Gregor Townsend reflected with disappointment as his Glasgow Warriors side were outclassed by Saracens in the European Champions Cup quarter-final, admitting they “didn’t deliver”.
In their first last-eight appearance of the elite competition the Scots were no match for the reigning European and English champions and were well beaten 38-13 in London yesterday.
The Warriors lost co-captain Jonny Gray early on to a head knock and were gradually picked apart by a classy Saracens who will now face Munster in a Dublin semi-final.
“I’m obviously disappointed for the players. It was a painful game for them in more ways than one. We put huge effort into getting here. Not just this season but over the last couple of years and we didn’t deliver today,” said the coach, who will move on to take over the Scotland reins in the summer.
“It’s tough to take when you really want to see your team play at their best, and see what happens when they do, and we didn’t today.”
England star Owen Farrell kicked 18 points in a man-of-the-match display and Chris Ashton scored two of the home side’s four tries as Glasgow were punished for defensive lapses and moments of inaccuracy.
A Lee Jones try at the start of the second half got the Warriors to just 14-8 down but Saracens pulled clear with a formidable showcase of attacking rugby.
Around 6,000 Glasgow fans made the trip to Allianz Park and, despite disappointment at the result, Townsend was proud to see the club involved in such an occasion.
He said: “I thought it was great. Getting in our seats two minutes before kick off and seeing, not only our fans but the occasion and the amount of support here, was brilliant.
That’s what our players want to be involved in. To see so many Glasgow fans coming down shows how far the club has come in the last few years.
“But today also shows how much has to be done to make the next step. To get through to the last eight was an achievement but to get to the last four or the final of this tournament you need to be at your very best because you’re against the best teams in Europe.”
Townsend said the early loss of Gray, when the lock failed a head injury assessment, was a blow but was glowing in his praise for the impressive victors.
“Who knows what would have happened [if Gray hadn’t gone off] but Saracens were clearly the better side today.
“But with Jonny, losing your co-captain, lineout caller and one of your best player,s it’s not great when you prepare to play with him. You want your best players playing games like this. It’s easy to speculate on what might have happened. It’s disappointing for Jonny going off so early in the game.”