They have lost all four of their away games in the URC so far this season and will be desperate to turn things around against the team at the foot of the standings in Parma. But first they need to process another tough day in the RDS as everyone was coming to terms with the death of Scotland legend Doddie Weir.
Smith was a team-mate of South African scrum-half Joose van der Westhuizen, who also died of motor neurone disease, while he played against Weir too. “He (Weir) was an icon of the game for so long, and it is a really sad day for Scottish rugby,” said Smith. “Joost van der Westhuizen was a very good friend of mine and suffered from the same illness. It’s really sad. We’re all devastated by the news. Our thoughts are with his family – we know it’s going to be a devastating period for them. From our side, all our condolences.”
On their last visit to Dublin, Glasgow were humiliated 76-14 and Danny Wilson lost his job after that quarter-final defeat last June. And while this wasn’t as horrific, Glasgow still fell behind early and trailed by 21-0 at half-time, following tries from Dave Kearney and Rob Russell (two).
Gregor Brown thought he had scored on the resumption but that was ruled out and when Sebastian Cancelliere touched down moments later it looked as though Glasgow had their chance. However, George Horne missed the conversion and crucially Leinster scored next when Michael Milne wrapped up the bonus point. There were further tries from Russell and John McKee and Leinster made it eight from eight in the URC, as they surge clear at the top.
But it’s a very different story for Glasgow who need to start winning games away from home. After their clash with Zebre Parma next Saturday they go to the Rec to face Bath in the Challenge Cup, and they need to find a way to get the results on the road. “That is definitely one of the aspects that we’re working on, and it’s something I pride myself on – I’ve always coached the Italians and even the Cheetahs to win away from home. They eventually get it right and start winning away from home,” said Smith.
“Yes, unfortunately there are some old habits and beliefs that get stuck. But we’ve got a lot of plans that we’re making. It’s going to be one game to turn it round – and hopefully we can get it next week. I don’t want to call it a psychological plan, because I think it’s sometimes misinterpreted by the public. We want to get out there and develop skill sets – and also mental skill sets to handle the pressure and help us play better away from home.”
And with Europe around the corner, Smith thought that his team were on the right track heading to Leinster this weekend backed by their returning international contingent. “The importance and the pressure is massive,” added Smith. “We wanted to win out there – I was sincerely convinced that this week we were going to get it right. They were just inaccurate – we lost lineouts that we would usually win. So there were just errors, which is understandable – we hadn’t played for the last three weeks. But we will gel. And for me the most important thing is we’ve broadened our depth again. Hopefully in a couple of months we’re going to see a group with much more depth.”