Pete Murchie bullish on Glasgow’s title chances as Scotland trio get set to return

There's a positive update on Tom Jordan too

Pete Murchie remains bullish about Glasgow's title prospects Image: © Craig Watson -
Pete Murchie remains bullish about Glasgow's title prospects Image: © Craig Watson -

IT wasn’t quite Brendan Rodgers vowing that Celtic would “write their own story” during their mid-season wobble but there was an undoubted note of defiance in Pete Murchie’s voice as he addressed the narrative now facing Glasgow Warriors.

From a commanding position at the top of the United Rugby Championship table and researching venue options for a potential home playoff final, two successive defeats in South Africa – in particular a chastening 44-21 loss to 14-man Lions – have quickly tempered expectation.

Glasgow now find themselves in fourth place heading into the final weekend of the regular season and no longer in charge of their own destiny. They will be expected to take the full five points on offer against a beleaguered Zebre side at Scotstoun on Friday night but would still need other results to go in their favour if they are to claim a top-two finish.

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Should they win their home quarter-final next Saturday evening, Franco Smith’s side would then need to go on the road for a last four tie away to, probably, one of Leinster, Munster or the Bulls. That undoubtedly makes things a lot tougher but, asked if he felt Warriors could still win the title from this position, defence coach Murchie sounded a bullish tone.

“Yes, 100 per cent,” he said. “I think maybe from the outside people have written the script about how they expect things to pan out. But ultimately we get to determine how our season pans out.

“Whether we’re home, whether we’re away, we still get the opportunity to go and show what we can do and get a result. But regardless of where we have to go, whether it’s home or away, the objectives aren’t going to change.

“We got what we got against the Lions. We got handed a lesson and we have to take it. You can put whatever spin on it you want but we learned some lessons and we got punished in terms of what we didn’t do.

“In terms of going into the knockout games and going into Friday night, we have to use that to our advantage and it may not be the worst thing for us.

“I can tell you the group was hurting after the game big time. We have to use the learnings we’ve taken from that game and put them into action, firstly this Friday.”

After that it will be a Saturday spent watching how the other teams fare as Warriors wait to learn both their quarter-final opponent and then their potential path beyond that.

Murchie added: “We obviously need to take as many points as we can from our game. There are so many different permutations and we’re not going to know until Saturday night [who they will face].

“I know it’s a bit of a cliche but the only thing we can do is take care of our own game and then see what happens with the rest of them. We’ve got to focus on our own performance. There are lots of things that we want to get better at and put in a performance in front of our fans that can springboard us into the quarter-finals, whoever we play.”

Glasgow have had a horrendous time with injuries this season but the good news is that some of their key players are set to belatedly emerge from the treatment room for the run-in.

“It’s certainly looking better,” confirmed Murchie. “Richie Gray’s been training for a couple of weeks now. He’s been working away while we’ve been in South Africa, especially with the A group who played against the [Ayrshire] Bulls on Friday night and got a good result.

“He’s been training away with them. The same with George Turner. They’re certainly closer, especially Richie, to being involved. Huw Jones as well, he’s in the same boat, he’s been training with the A team guys and they’re all looking sharp.

“They’ve got a chance [of playing versus Zebre]. It’s massive to have players coming back into the group, even just for training standards. If you’ve got 30 guys on the pitch at the same time going at each other, it means you have to be on it, so it’s a big boost having them back in. They’re obviously experienced guys.”

There are no lasting concerns over Tom Jordan either despite the fly-half failing his HIA assessment after being on the wrong end of a Ruan Venter high tackle.

“He’s good, he’s come through all his protocols,” added Murchie. “Obviously he took a huge blow. He’s been fine, he’s not had any symptoms and he’s come through all his protocols. He’s been training from last week so no issues there.”

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About Graeme Macpherson 43 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.


  1. Always works a treat when folk in Scottish rugby pontificate about what’s about to be achieved and then inconveniently fail miserably. It’s like Death and Taxes. No wonder the other nations see us as a complete joke. Why dont we keep our mouths shut and focus on the achievement side of things.

  2. I can see the point of being bullish if the wheels hadn’t come off the bogie against the Lions and we had potential home advantage all the way to the final. I know the importance of a positive mindset however why do we have a never ending succession of similar statements from Scottish Rugby in general that are never based on the evidence of what we have actually achieved on the park? In reality, unfortunately, all the teams left in the tournament now can see that when the pressure is on we are physically and mentally as tough as a brown paper bag left out in the rain.

    • Perhaps we should get you in for the pre-match team talk. Of course he’s got to talk positively its the only way to go. It was all looking good before the Lions game and we have to hope that was a bit of one-off aberration. As things stand we will play Stormers at home and that will be the chance to re-establish our credibility before a tough away semi.

      • Warriors need a win over a top team to consolidate their confidence and help them belive they are a genuine threat to Munster, Leinster and Bulls. Let’s focus on beating Zebre with 5 points and then go for Stormers.

  3. Glasgow have done really well getting to where they are with injuries etc but for me they have become a bit predictable in attack. With respect I’d have loved to have seen Franco bring in his own staff as Caloran and Murchie were part of Wilson’s team that were also very predictable in their play. Look at the attacking flair of the SA sides, Glasgow in their prime were known for their ambitious style and I just don’t think Franco’s assistants have that flair in their game as teams have simply worked out that Glasgow have no plan B.

    • Murchie is defence coach and Glasgow have the strongest defence in the URC. Carolan’s attack has been hampered by the loss of players such as Jones, Smith and Canciliere for much of the season.

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