Franco Smith takes the positives as ‘inaccurate’ Glasgow Warriors preserve their unbeaten run

Franco Smith stressed the positives after his Glasgow Warriors side were held to a 19-19 draw by Bath in the Challenge Cup at Scotstoun.

Glasgow Warriors' Duncan Weir watches on as his last-gasp penalty against Bath goes just wide. The match finished 19-19. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors' Duncan Weir watches on as his last-gasp penalty against Bath goes just wide. The match finished 19-19. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Glasgow had won seven in a row going into this game and the coach was keen to stress that the result preserved their unbeaten run. The two points gained also means the Warriors will play at home in the round of 16. Their opponents won’t be known until the weekend of European rugby is over. Glasgow ended the night in second place behind Toulon in Pool A but could finish third or fourth depending on the results involving Cardiff and Connacht on Saturday. Such a scenario would see them face a team dropping out of Pool B of the Heineken Champions Cup, with Sale Sharks and Ulster in the mix.

“The important thing is we now have a home game in the knockout stages,” said Smith. “It’s going to be another team coming here to our place. It doesn’t matter who it is.”

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Glasgow scored three tries to Bath’s one, with Matt Fagerson, Sione Vailanu and Seb Cancelliere crossing for the home side. Tom Jordan converted two of them. Chris Cloete got Bath’s only try, converted by Piers Francis, but the English visitors landed four penalties, two from Francis and one apiece from Orlando Bailey and Ben Spencer. Duncan Weir had a chance to win it for the Warriors with the final kick of the game but his penalty attempt went wide.

“We didn’t lose,” said Smith. “I don’t see it in terms of our winning run coming to an end. It’s now eight games unbeaten, I’d rather see it that way. We were a little bit inaccurate, with quite a lot of errors and turnovers. We lost the ball in contact around 16 times. These are things we can fix. We were inconsistent in some areas of the game. We’ve come at the end of an 11-game period in terms of this block of fixtures. So it’s understandable maybe in that sense. But we’re not going to make excuses. Well done to Bath for staying in the game.

“At the start of the season, that’s a game we could have lost. For sure, definitely. We weren’t outplayed. The only people who can derail us are ourselves. I’ll never use the word complacent because that’s something we’re definitely not. It’s just inaccuracy.”

Scotstoun was close to a sell-out again and Smith praised the supporters for turning out on a night when the temperature dropped below freezing. “I really want to thank the fans,” he said. “The weather was really cold. We really do appreciate that. We’re sorry we couldn’t give the fans a win to cheer.”

With the Six Nations just around the corner, the coach reported a clean bill of health for his Scotland contingent. “We are all OK in terms of fitness. We wanted to give the Scotland guys back in good condition for the Six Nations and well prepared.”

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