Styling your hair into a mullet and dying your moustache crimson red probably seems like a jolly jape at the time, but it isn’t so funny when you have to face up to the press after being part of a Glasgow Warriors team which picked up its fifth defeat in nine outings in all competitions this season by losing at home to a second-string Leinster outfit.
Ruaridh Jackson may look like a comedy character at the moment as a consequence of his dedication to this year’s Movember campaign but he certainly wasn’t having a laugh late on Saturday evening as he looked back at his team’s 10-23 Scotstoun defeat.
The fact that he had just scored two tries provided scant consolation after his team squandered a promising start to be completely over-run for the final ten minutes of the first half and for all but the last five minutes of the second half.
“Frustration and disappointment are the only real emotions,” he said.
“We got off to a great start and could have put a couple more tries past them and we just let them back into the game too easily,” added the full-back.
“They made a lot of changes but they’re a quality side who are unbeaten this season for a reason.
“We just weren’t clinical enough. We should have had three or four tries in that first half and really put them to bed, but a team like that are just going to hang in there and in the second half they screwed the nut on us until 30 minutes in when we got a bit of pressure on them.
“But even then they defended for their lives. Fair play to them, they deserved the victory in the end.”
Jackson added that he couldn’t quite put a finger on why his team had fallen apart so spectacularly following that promising opening 25 minutes during which time he had crossed the whitewash twice to make it 10-3, and Niko Matawalu would have got a third for the home side had he not fumbled Sam Johnson’s defence-splitting pass.
“I wish I could [explain it],” he reflected. “There were a couple of inaccuracies and we coughed up the ball at inopportune times.
“They punished us with scores and they were more clinical than us every time they got down our end.
“They scored a couple of cheap tries or got penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking over, whereas when we got down into their 22 we let the opportunities slip. We just need to be far more clinical in that area and to come away with points.”
It didn’t help that stand-in stand-off Peter Horne missed both tricky conversions and an easy penalty, which meant that instead of the teams being tied at half-time, the Warriors went in trailing by seven points.
“I’m full of sympathy for Peter because I’ve been there,” said Jackson. “Kicking is one of those necessary evils – you’re either the hero or the villain – and every kicker has an off night. But, obviously 17-17 would have been different.
“It’s difficult, especially against a team like Leinster who have been there so often and are masters at eking out a victory,” he added.
“That clock seemed to have big chunks taken out of it when we didn’t really notice. They’d just get a penalty and slow it down, put us back in our own half, and maybe come away with three points. We needed to shift the momentum up a bit more and we coughed up the ball a bit too easily in that second half.
“We’ve just got to dust ourselves down and learn the lessons. Going back into Europe next week is great because we’re still right in the mix there, and if we get a victory over in La Rochelle next Saturday – which will be tough because they’re a big, physical team – then we’ll be well-placed.
“We know we’ve got the game to beat them and our focus is already on that.”