re in pretty much the same position we were at this time last year, then we started putting together wins in the back end of the season.
“We look at the league a little but don’t focus on it yet. So long as we’re getting the performances and wins we have a good idea where we are and what we have to do.
“Hopefully we can have a similar run as we did last season and nail down that home semi-final.”