DAVE RENNIE: Our focus is on Cardiff, not Saracens’ indiscipline

Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie was less than impressed by Saracens' indiscipline. Pic: Alan Harvey SRU/SNS
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie was less than impressed by Saracens' indiscipline. Pic: Alan Harvey SRU/SNS
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Glasgow coach Dave 
Rennie said he was happy to let the citing commissioner deal with Saracens’ England centre Alex Lozowski but admitted he was surprised that at least one of the incidents from Sunday’s bruising encounter hadn’t been dealt with on the spot.

Lozowski was facing a European disciplinary panel which sat late into last night after being charged with two acts of foul play in Saracens’ 13-3 Heineken Champions Cup win at Glasgow.

He was alleged to have entered a ruck dangerously, before later making an alleged dangerous tackle. Both carry a minimum two-week ban which could threaten his involvement in England’s autumn Tests.

Rennie said: “I think one was the [first-half] clean-out on [hooker] Fraser Brown, I was really surprised at the time that the TMO didn’t jump in and deal with that. We ended up getting penalised for another issue [in an ensuing fracas] and it cost us three points, but the fact that he has been cited shows that it was probably a yellow card – reckless, no arms, into the knees, which could have been season ending for Fraser.

“We didn’t cite [Lozowski] – we let the citing commissioner deal with that sort of thing – but we’re certainly disappointed with a number of things which happened during the game from a refereeing perspective.

“We’ve cut a number of clips and sent them in to [European referees chief] Joel Jutge and we’re waiting for a response.”

Rennie admitted the bulk of this week will be nursing his players back from what was a hugely physical challenge against the English giants and ready to launch themselves at a Cardiff side buoyant from their win in Lyon at the Arms Park on Sunday.

The coach said Brown was being assessed and would be given “every chance” to feature at the weekend, while centre Alex Dunbar goes through concussion protocols, with Sam Johnston ready to step in and return if needed.

Rennie said Sunday’s experience against a streetwise 
Sarries side was a valuable lesson for his players.

“You need strong refereeing I reckon,” he said. “What you permit you promote.

“I just think if he [French 
ref Mathieu Raynal] had been stronger in the first ten minutes of the game, penalised [England forward Maro] Itoje for creeping around the maul and other offences it would get changed.

“But if you allow guys to do it, they’ll keep doing it... and good on them. It’s smart footy in the end. We want to be really physical, within the law.

“We’ve had our say. We’ve moved on and want to look ahead. We certainly haven’t sat around with the players and grumbled about any of the decisions. We had our chances and got ourselves at the right end of the field but needed to be more patient and clinical.

“From a physicality point of view, that was a big step up. They are a massive side and we’re really proud of the way the boys stood up in the face of that, and as you can see from the injuries on both sides it was pretty brutal.

“Each week is different so we’ll do a little bit less at the start of the week to make sure we get some of those battered bodies sorted. We’ll treat guys individually.

“We’re well into our season so the boys are pretty clear with what we are doing, and anything new we will introduce today to make sure the boys have got that clarity, and when we rake the field on 
Sunday we can hopefully bring the same sort of intensity as last Sunday.”

Despite emerging from the opener with no points, Rennie believes it was a positive step forward in Glasgow’s ongoing quest to be major contenders in Europe.“I think there’s been lot’s of question marks around whether we’re tough enough up front,” said the Kiwi. “We were really confident the guys would get up for [Saracens] and the guys need to seven days later. If you’ve got any aspirations of winning silverware at the business end of the year you have lots of big games.

“We’re confident we are playing well, have prepared well and there’s no reason why we can’t fire again on Sunday.”