Stand-off Adam Hastings insists Glasgow are determined to shake off the “frustration and embarrassment” of their European thrashing at Saracens and give everything to ensure they cling on to top spot in Guinness Pro14 Conference A and secure a home semi-final.
That quest continues at Scotstoun on Friday, when Ulster are the visitors and Hastings believes all three of the final regular-season games need to be won to ensure that is the case. With Munster chasing hard just three points behind and having a far less daunting run-in than the Warriors, who follow up Friday with a trip to Leinster then the visit of bogey team Edinburgh, it is a different story from last season.
Glasgow romped to victory in Conference A, but then paid for a three-week lay-off as they flopped at home to Scarlets in the last four. They would rather have that problem to address than face the prospect of a semi-final away to Leinster for a shot at the Celtic Park final they are desperate to be in.
“It’s a huge game, back at home,” said Hastings of the Ulster clash. “If we’re being realistic about this competition we want to finish top of our Conference, we need to win our last three games in the regular season, so this game’s huge. Five points on Friday would be massive.”
He may be one of the more youthful members of Dave Rennie’s squad but said he had played his part in the “strong words” which had been exchanged in the wake of a 56-27 loss, which Hastings freely admitted was “an absolute hammering”, at Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final in London on Saturday.
“Being a fly-half you kind of have a big impact on the game and the decisions you make can affect a lot of the team performance, so I kind of have to speak as well,” said Hastings.
“We spoke about it – we’ve got to go through the game, which is painful at the best of times. It’s not easy, but you’ve got to go and watch all the stuff and learn from it, which we did on Monday morning.
“Take a lesson from it but, ultimately, we’ve got to put it behind us now. We’ve got three massive games coming up to finish off our regular season, so we’ll look forward to that now.”
Hastings didn’t shy away from the fact that the Glasgow players’ pride had been badly dented after that seven-try working over by the English giants, with frustration and a hint of embarrassment the overrisding emotions.
“Yeah, of course. Both of those things,” he said with a wince. “At half-time we felt like when we went inside to the sheds we’d managed to get a foothold back in the game – we kicked two penalties. Then we nearly scored at the end of the half – we were right on their line and got bundled into touch.
“If we’d kicked another three [points] there or even scored we were right back in that game. I think the most disappointing thing was the way we came out in the second half and they just were kind of all over us for 20 minutes. We just didn’t have any ball. We spoke about it as a back line. We barely touched it in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“So I think, yeah, frustration is one thing. Of course we’re embarrassed. At the end of the day we got absolutely hammered. They’re a quality side and they took their chances. Yeah, I think those two things [frustration and embarrassment] sum it up pretty much.”
Hastings refuted any suggestion there might be lingering psychological wounds carried into the remainder of the season. “No, it doesn’t knock you off your stride,” he said. “We’ve lost games this season – we’ve had some losses where we definitely should have won. So I don’t think it knocks you off your stride: if anything, it just hammers home that losing feeling after a game.
“We were knocked out of a competition and you don’t want to feel that again, so ultimately we don’t want to lose again for the rest of the season. We want to win that trophy.”