After losing here two weeks ago Gregor Townsend declared that it was the best thing that could have happened to his team but the Glasgow coach couldn’t conjure up anything very positive about yesterday’s defeat, which was overshadowed by an ugly injury to stand-off Finn Russell, whose place on Scotland’s tour to Japan must be in doubt.
The Glasgow ten was stretchered off the field after clashing heads with prop Zander Fagerson in the opening exchanges and Glasgow missed his composure. “It was an unfortunate incident and obviously a really serious injury,” said a visibly deflated Townsend, pictured, after the final whistle. “Zander is OK but Finn is in hospital so we have concern for him. It was a freak accident but these things happen now and again.
“In terms of the game we have got to adapt to a change of circumstances and we didn’t do it well enough.
“We don’t know [about Russell]. It was a bad head injury. He had to be taken off, he had to have oxygen. I think he got hit in the face too so we’re just waiting to see but he’s at hospital.”
That early set-back seemed to knock the stuffing out of Glasgow, who were a poor second for much of this match and wholly unable to make any dent in the infamous “stat”: no away team has yet won a Pro12 semi-final. But how much was it Connacht being unbeatable and how much was Townsend disappointed with his own team’s performance? “I think they played some really positive attacking rugby and, in dry conditions, it was going to be one of those games with a lot of open play,” said the Glagsow boss.
“Both teams are very competitive around the breakdown so it was a full on game. But we didn’t have enough ball in the first half and when we did get it we didn’t hold on to it for long enough.
“There was a period in the second half when we did that and we looked like we might create opportunities but it is easier to defend a lead.”
It was a sad way for several players, including stand-off Duncan Weir and Fijian forward Leone Nakarawa, to end their illustrious careers in Warriors’ colours.
“Obviously it’s tough to win an away semi-final but the playing group we have and the work we put in, we believed we could win,” said Townsend. “But credit to Connacht, they deserved the win today.”