LOSING the 1872 Cup for the first time in six years may have left Glasgow with the ultimate New Year hangover but Fraser Brown has promised Warriors fans they will restore equilibrium on Friday against the Scarlets at Scotstoun.
The candid hooker has admitted Glasgow let their support down during their disappointing 20-8 loss to Alan Solomons’ side three days ago, which was their first defeat at the national stadium since 2011, while with leaders Ospreys going down 22-10 to Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, it was also a gilt-edged opportunity to go top of the Guinness Pro12 spurned.
Fortunately, no real damage was done to the Warriors’ play-off crusade with the other sides in the top four, Munster and Ulster, also both coming-a cropper on the New Year card to Connacht and Leinster respectively, all of which has left Glasgow where they were, just one point from the summit of the Pro12 table. But with the Scarlets buoyed by their clipping of the Ospreys’ wings and having already beaten Glasgow 19-9 in Wales back in November, the brutally honest Brown has made it clear that only a week of home truths and hard work will allow his team-mates to produce a suitable response to last Friday’s tale of festive woe in the capital.
“We had a huge support through at Murrayfield and I think we let the fans down. That was not the Glasgow they are used to seeing,” admitted Brown. “We must be more clinical and we definitely feel we let ourselves and the fans down. It is something we must put right against the Scarlets, but it is also something that can’t be allowed to happen again. It’s huge having a home game next on Friday. We have Scarlets and then the two European games and we can’t afford another performance like Friday night again. But it’s one match in a 22-game season. Look at Munster and they lost to Connacht while the Ospreys went down at Scarlets, so if you look over the course of a season, then there will always be games that you are going to lose that are painful and in which you don’t perform.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
“The most important thing is that we produce a performance and a result against Scarlets. We might not have produced our best rugby over the last three or four weeks, when we were just winning these games. Now we need to produce a display full of passion and intensity and with the type of work-rate we expect of ourselves.
“Every team goes through troughs and peaks in a season and the important thing when you are going through a dip is to keep winning. We might not have done that at Murrayfield but we did it in the two previous games against Munster and Edinburgh in the first leg. I just think it is part and parcel of the season.”
Yet the calamity in the capital lacked urgency in the first half while the almost chaotic dissent of the normally rock-solid Glasgow set-piece, after the interval, was even more surprising after the first clash between the two sides six days previously had seen Warriors dominate the line-out and hold their own at the scrum.
But with Glasgow losing two of the five scrums on their feed and robbed of four line-outs on their own throw, the set-piece statistics are damning and Brown conceded a hard week on the paddock awaits.
“Scrum-wise we started off quite well and then came under a bit of pressure. Obviously, they have a powerful scrum, but we will have to review it today and look at what went wrong,” admitted Brown.He continued: “It was the same with our line-out, which they defended very well. When you have a team that puts a lot of pressure on you in the line-out then your throw can go off and your lifts creak a bit and it becomes scrappy.
“So we will spend a lot of time over the coming week putting these aspects right because we are a good set-piece side and we need to make sure we get both our scrum and our line-out right for the Scarlets on Friday night.
“But I do believe it was a case of the set-piece not functioning on the night. Whether it is what the opposition were doing in terms of applying pressure, or individuals dropping off their game a bit, I don’t know, but it is fixable. We’ve got a good set-piece and we’ve had one for the last three years or so, but we have an awful lot of work to do on it this week to bring it back to where it should be.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS