SEAN Lineen has urged Glasgow to take encouragement from their gruelling 19-11 European Rugby Champions Cup defeat by Toulouse on Sunday ahead of their Pool 4 re-match with the four-time Heineken Cup winners on Saturday at Scotstoun.
Warriors were ultimately undone by their own ill-discipline, with 13 points registered by Guy Noves’ Toulouse side after Finn Russell had been yellow-carded for an ill-judged tip tackle just before the interval. Their woes were further compounded by Leone Nakarawa’s late sin-bin – following which Toulouse added another penalty.
However, with Glasgow having dominated large swathes of possession and territory when both sides enjoyed numerical parity, Lineen believes Gregor Townsend’s side showed more than enough to suggest they can gain revenge at Scotstoun.
Former Glasgow coach Lineen, the man who master-minded Warriors’ greatest ever European result – a 33-26 triumph at Toulouse in 2009 – said: “Obviously this was a tough one for Glasgow to take as they dominated large parts of the game, particularly early on, in terms of territory and possession. They weren’t able to translate that dominance into points, but the fact remains that when both sides were playing with their full complement Glasgow had the edge.
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“So what Glasgow have to do is focus on that, take a lot of belief from it and make sure that their discipline is that bit better at Scotstoun on Saturday. If they do then I have no doubt that they have every chance of getting the win they need.
“But I also think that one of the main factors in the second tie will be just which side copes with the pressure the better. Both teams will know that a victory would take them a huge step closer to the quarter-finals and there is so much riding on this one game.
“But Glasgow’s resolve will have been stiffened by this defeat and the frustration they would have felt in its aftermath and I think their motivation will be huge on Saturday. That could prove decisive.
“The bottom line is that Glasgow are just three points off Toulouse and that this is still a huge opportunity for them to make the last eight. It is still very much all to play for.”
Duncan Weir’s failure to convert Niko Matawalu’s late try also denied Warriors a losing bonus point that has allowed Bath, surprisingly triumphant 30-5 at Montpellier, to creep to within four points of Townsend’s men.
With Bath now hosting Montpellier in the return encounter at the Rec this Friday and the French side’s interest in European Rugby’s top tier tournament all but ended, a Glasgow victory is even more vital.
Despite Russell’s rashness and Weir’s inaccuracy, Lineen has no doubt that both men will re-double their focus for this weekend’s revenge mission. He added: “Finn Russell’s tackle was unfortunate but he will learn from that. The bonus point would have been a big plus but it was a tough kick and no one will be more disappointed he missed it than Duncy himself.
“But both boys will move on to Saturday’s return and there were plenty of other big performances from the likes of Jonny Gray and Tommy Seymour while I also felt that Jon Welsh had a big game.
“So there is absolutely no need for the boys to be downhearted.”
With the sheer size and power of the French pack (total weight 909kg) causing Glasgow problems in the set-piece at the scrum and at the breakdown, where Warriors were forced to over-commit numerically in a desperate attempt to gain quick-ball, Lineen admits that looking after Glasgow’s own ball will be vital, but the former Warriors head coach believes that capital can be made out of the lineout.
“With guys like Census Johnson and Joe Takori you have two monsters and the Toulouse pack is as big as there is in world rugby, so it was always going to take a supreme effort by Glasgow up front but I thought they stuck at it well,” said Lineen.
“But the size of the Toulouse forwards means that they are tough to get off the ground at the lineout and I think there is a real advantage to be taken from that for the second game.
“If Glasgow can hold their own in the scrum, win their own ball at the lineout and put the Toulouse throw-in under real pressure, again, it could prove vital.
“If they play with real tempo and when they do get within striking distance convert their opportunities there is no reason they can’t get the win they need.”
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