GLASGOW SKIPPER Al Kellock believes his side can repair Scottish rugby’s battered pride by winning the RaboDirect Pro12 final.
The Warriors will look to claim their first league title when they face Leinster at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday, May 31.
Their narrow 16-15 win over Munster in front of a record 10,000 Scotstoun crowd on Friday night means they are the first Scottish side to reach the final of the competition and it comes after a dismal year for the national side.
Scott Johnson’s Dark Blues won just one of their five RBS Six Nations clashes, suffering humiliation at home to England and away to Wales during a miserable campaign.
But Kellock says victory in a fortnight’s time will put a smile back on the faces of rugby supporters north of the Border.
He said: “This is important, of course it is. The fact we have brought 10,000 fans to Scotstoun is huge because we all want to see Scottish rugby growing and growing. I have loved being part of it over the last 12 years but we are too hard on ourselves as a nation sometimes. We should really celebrate when things go well, so I think the supporters should enjoy this feat while we concentrate on winning this final and giving them something to really cheer about.”
Munster took an early lead after Damien Varley touched down, but three penalties by Finn Russell – starting ahead of stand-off Duncan Weir, dropped alongside fellow Scotland international Stuart Hogg – had the hosts ahead at half-time.
Gordon Reid added a try for Glasgow shortly after half-time but Sean Dougall’s score and a penalty by Ian Keatley saw Rob Penney’s Irish side set the Warriors’ nerves jangling in the final stages. Gregor Townsend’s men held on, though, to clinch their ninth successive victory but Kellock stressed the big challenge now lies ahead.
“Reaching this final is a huge achievement for this club,” he said. “I keep thinking about those 10,000 fans we had out there on Friday night. That win was a big thing for them. But what we have given them is an opportunity to do something incredibly special.
“So now it is all about the final. From players, to staff, to supporters, everything is about focusing on this final. It’s a big achievement getting there but it’s not done yet. We have got to fancy our chances.
“We have won nine games in a row and we have shown that when we are at our best, we are good enough to beat anyone in this league.
“We’ve just beaten a very good Munster side but Leinster will be the same. You don’t get to the final without being a very good team. But what has pleased me this season is that we have done it consistently.
“We need to perform the same in two weeks’ time.”