Glasgow Warriors hope to move on from distressing weekend

Mike Blair was in France with his team-mates on Friday night ahead of their game against Racing 92 when the Paris attacks took place. Picture: SNS
Mike Blair was in France with his team-mates on Friday night ahead of their game against Racing 92 when the Paris attacks took place. Picture: SNS
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In the end, there was no decision to make. The scale and scope of the terrorist outrage in Paris last Friday night meant that there was no way Glasgow Warriors’ Champions Cup game against Racing 92 the following afternoon could go ahead.

However, amid the chaos and confusion of the moment the players found themselves in an impossible position, whereby they had to continue preparing for a match they had no appetite for – because as professional sportsmen it was their duty to avoid being side-tracked by external events which were completely outwith their own control.

Deep down they all expected the match to be postponed, and there was a respectfully quiet sense of relief when it was confirmed that this was the case. And now it is time to move on, for the players also realise that they cannot allow that scary weekend in Paris to distract them from their responsibility as a professional rugby team hell-bent on reaching the lofty targets they have set themselves.

As veteran scrum-half Mike Blair explained yesterday, it is crucial that the Warriors get back in the groove this coming Saturday, when Northampton Saints arrive at Scotstoun looking to build upon the 15-11 victory they enjoyed over the Scarlets of Llanelli last weekend.

“Last weekend was very difficult. We were getting the same information as everybody else from the news, or Twitter, or whatever but we did not know what the situation would be the next day.

“You maybe go to bed at 10pm before a game but information was coming out around then and it is difficult to sleep when you are so close to it,” explained the 34-year-old.

“We assumed the game was going to be cancelled but we had to prepare like it was not going to be cancelled. We found out at half nine in the morning that the game would be off.

“I went through different emotions. A bit of you thinks: we are ready, we are prepared, maybe we should get this game done! But it did not feel right. It wasn’t right to play, not being 100 per cent focused on the game is not the right way to prepare, and 
the respectful thing was not to play.”

Turning his focus to this Saturday evening’s engagement against Northampton, Blair stated that he believes in a purely sporting sense, last week’s postponement should hand the Warriors an advantage.

“It is difficult to pass it by like that but we have to do that and try and move on. We have to focus on this game. Guys in the squad were upset by it but we have to try our best to move on,” he said.

“Clubs and countries have gone about things in their own way, and England’s football game with France went ahead last night. That’s the message which is being given out: we need to move on now and focus on our game against Northampton.

“I can’t speak for other individuals but, from my point of view, it was a distressing weekend for a lot of people but we were outside the city and it was something we have been able to shift our focus from.

“We will be seeing this as our first game in Europe all over again. We are charged up to get going, we are enthusiastic. We were ready to go last weekend. Now the first game is a home game and that is a big advantage for us.

“We trained on Saturday afternoon on a 3G pitch [in Paris] so we had a blowout to make sure we started right for this week. You move on quicker in terms of preparation because you don’t have to review the game. We are ready for Northampton now. We have put in the preparatory work and it puts us in a strong position.”