FRANCO SMITH has refused to criticise referee Pierre Brousset’s decision to disallow Euan Ferrie’s late try which would have secured a statement win for Glasgow Warriors in their Champions Cup pool clash against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park this afternoon .
With the clock in the red, the 22-year-old Warriors flanker latched onto a scuffed clearance from home No 8 Ross Vintcent and barged over the line. If the score had stood, the visitors would have gone 22-19 ahead with the conversion to come. But amid howls of protest from the home side, Brousset belatedly opted to refer the incident to the Television Match Official, who concluded that Ferrie had let go of his bind at the preceding scrum and was therefore offside when he gathered the ball.
“I’m not going to criticise the decision,” said Smith. “We shouldn’t have been in that position, but the fact we didn’t give up … I’m going to take the positives from that.
“It’s always difficult there – has the No 8 detached before he picked the ball up to kick? Was the scrum over when the ball was visible? There are a lot of difficult things, but we have got to accept the decision and it shouldn’t have come down to that.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the final result, but I thought there were a lot of good things that we can take away from the game,” he added. “The guys showed some real good effort, and that’s what we asked from them. It’s difficult to come and play a very good team here.
“The disappointment sits in the result but we had some other gains and other objectives achieved which we are proud of.”
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“I definitely felt there were a lot of opportunities for us to take the game away from them in the early part of the game. The ball bounced over our head, George Horne uncharacteristically dropped the ball and there were other line breaks we just didn’t finish.
“But hats off to what they did. It wasn’t what we didn’t do, but what they did do in the second half. They’re a proud team playing at home, they kept on knocking on the door and eventually we gave in with a try on the edge and a good kick to convert it.
“Close, but no cigar as they say.”
Smith also drew comfort from the performance of a handful of young and inexperienced players.
“We brought in Alex Samuel and Gregor Hiddleston. All the young guys who were involved, we didn’t want to just explain to them what it takes to win at this level or at Test match level going forward. They have to experience it so that when they’re back training or back in the conditioning room, they know what’s needed and how it feels,” he said.
Warriors play their final Champions Cup pool match at home against Toulon next Friday night, and could finish anywhere between third or last in the table. They need to be in the top four to progress to the last 16 of the Champions Cup, while a fifth place finish will see them drop into the second-tier Challenge Cup, and sixth would mean their European involvement is over for the season.
“Hopefully we won’t be last! We’re going to give it everything. Toulon beat us last year, which for us was a really disappointing game. We’re looking forward to going back at them this week,” said Smith.
Jack Dempsey is in the frame to return from a fractured bone above his eye for next week’s match, and Smith indicated that a few other recent absentees could also be involved.
“There are a couple of things we have to look at,” he said. “Kyle Steyn is showing his face again, Facundo Cordero is looking good. It’s a short turnaround but I have a little bit of cards up my sleeve.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said: “The end was a little bit farcical. It was always going to get disallowed if it was looked at by the TMO, because there were three or four offences there, I would say.
“The big decision wasn’t turning the try over, it was going to the TMO. Once that happened it was pretty straightforward. It didn’t take a long process to work through that there was something going on there.”