ONE foot in the Champions Cup quarter-finals, the other hovering over the abyss. Glasgow’s fortunes could go either way this weekend, and events are far from being entirely in their own hands. Even if they beat Sale Sharks on Saturday with a bonus point, the Warriors will almost certainly have to await the results of Sunday’s final pool games before learning whether they have made it to the last eight or have been eliminated from the competition.
No surprise, then, that the attitude of the team will be a simple one: let others ponder the permutations; we’ll simply concentrate on the part of proceedings that we can influence. “We’re going down there to get five points and then other results will look after themselves,” is how Glenn Bryce put it. “We’ve just got to get the win and get that bonus point, and then the rest will be a case of what will be, will be.”
It is theoretically possible for Glasgow to go through without a bonus point, but that would leave them as Pool Two runners-up with just 16 points. Better by far to get that bonus, end up on 17 points, then rest assured that they have done everything in their power to qualify for the knockout stages.
Bryce and his team-mates threw everything into their match with Exeter last Saturday, and while they only got a draw in the end, they did score the four tries which meant a three-point tally from the game. And crucially, they got things off on the right foot with a real signal of intent: a try in the opening minute from Tommy Seymour.
“Sale are a great outfit – I’m not too sure what side they’re going to put out, but whatever side they put out, we’re going to go there and try and get that win,” Bryce added. “We’re going in guns blazing like at the start of that [Exeter] game.”
Seymour, who earlier this season had looked like becoming the regular starter at full-back, was back on the right wing against the Chiefs in order to accommodate Bryce as the last line of defence. It was a big vote of confidence by head coach Dave Rennie in the former Scotland Sevens player, one which Bryce feels he repaid with a solid display against one of the favourites to win the competition. “With the opportunity he gave me, I felt I had to take the opportunity to show what I could do in that 15 jersey. Obviously Hoggy [Stuart Hogg] on the other side is the Scotland No 15, so I wanted to push him for that as well. I felt I did OK.
“It was a big game for myself. I went in with the mindset of just doing my job well and if I got my hands on the ball early just showcase what I could do. I felt that as the game opened up I was able to show what I could do. The result was a bit of a bitter one to swallow and Hoggy at the end had the big long-range kick – I thought he was going to get it if I’m being honest, but it hit the crossbar and the game ended up as a draw.
“I felt we had a lot of chances to win that game. The boys played bloody well considering conditions were a bit wet at the start. They’re a great outfit and we took them all the way to the end – I thought we were going to go on and maybe grab the win. [There is] a lot of confidence going into this week.”