Veteran back Sean Lamont has refused to give up hope that Glasgow can salvage this season’s European campaign but concedes the Guinness Pro12 champions have put themselves in a “poor position to qualify”.
Saturday may have only been the first of six Pool 3 matches but, with only six group winners and three best runners-up moving on to the last eight, a 26-15 home defeat to Northampton Saints leaves the Warriors facing an uphill challenge.
“I wouldn’t say it is a monumental task now but we have put ourselves in a poor position to qualify,” said Lamont yesterday. “You can afford to drop one game. If you drop two you are going to be relying on results of other teams doing you a favour, someone beating a team you wouldn’t expect. So look, if we win all our games from here on out, we’ll qualify.”
Glasgow return to European action with back-to-back matches against Pro12 rivals Scarlets on 12 and 19 December and are still waiting to hear when their scheduled opening match against Racing 92, which was postponed after the Paris terror attacks, is to be re-arranged.
“It was a funny game,” continued Lamont. “We made something like 79 tackles, which is incredibly low in any type of game. There wasn’t a lot of rugby played. They took three tries which were pretty much gifts and at any level gifting the opposition three tries means you’re not going to do very well. Especially against a side like Northampton, who have quality and know how to win.
“They’ve got a good defence, make their tackles and one of the best defences in the [Aviva] Premiership last year. Very tough to break down and when you’re gifting them points either through the boot or easy, soft tries, you’re in for a tough day at the office. We didn’t play well at all. Hopefully this weekend we get back on track.”
Glasgow are back in Pro12 action at Scotstoun tomorrow night against Italian side Treviso, which you would expect to be the perfect opportunity to get the misery of last Saturday out of their systems, though Lamont is not taking anything for granted even against a side who have not won away from home since May 2013.
Lamont said: “It’s important we bounce back, we can’t afford to drop more points in the league. We’re sitting sixth in the table and if we want to get that top four slot and challenging for another title we’ve got to be taking every point we can and dropping as few as possible. Treviso are a good side, they are always very physical and if we’re not on form they’ll be a banana peel.”
Scotland’s most recent cap centurion – he moved on to 101 during the World Cup in England– was speaking in Glasgow yesterday as Scottish Rugby announced the renewal of its partnership with brewers Tennent Caledonian, for a further three years.
The deal will see Caledonia Best continue in its role as official beer to the Scotland national team, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors until November 2018. The SRU said: “The agreement marks a significant increase in investment and will take Caledonia Best’s contribution to rugby over the course of the partnership into six figures.”
Caledonia Best has pledged to subsidise travel for over 1,000 Glasgow and Edinburgh away fans for the 1872 Scottish Cup derbies. Tickets for bus travel to either match (27 December at BT Murrayfield and 2 January at Scotstoun) will be priced at £8.72 and will be on sale via www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby.