GLASGOW lost only five games on their glorious march to the Guinness Pro12 title last season so, with three in the negative column before November, it could be seen as cause for concern.
Losing so many players to Rugby World Cup duty was always going to prove problematic and Warriors coach Gregor Townsend is remaining calm ahead of today’s home clash with the Ospreys.
“Every game is a game we aim to win and we work hard all week preparing the team to be able to win whether it is round one or round 22,” said Townsend. “We were, as a group, not happy with some aspects of our performance in Leinster last week but there were other aspects we did well. We know we will have to play well for 80 minutes like Ospreys and we are going to have to work hard to reintegrate players coming back.
“The players have not had any coaching time at all with Dan McFarland, the forwards coach, and have gone from May to November [with Scotland]. Some things they will pick up easily – the way we want to play rugby – but it is a time for real yard work from both players and coaches to make sure we are in the right place to be able to win games.”
Ospreys, who finished fourth last season before losing to Munster in the semi-finals, have also been hit hard by the World Cup and they have four defeats already. However, they welcome back star names such as Dan Bigger and Dan Lydiate to the team today, with World Player of the Year nominee Alun Wyn Jones on the bench.
Townsend continued: “It would be great to win all your games and we would have liked to have won those games we lost narrowly but the way the league table is looking we did pick up losing bonus points along the way so we are only just outside the top four. That goal for every team is to get into the top four, then the top two and win the semi final. We know we will have to win most of our games to do that.”
With the likes of Tommy Seymour returning at full-back, Leone Nakarawa back in the second row and Richie Vernon and Peter Horne reunited in midfield, the stage is set for a mouth-watering contest.