With the remainder of the World Cup Warriors due to return and bring the squad back to full strength, the first phase of the season is coming to an end. But what has the early part of the campaign taught us?
Points have been gained…and dropped
Anyone who saw the first half against Scarlets would have wondered if Glasgow were actually capable of collecting any points at all during the RWC. Fortunately that wasn’t a true impression of what the squad can do, but instead of sitting on 12 points it could have been 22. First up 3 points went begging at the death against Scarlets. A BP missed v Connacht. And both the Munster and Leinster away matches could (should?) have produced away wins and an additional 6 points between them.
Discipline has been atrocious
Not content with keeping teams in games with penalties (case in point – the first 20 minutes against Leinster when they were the only thing stopping complete Warriors dominance) the side have been racking up cards at an incredible rate. 8 yellows in 5 games – at least 1 in every fixture; 52 minutes short-handed; 42 points conceded. Last season Glagow only collected 15 cards in 30 matches so we could be looking at some record breaking indiscipline here.
Composure has been lacking
As mentioned above points have been slipped through Glasgow’s fingers and a bit of poise at crucial times could have made the difference. Attacking on the last play against a Scarlets side down to 12 men – a more experienced side would have found the space. Versus Connacht with 3 tries on the board, cool heads would have controlled the territory and pinned the Westies down until the opportunity for the bonus point try to kill the game presented itself. The trip to Thomond Park just needed the final kick off to be gathered. At Leinster, even with the first batch of RWC players back in the fold, the penalty and error counts showed a lack of control and clear thinking when the pressure came on.
Toonie Tombola doesn’t always work
Even after more than 3 years, Gregor Townsend still retains the capacity to surprise with his team announcements but usually the coach knows best. There have been a few picks this season though that, with hindsight (always 20/20 of course!), haven’t worked out so well. In the season opener Rory Clegg should have started at 10 – he had after all started both the pre-season fixtures – and not having a winger / pacy finisher (ie Junior) on the bench proved costly with the way the game ended. D’Arcy Rae starting and Zander Fagerson benching against Munster was round the wrong way. That man Clegg again – in the Leinster game Rory should have started and Duncan Weir should have taken his first steps back into the Pro 12 from the bench – none of the Scotland returnees looked anything other than rusty.
We’re still in contention
Those left behind during the RWC have actually collected points at a better rate than their counterparts in the 2011/12 season when the squad was only missing 9 players to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – a campaign when the Warriors still managed to make the post season. For more analysis of why the Warriors can be reasonably content with their start to the campaign check out Points, playoffs and the good life: how much is enough?
So what else have we learned about the Warriors in the first 50 days of the season? Feel free to add your thoughts below! And check out this RWC squad analysis for a look at the players who have carried the Warriors through the early part of the campaign.