Gregor Townsend: Don’t blame Tim Swinson for Euro exit

Harry Mallinder congratulated by teammates after scoring the match-winning try. Picture: Getty
Harry Mallinder congratulated by teammates after scoring the match-winning try. Picture: Getty
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Gregor Townsend refused to blame Tim Swinson’s moment of madness five minutes from time for Glasgow Warriors’ last-gasp defeat at Franklin’s Gardens which ended their hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

“It always hurts to lose in the last minute, but it is the players who put in all the effort and they are hurting the most,” said the Glasgow head coach after his side’s 19-15 defeat to Northampton.

“I was really proud with the way the players stuck to their task.

“Tim Swinson is really disappointed at his yellow card because he knows it cost us. It was out of character for him – he plays tough, but always within the rules. But sometimes when people are hanging on to you things can happen.

“We were in control of the ball at that stage and we could have got a penalty or a scrum. We had just picked up a penalty at the previous scrum and we might have been able to see it out. But we always knew how difficult it was going to be to win at Franklin’s Gardens. They hadn’t gone three games without a win in Europe since 2000.

“We defended really well against their big runners and after a few early problems at the scrum we did well in that area in the end and it was pretty equal. We have shown some good improvement in the last three games, but this will hurt more than the other two defeats.”

Defeat leaves the Warriors with no chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, yet they still have a game left to play. Their round six clash with pool leaders Racing 92, who qualified by scoring nine tries in a record 64-14 annihilation of the Scarlets in Paris, will leave them with only pride to play for.

“We’ve still got a game to go in Europe and we will have to see who we play against Racing 92. We’ll be playing a quality side and we will be trying to get a win – our fans deserve that,” added Townsend.