‘Humbling by Saracens was not reflection of real Glasgow Warriors’

Glasgow's Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg are dejected at full time. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU
Glasgow's Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg are dejected at full time. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU
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Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys admitted “strong words” had been exchanged as the squad reported back in the wake of Saturday’s ego-bruising 56-27 hammering at Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final.

There is no time for moping, however, as Guinness Pro14 business resumes and Glasgow look to keep up their push to win Conference A and secure a home semi-final when they face Ulster at Scotstoun on Friday evening.

The pain of Allianz Park does linger, though, according to forwards boss Humphreys who leaves at the end of the season to return to his homeland and join the Wales coaching team of Wayne Pivac after the World Cup.

“We are detailed in our analysis,” said the former Wales hooker. “Strong words are exchanged but with a theme of positivity on what we can do. I am not going to walk away from there and say ‘that defines us’ because it doesn’t. We have four, five, maybe six games that will define us and that is what we are keen to do.”

Glasgow were in only their second Champions Cup quarter-final, against the same opposition who beat them in 2017, but this was a much more painful loss as the English giants ran in seven tries.

“It’s obviously very disappointing for us that the game went the way it did, but what’s defining for us is how we recover from this,” said 
Humphreys, who was Scotland forwards coach under Vern Cotter.

“We don’t feel that was anywhere close to being a reflection of us, but it’s about us going out there and showing what we are made of.

“We haven’t had that conversation since Christmas. At Christmas time [when they lost twice to Scottish rivals Edinburgh] we felt we didn’t do ourselves justice and what we did from that point was perform really well.

“We performed really well during the Six Nations, we 
got ourselves to the top of the Conference when we were floundering.”

Glasgow did indeed enjoy a fine run during the Six Nations window as their fringe men stepped up but Humphreys disagreed that there might be a concern form dips when the so-called star turns sweep back into the team.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” said the coach. “For a start there wasn’t a lot of the international boys who came back [for Saracens]. A lot of them came back the week before, like Fraser Brown and performed really well, so I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think we can get away from the fact that we came up against a really good team at the weekend who we allowed to play really, really well.

“They’re a tough, tough team to beat, they’re big and physical and we didn’t deal with that. We’re not talking about the international boys coming back and our performance dropping because that’s not the reason.

“We came through a very, very tough group. We performed well in a tough group.

“It’s just a lot of these things you need a fraction of patience. We’ve still got a pretty young group here in terms of being in European quarter-finals. It’s only the second time in this club’s history we’ve been there, so for us it’s a big step forward from where we’ve been.”

Humphreys won’t be involved then but fully expects to see Glasgow progress to the point when they are genuine European contenders.

“Saracens last year got to the quarter final and got pretty soundly beaten. They came back.

“For us, there is no other way we can react than to be as positive as we can, stay top of our group [in the Pro14], come back home for the semi final and hopefully get to Celtic Park at the end of this Pro14.”