Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie insists his side can still reach the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals despite slipping to a 13-3 defeat at home to Saracens in today’s Pool 3 opener.
Glasgow showed up well in spells of what was a hugely physical, occasionally bad tempered, encounter but Rennie admitted they hadn’t been clinical enough as they failed to take a losing bonus point for finishing within seven points.
The Warriors now travel to face Cardiff this weekend and the Kiwi coach believes his side can still recover from a losing start.
“You know Saracens are going to be there in the end, Cardiff had a good win away in Lyon,” he said.
“They’ll be tough next week but if we can win away we’ll be back in the race. Last year Scarlets lost their first couple and ended up in the semis. We’ll dust ourselves off, look at what we did well, be clear on where we have to be better and have another crack at Cardiff.”
Rennie felt his side, who defended doggedly to limit the always dangerous star-studded London side to one try through flanker Mike Rhodes and eight points from the boot of Owen Farrell.
“We probably deserved to [get something]. We gave them a pretty soft 10 points early on in the game,” continued Rennie.
“From then on I thought we defended pretty well. I can’t fault the attitude; the effort was outstanding. But we just need to be far more clinical and patient when we’re attacking, specially on the penalty advantage.
“You can go seven, eight or nine phases, keep applying pressure, but a couple of times we’ve gone for the miracle play.
“We’ll learn from that. Effort-wise I thought we fronted bloody well. They had to defend their line for big chunks of the second half, but like I say, we needed to turn our pressure into points.”
Sarries boss Mark McCall conceded that his two-time European champions had been in a real battle and was relieved to come away with the win.
“We knew the improvement they had made, how dangerous some of the individuals were,” he said.
“The quality of [stand-off] Adam Hastings, who can make something out of nothing, though I thought for the most part we covered him pretty well.
“They are a good side, they are well coached and have quality players. There are no surprises for us, it was a very good win.”
Rennie, meanwhile, said he will be in touch with European referees boss Joel Jutge about a number of issues around the performance of French official Mathieu Raynal.
There was a suspicion of a foot in touch in the lead up to the Saracens try and the English side escaped any yellow cards despite a series of maul and ruck collapses.
“A lot of it was frustrating,” said Rennie. “We’re trying to apply a bit of pressure through that. We’ll look at the game and maybe put share a bit of footage together for Joel Jutge and get a bit of clarity around some things.”
Glasgow continued to press for a try late on, which ultimately denied them a bonus point, and the coach said he had “no issue” with a late decision by Hastings to go for the corner rather than the posts.
“I think it was nine minutes left, so the decision was if we scored it was a chance to win it,” he said.
“We had two or three penalties before half-time that we could have gone for the posts too, but they had been penalised a couple of times, and if you keep applying pressure maybe you get rewarded with a yellow card and so on. I’ve got no issue with the decision-making there. As I say, we’ve got to be more clinical.”