Why Glasgow Warriors are 'relatively happy' with start but wary of man who can 'rip you apart'
Three games into the new United Rugby Championship season and Glasgow Warriors find themselves sitting relatively pretty in fourth place.
A trio of Irish sides is above them, with Munster, Ulster and Leinster having won all their games thus far.
Danny Wilson’s side lost their opener to Ulster but picked up two bonus points in Belfast and followed it up with back-to-back victories over the Sharks and the Lions. The Warriors are on 11 points, four behind top dogs Munster and two ahead of fifth-placed Edinburgh.
“We’re relatively happy with where we’re at,” said Pete Murchie, the Glasgow assistant coach. “Two home wins against South African teams and we felt with the Ulster game that we left that one out there, but with lots of positives in the performance. Look, it’s early days still but it’s always good to start stringing the wins together.”
They head to Parma this weekend to take on Zebre, their first match in the Scottish-Italian pool, the mini-league within the league which comprises Glasgow, Edinburgh, Benetton and Saturday’s opponents.
Wilson went on record at the start of the season to say that the Warriors’ target this season was to win the pool and qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup.
Each team in the Scottish-Italian group plays each other twice and the other teams in the URC only once for a total of 18 matches in the regular season. The top eight in the final overall standings qualify for play-offs which will be played as a straight knockout.
“I do think with the way the competition is set up it does put more emphasis on the importance of these games against teams in your pool,” said Murchie. “At the same time there is a wider competition as well and we want to be competing up at the top end.
“Away in Italy is always tricky. They maybe haven’t had the start they wanted but we’re going to have to play well and if we win it obviously puts us in a good position in our pool and in the big table.”
Zebre are propping up the table having lost their three opening games to the Lions, Ulster and Leinster, conceding 117 points in the process. The latest defeat came in Dublin on Saturday when Leinster ran out 43-7 winners.
Zebre were missing a few and Murchie expects to face a more experienced side this weekend. Glasgow will also make changes, but not too many.
“You are always trying to get that balance between giving guys opportunities where they are earned and trying to get wins,” said Murchie.
“We’ll have a look at selection this weekend, but if you go away to Zebre and make too many changes because you think it is in the bag, then history tells us you are likely to come unstuck.
“I know they haven’t had a great start, but they are a dangerous team. They’ve got guys like [Carlo] Canna playing at 10 who, if you aren’t on your game, has the ability to rip you apart.”
Glasgow, meanwhile, are encouraging their supporters to dress in purple for their next home match, against Leinster on Friday October 22, to raise money and awareness for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
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