Much of the focus immediately after the match was on the three penalties given away in quick succession during the final minute, which saw the visitors go from being two points up and in control of possession deep inside the opposition’s 22, to watching on as Benetton stand-off Leonardo Marin kicked the winning points. However, Harley pointed out that discipline was a problem throughout the match, and conceded that this is an on-going problem for the team.
Warriors conceded 12 penalties over the course of the match which is only two more than Benetton. Over the course of the season so far, they have conceded 59 penalties, which not as many as Edinburgh, Zebre, Cardiff Blues and the Dragons. So, they are not way out on their own as serial miscreants, but the timing and areas of the park that these lapses are occurring has been really costly to Danny Wilson’s side.
“It’s just massive disappointment,” said Harley, after Saturday’s 19-18 loss at the Stadio Monigo.
“There was a lot of effort and we’ve come close to getting a huge away win, but our discipline let us down and we’re going home with a loss instead. The margins are thin.
“We are talking about the whole squad with that. Although that last couple of minutes was emblematic of what we’ve done through the game, their tries came from us putting pressure on ourselves, from not exiting well, from cheap offsides which have put us back defending our own line again.
“A lot of credit to Benetton for being clinical and taking their chances, but the amount of times we gave away penalties and invited them into our 22 and onto our goal-line to attack has cost us in the end.
“I think that’s something there needs to be an emphasis on, and we need to make shifts as a squad, so that we read the referee but also make sure that we are half a foot behind the ruck,” he continued.
“It is things like making a huge effort to roll away from contact, and I gave away a penalty in this game for a high tackle, which is just down to sloppy technique. So, it’s about having that ethos where we are giving ourselves that margin for error and showing referees that we are working to stay legal. We need to demand better. We don’t want to give referees these decisions to make.”
Saturday’s defeat was a setback, and Glasgow can’t let too many more golden opportunities slip through their fingers, but the season is still young and they are still very much in the fight for URC play-off and Champions Cup qualification.
“Next week is huge,” concluded Harley. “Coming off this, we’ve got a chance next week to remedy all of these mistakes straight away. From the moment we touch down in Scotland and get home, all our focus is going to be on the Dragons next Saturday night.”