Nick Grigg reveals the factors behind Glasgow Warriors' early season form

Patience can be a difficult virtue to acquire at the best of times, and it must be especially tough for rugby players when they are playing at 100 miles an hour and throwing everything they have into attack for little or no reward.

Glasgow's Nick Grigg powers past Lion's Stean Pienaar at Scotstoun on Saturday. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Certainly, that was often the case for Glasgow in the recent past. They were so committed to an expansive game that, when it failed to pay dividends quickly, frustration would set in, leading to the loss of matches they should have won.

This Warriors side, however, is learning to be more versatile, and they showed that quality in their 13-9 win over the Lions at Scotstoun on Saturday. Yes, there was some impatience on display early on in the United Rugby Championship match as they too often attempted risky passes rather than taking the ball into the tackle and building again. But they overcame that defect, and as a result emerged with a victory that took them up to third place in the table before yesterday’s game between Scarlets and Munster.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Danny Wilson’s side have now won six out of their last seven competitive games, stretching back to last season’s Rainbow Cup, when they bounced back from a humiliating defeat by eventual winners Benetton to claim four victories in a row. The good morale engendered within the team then has simply been continued into this season, according to centre Nick Grigg, who also believes that the input from summer signings such as Sione Tuipulotu and Jack Dempsey has had a positive impact in that regard.

“I guess the end of last season we were on a bit of a roll,” he said. “We had a lot of energy going into games - we were winning games and it just kind of progressed from there. Coming into the new season we just rolled on from that high from last season. We’ve got a few new faces in and they’re contributing well. It’s going well at the moment.”

It went well right from the start against the Lions, as prop forward Jamie Bhatti scored a try in the second minute. But subsequent attacks failed to pay off, and there were times when the Warriors simply appeared to be trying too hard to force an opening.

“The main message that was coming on in the first half was we’re cutting them apart but we need to watch those 50-50 passes when we get close to the line,” Grigg continued. “We don’t have to score in the first couple of phases. We can take an extra few more to actually cut them open.”

The message was heeded, although as it turned out, Bhatti’s early touchdown was the only one of the game. The Lions’ EW Viljoen kept his team in touch with three penalties, while Warriors stand-off Ross Thompson chipped in with eight points from a conversion and two penalties.

Thompson’s contribution was important, of course, but equally so were some big hits in defence - an aspect of the Warriors’ afternoon that Grigg saw as a significant improvement on their previous outing against the Sharks, even though that victory yielded a bigger points tally.

“Physicality was our big thing against the Lions,” the centre added. “The previous week against the Sharks we made all our tackles but we weren’t physical enough. Against the Lions there were a few more hits out there.”

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.