ADAM Hastings has accepted that Saturday’s heavy defeat by Saracens was an embarrassment for Glasgow, but he is confident it will not have any lasting ill effects on what remains of their season. And in case any of his team-mates are still feeling the hangover from the Champions Cup quarter-final, he has a suggestion for a surefire cure: don’t lose again this season.
With just a three-point lead over Munster at the top of PRO14 Conference A, Glasgow probably cannot afford to lose again in their three regular-season games if they are going to retain that position and avoid a visit to Leinster in the semi-final. Those three games begin with the visit of Ulster on Friday night, and, while Hastings insisted the 56-27 loss at Allianz Park had not done lasting damage to the squad’s morale, he accepted it had left the players with a feeling they did not want to repeat game.
“We’ve lost games this season – we’ve had some losses where we definitely should have won – so I don’t think it knocks you off your stride,” the stand-off said of the defeat by Saracens. “Iif anything, it just hammers home that losing feeling after a game. We were knocked out of a competition and you don’t want to feel that again, so ultimately we don’t want to lose again for the rest of the season. We want to win that trophy.
“Take a lesson from [the loss], but we’ve got to put it behind us now. We’ve got three massive games coming up to finish off our regular season, so we’ll look forward to that now.
“Ulster is a huge game, back at home. If we’re being realistic about this competition we want to finish top of our conference, we need to win our last three games in the regular season, so this game’s huge. Five points on Friday would be massive.”
Although the desire to put a heavy defeat behind you is understandable, that does not mean ignoring the lessons of it, and Hastings reckoned the biggest lesson was the need, when competing at the highest level, to be far more precise in the execution of everyday skills.
“We need to hold on to the ball, especially against teams like that,” he continued. “We’ve given them the ball too easily, especially in areas where they’re high up the pitch, and with a quality side like that they’re going to capitalise on that.
“So I think accuracy is the biggest one for us. Basically, just holding on to ball and not making basic errors – simple catch-and-pass errors, when we’re kicking balls out on the full, just handing easy possession back to them. Just things like that.
“From the weekend, every time we handed them easy ball in our half, they capitalised on it. I think they scored five tries, was it?, six tries, and that’s pretty much all from our mistakes. Just that.
“At half-time we felt like when we went inside to the sheds we’d managed to get a foothold back in the game – we kicked two penalties to get back to within I think it was nine points, then we nearly scored at the end of the [half] – we were right on their line and got bundled into touch. If we’d kicked another three there or even scored we were right back in that game.
“I think the most disappointing thing was the way we came out in the second half and they just were kind of all over us for 20 minutes. We just didn’t have any ball. We spoke about it as a back line. We barely touched it in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“So I think frustration’s one thing. Of course we’re embarrassed. At the end of the day we got absolutely hammered. They’re a quality side and they took their chances.”