Franco Smith sets sights on bigger prizes as Glasgow Warriors 'prepared for injuries'
The 29-27 win at Scotstoun means Smith’s side finished the URC league season in fourth place and will take on Munster at home in the play-off quarter-finals in a fortnight. Before that, they will face the Scarlets in Llanelli in the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup. Smith believes his team are in good fettle for both competitions despite a bruising encounter which saw Jamie Dobie and Cole Forbes hobble off and Huw Jones and Lucio Sordoni depart with head injuries. It meant that replacement forward Matt Fagerson had to be deployed in the backline.
“Winning was the most important thing for us tonight against a motivated team from Connacht,” said Smith. “We work with a plan. I know that in play-offs there are usually injuries and we must be prepared for that. I believe we have been preparing for the finals from the first day. We’ve had a plan. The players understand the plan and I think we did well. Matt Fagerson in the centres did well. We prepare always for the worst case. All our loose forwards are well prepared and have a good idea of what we want to do with it.”
Smith’s policy of having six forwards on the bench and only two backs threatened to backfire when Forbes joined Dobie and Jones in the sick bay but the coach seemed unperturbed. “It was unfortunate but it was also good that it was the first time it’s happened in 23 games. It was a good opportunity to see how we managed it.”
Connacht, who finished seventh, will face a trip to Ulster in the last eight. The other quarter-finals will see Leinster at home to the Sharks and the Stormers taking on the Bulls in an all-South African clash.