Dave Rennie sifted through the embers of the ten seconds that cost his team a bonus-point win against Munster at Thomond Park, but he insisted he was proud of his side’s effort and their excellent performance in Limerick.
George Horne’s two first-half tries were added to by Peter Horne and Matt Fagerson in the second period, but despite leading by 14 points with 14 minutes remaining, Warriors could not close out the game and Rory Scannell robbed them with the last kick of the match from halfway.
Rennie admitted his side should have closed out the game with possession theirs in the last minute, but he also spotted some game smarts from the home side.
“We had the ball, we had the lead and we just needed to look after it,” said Rennie. “But they’re smart, Munster. On that last play they blocked the two guys supporting him and the ball carrier gets isolated. They won a penalty off that.
“One ruck, kick it out and that’s the ball game, five points. We’ll learn a bit from that but it’s a bitter pill. I thought we left a couple of tries out there too. There was one just before half time that Peter Horne scored that got called forward and obviously Ruaridh Jackson’s one not being grounded. You can look back on all that sort of stuff.
“It’s tough. There’s massive disappointment in the changing room, the boys are really down. But I’ve spoken to them, told them how proud I was. To Munster’s credit, they don’t lie down here. They hung in there. We were ten seconds from leaving with five points which would have been great but we fell short.”
Despite the loss, Warriors still lead Ospreys by four points at the top of the Conference A standings, by virtue of the losing bonus and try bonus points they managed to take from Thomond Park. All focus now switches to next Friday night at Liberty Stadium, where first and second in the table will do battle.
Warriors will likely be without the majority of the 16 players that were called into Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad as thy prepare to face Wales the following day, but Rennie is happy with the talent he has at his disposal.
“We have got good depth, we have a lot of good men and it doesn’t matter who puts the jersey on, there’s an expectation that you front. That’s what we got form those boys tonight. Young Stafford McDowall ended up being on pretty early and wasn’t even in the squad yesterday, DTH [van der Merwe] didn’t quite make it today so we put Stafford on the bench and he came on and he played really well.
“We’ve got good depth and a lot of competition for places. We have a good bunch of men who work hard for each other. We saw that and it doesn’t guarantee success obviously, but we’re certainly proud of the effort.”
Two of the players that will surely be missing for the trip to Swansea are Peter and George Horne, who added three tries between them in Limerick. The half-back duo caught the eye of Rennie and he expects big things from them.
“They are good boys, real quality characters. Very professional and very competitive both of them. I know that George will be giving Pete a hard time: he got two and Pete only got one, although we thought Pete got one before half-time and we wouldn’t mind going back looking at that forward pass. Look, they’re good boys and they had a big impact tonight.”
A knee injury for Sam Johnson is a worry for Scotland and Warriors, while Rory Hughes will be assessed for a concussion, and Ollie Kebble left the action with a back injury. DTH van der Merwe was a late withdrawal but Rennie expects him to be back next week.
“He [van der Merwe] had an infection in his knee and he’s been on antibiotics. He got it from last weekend. He should be all right for next week but it wasn’t close enough to risk him tonight.
“But we never look for excuses. Whoever puts the jersey on is going to have to do a job for us. We have listed a team that we hope we can put out next week and it’s pretty good.”