Glasgow have proven they thrive in adversity, says Kenny Murray

Pressure is on for trip to Treviso after last week's Murrayfield defeat

Ryan Wilson in action for Glasgow against Benetton back in January. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson.

HAVING lost five out of their first nine league games, Glasgow have left themselves little or no room for manoeuvre in the PRO14. As head coach Dave Rennie said after Saturday’s defeat by Edinburgh, they have “boxed themselves into a bit of a corner” and cannot afford many more slip-ups if they are going to reach the play-offs.

Time, then, to make a virtue out of necessity. They will have to be at the top of their game in almost every match from here on in – and that, according to assistant coach Kenny Murray, is a useful contrast compared to particular stages in the past two seasons, when the avoidance of  complacency was the issue after a far better start to the campaign.

“The last two years we’ve probably been too comfortable going into games, it was such a difference in points advantage, whereas now we need the points,” Murray said. “Last year was a good example [of performing under pressure]: we needed to win every game in our last 12 games to stay ahead of Munster in our conference. We did that – it was real pressure rugby. 

“Now we’re in the same boat: we have to win games. The boys react well to that. Got to keep winning. We have that desperation for points now.”

This Saturday sees Glasgow travel to Treviso for a cross-conference game against Benetton, who have the same record as the Warriors and are just as desperate for points. “It will be a tough game,” Murray continued. “They’ve been a good side over the last few seasons and this year, at home in particular, they’re formidable.

“We’re going to have to be at our best to beat them. There are not many teams now that go there expecting to win: you go there knowing you have to play well to get a result. We’ve done it in the past, so we have to have the confidence we can do that.”

And Murray is sure his players will have that confidence despite the reverses they have suffered this season. “The good thing about rugby is that you only have a few days to mull over a defeat and then you’re straight back into preparing for the opposition in the next game. We’ll be disappointed with last weekend: we came in in a good position from the week before, but our inability to keep hold of the ball meant we put ourselves under pressure. It hurt us in the second half in particular.”

The Scotland protocol means that some players may be rested for the game against Benetton, although with two tough European matches coming up, a weekend off would have been called for in some cases anyway. Adam Hastings, for example, could be due a break, and even if Glasgow wanted to select the stand-off for the trip to Italy he would need the all-clear after receiving a head knock against Edinburgh. The team will be announced on Friday.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1259 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.