DAVE RENNIE said his Glasgow Warriors team got what they deserved when shipping over 50 points to Saracens at Allianz Park earlier today to bring their European dream for this season to shuddering halt. The English champions recovered from conceding an early score to rack up seven tries of their own whilst demonstrating the full force of their European pedigree.
“It was hugely disappointing,” said Rennie. “We got a hiding from a team that choked us. Their kick-chase game was good, they kicked down our end and they forced a lot of errors.
“From an attack point of view, when we held onto the ball for three or four phases we had them under a fair bit of pressure, but we just didn’t do that enough. In the first half, we were just really loose in regard to our kicking game. What they want to do is go from set-piece to set-piece and control the pace of the game, and we allowed them to do that. You can’t put in a performance like that against a side like Saracens and hope to get a result.
“We didn’t deal with the high ball, it’s an area where we have been really strong but we didn’t deal with it well enough so they spent a lot of time down our end of the field.
“They are a good side and we were under par and they pumped us. That’s what happens at this level. You are a couple of cogs off and you can get embarrassed.”
Full-back Stuart Hogg was a handful as usual with the ball in hand but was perhaps most culpable when it came to the loose kicking Rennie referred to.
“He’s disappointed with his kicking game,” confirmed the coach. “He kicked three out on the full and he missed touch a couple of times from penalties. All those little things they push you back. We’ll forgive him, and I imagine he’ll he benefit from the 80 minutes under his belt.”
Further bad news for Warriors was the serious looking ankle injury sustained by Tim Swinson during the second half, with the second-row being rushed to hospital and no medical update being available last night.
Saracens achieved this comprehensive victory despite England captain Owen Farrell dropping out of the team not long before kick-off due to his wife being in labour.
“At half eight this morning he was pretty confident it would all happen, but it didn’t,” explained Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall. “We had a cut-off point. He did phone me at half past two to say: ‘In the next half hour …’ I said: ‘Owen, the game starts at quarter past three!’ I actually don’t know if they’ve had the baby yet.
“I just thought there were periods in the game when we looked really powerful, really dominant. We were better with the ball today. We can definitely improve defensively but overall it was a brilliant team performance against a good side.”
The mild-mannered Northern Irishman did bite back when it was put to him that Rennie had called Saracens a set-piece to set-piece team.
“I don’t really care,” he retorted. “He’s had a bit to say about us this week and we haven’t said anything about them, and nor will we. To beat someone with 57 points in a European quarter-final says you are not a bad team. You take away the first minute and the last minute, then we did okay.”