Glasgow coach Dave Rennie shrugs off 15-hour South Africa delay

Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie. Picture:
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie. Picture:
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Glasgow coach Dave Rennie has insisted that his squad were not affected by a flight delay and are now acclimatising nicely in Johannesburg ahead of their South African double header.

The 29-man squad were due to fly out from London on Sunday but ended up leaving the following day ahead of their matches against Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday and the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth the following weekend.

“Our flight got delayed Sunday night,” explained the coach. “We still flew to London and flew out Monday morning at 10am. We were pretty much 15 hours behind schedule but we were well looked after by BA.

“Because we were in London Sunday night we got a few things sorted around our meetings. We got some one on ones done so we are not too far behind. We had a double day today in that we trained this morning and train this afternoon. We will have a day off tomorrow [Wednesday] and have a full day training so it is a normal week anyway.”

Coming from what has been a warm Scottish summer means there isn’t as much of an issue as could have been the case travelling to a South African summer in, say, December or January, but Rennie’s squad will have to deal with a change in conditions as they look to build on two wins from two in the Guinness Pro14.

“It is a beautiful day here,” he said yesterday. “20C or somewhere around that but it is expected to get hotter and hotter as the week goes on. We know it is 27 on Thursday. We are anticipating the weather to be normal. At altitude there are a few things that go with that, but the guys understand how hard it can be.”

Rennie said it was good to get away with the squad and spend two weeks in a mini-tour situation to add on to the foundations laid in pre-season and those victories away to Connacht and last Friday’s 25-10 win at home to Munster.

“The Scottish weather has been pretty good. Coming over in January when it is snowing would probably have been nice but there are pros and cons around touring,” said Rennie. “We have 29 guys here who will be a lot tighter. We will have a lot more time together to tidy things up. We have left a chunk of guys at home but we will make the most of the time here.”

Rennie reported that Niko Matawalu hadn’t travelled but the scrum-half trio of George Horne, Ali Price and Nick Frisby had all made the trip. “Niko isn’t here due to a visa issue,” said Rennie. “He needs to tidy a couple of things up so we thought it was better he sorted it out now rather than a couple of weeks time when we have European games.”

The Cheetahs were by far the more competitive of the two South African sides who joined the Pro14 last season, reaching the play-offs in Glasgow’s Conference A, with the Warriors needing a late score to edge victory in Bloemfontein last October.

The Free State side have lost players in the summer and suffered heavy away defeats to Munster and Ospreys at the start of this campaign, but Rennie is expecting them to step up on Saturday.

“They will be a different creature at home,” said the Kiwi. “[Last season] we beat them with three minutes to go, Munster kicked a late penalty to beat them and Leinster came here and lost. It is a challenge. We will be better than last week. There is a lot of competition for places and we are excited to be over here.”

Rennie was pleased that no further action had been taken against his co-captain Callum Gibbins following Friday’s win over Munster, which saw Glasgow race into a 22-0 half-time lead with an impressively dominant showing before failing to add the bonus-point fourth try in a more competitive second period.

Munster were unhappy with a barge at a ruck by Gibbins in the first half, but Rennie said: “Just to clarify Callum’s situation, what happens during a game is that the referee sees something out of the corner of his eye and he will say to his TMO, ‘can you have a look at that?’. The TMO looked at it and didn’t find any issues. The Pro14 have looked at it and they didn’t find any issues. It was just a cleanout.”