Kenny Murray admits pressure is on as Glasgow Warriors seek to atone for Scarlets loss

Scarlets pair John Barclay and Ken Owens charge in to tackle Glasgow's Rob Harley during the weekend's Pro14 encounter in Llanelli. Picture: Alex Davidson/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock
Scarlets pair John Barclay and Ken Owens charge in to tackle Glasgow's Rob Harley during the weekend's Pro14 encounter in Llanelli. Picture: Alex Davidson/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock
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There is no shame in losing
away from home to a side as accomplished as the Scarlets. The Welshmen were last season’s Pro12 champions and have already reached the semi-finals of this year’s Champions Cup.

However, the nature of Glasgow’s 26-8 defeat on Saturday afternoon did grate with both staff and supporters.

The Scotstoun outfit barely
flashed their teeth as an attacking force in a listless first half, missed easy points from the kicking tee, were beaten up at scrum time, shipped soft points through indiscipline and soft turnovers and, when they did get on the front foot early in the second half, they could not press it home due to a lack of accuracy.

“It was disappointing,” said defence coach Kenny Murray after yesterday’s open training session at Scotstoun. “We went there with a good squad and full of expectation of 
winning but we just didn’t perform. We didn’t work hard enough in both attack and defence, and that was quite clear when we did our review this morning.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game but it felt a wee bit like we were just waiting for things to happen. Certainly,
defensively, a few times we just let them play their shape and didn’t impose ourselves.

“Did we just go there and expect to win? I don’t think that’s the case – we knew how important that game was – but we do have a lot to work on.”

It is still hard to envisage Dave Rennie’s men not managing to pick up the four points from three games they need to finish top of Conference A at the end of this Pro14 regular season. But it is no longer a foregone conclusion, and another sub-standard showing at home to Connacht this weekend will really pile the pressure on.

“If we lose that then we have to go to Ulster and Edinburgh in our final two matches, which are two big games,” added Murray. “Watching Ulster at the weekend, it looks as if they’ve got a bit of form back and they have some really dangerous players in Jacob Stockdale and Charles Piutau. And we know from the last four or five years that Edinburgh and Glasgow games can go either way, irrespective of form. So, this is a big game to get points on the board and take pressure off.”

It looks likely the Warriors will be without captain Ryan Wilson for Friday’s contest.

He was one of the few players to really step up to the plate on Saturday before leaving the field in the 65th minute nursing his ribs. A scan yesterday morning indicated that there is no fracture but he is still in some pain.

Murray, pictured, said: “There is obviously a bit of bruising and I’d say he is unlikely to be available this week, but you never know.”

Hooker George Turner was also injured on Saturday, coming off in the third minute for a head injury assessment and not returning.

“He passed the first stage of his return to play protocol today so if he gets through that then he could be good for 
Friday night,” said Murray.

If not, it won’t be a major disaster given that Fraser Brown has recovered from an ankle injury picked up during Scotland’s final Six Nations match against Italy last month.

“Fraser did a good bit of contact at the end of the session and got through that so he should be back in consideration,” said Murray.

The coach also revealed that centre Alex Dunbar is in line for a long-awaited comeback after being limited to just one appearance in this calendar year, against Exeter Chiefs in mid-January, due to a succession of injuries.

“He, for me, has been one of the standout players at training during the last month.

“His speed records have been up there through the roof 
and his aerobic capacity has really improved, so he’s really raring to go.

“Expect to see a big game 
if he’s involved this week,” 
added Murray.