Pro12 final: Gordon Reid to ‘stay calm’ this time

GLASGOW loosehead prop Gordon Reid was told to take everything in when he played in last year’s Guinness Pro12 but, on reflection, feels he maybe took that advice too far.

Gordon Reid learned from last seasons Pro12 final when, he says, he was burned out. Picture: SNS/SRU

The 28-year-old believes a slightly calmer approach to this Saturday’s showdown with Munster in Belfast could pay dividends after he felt things got a bit too highly-charged ahead of last year’s 34-12 defeat by Leinster in Dublin.

“We learned a lot from last year,” he said. “On the day I think some players including myself were burned out. You take it all in and I got up at seven o’clock in the morning. I was told not to let the day pass me by and to take it all in. But I think, when it came to the game, I was just a bit burned out as they say.

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“This time we have to relax, and, as [coach] Gregor [Townsend] says take it easy and take the atmosphere in but don’t play the game before it has even started.

Duncan Weir and Gordon Reid celebrate last weeks semifinal win. Picture: SNS

“What I have learned from all the big games with Glasgow and Scotland, that sort of thing, is that you do exactly as you always do.

“Some boys eat the same things as the day progresses. It’s all about getting yourself in the right mindset for the game.”

Reid has made a dozen Pro12 appearances this season – seven off the bench – and came on during the second half of Friday’s dramatic semi-final win over Ulster. He is desperate to be involved at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening and, hopefully, be part of Scottish rugby history.

The Ayrshireman is one of the “Glasgow region” men in the squad, but he feels the significance of a victory would be felt beyond the Warrior nation.

He said: “We would be the first team in Scotland to win a major trophy. That would do wonders for rugby in the whole of Scotland, not just Glasgow. When people see a winning team they want to jump on the bandwagon, they want to be associated with it.

“You see how good Glasgow have been over the past couple of years, and how the crowds have grown. When you see a team like Glasgow winning something, that inspires young boys coming through.”

Reid has been with the Warriors since the 2011-12 season and recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2017.

The seven-times-capped prop said Glasgow are prepared for the menacing Munster maul but added: “There are a couple of other places where they will hit us too. They have a couple of key moves out in the backs which we are looking at. Hopefully, we can overcome them and shut them down fast.

“Munster have changed the team, changed the set-up. They are growing in confidence and will be even more so after beating Ospreys at the weekend. We were beaten by Ospreys a couple of weeks ago so they are on a high too.

“It is two great teams in the final, but hopefully the Glasgow boys can come out on top.”

Reid accepts that Glasgow weren’t at their best in the semi-final but isn’t too concerned.

“You have good weeks and bad weeks,” he said. “I didn’t think we played that well last week, but we came away with the victory. If we can play a bit better than we did last week then, hopefully, we can come away with a win.

“I think we are a threatening team with the ball in hand. We have a reliable defence so, hopefully, we can come away and score some points in attack.”

Reid scored the only try in last year’s 16-15 semi-final win over the Munstermen but that feels like “a long time ago” and the player doesn’t think that match will have any bearing on Saturday’s.

The fact that the final won’t be against Leinster, who have beaten them in a semi-final and final the past two seasosn, is not something he deems a factor either.

“To be honest, I wasn’t bothered at all who was in the final,” said Reid. “It doesn’t matter what team you play at this stage – they are all good teams and just have different things going for them. I wasn’t that bothered, not fussed at all. It is always going to be a good team you are playing against in a final and you just have to go out there and give 100 per cent.

“We expect more than last year. Last year we learned quite a lot. We want to thrive to be the best in Europe and this is one of the steps to be that.”