Glasgow travelled to the south of France to face Montpellier, eager to grab some points from a fixture that saw an understrength team defend their impressive stadium. And in the end that is pretty much what happened, though maybe not as either team would desire.
Glasgow Warriors 20 – 15 Montpellier Herault
In this country we like to cling onto good feelings. That’s why we have a whole month of Christmas. Unfortunately for visitors Montpellier they did not find hosts Glasgow in a festive mood as they went down in their third round Heineken Cup match at Firhill despite outscoring the Warriors by two tries to one. Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson kicked a couple of long-range crackers to edge the contest and put them into second in the group.
Newport Gwent Dragons 14 – 14 Glasgow Warriors
If you are rugby inclined and were down in Wales at the weekend you would be forgiven for thinking that the only rugby being played was the Shane Williams testimonial test against Australia at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. For Glasgow Warriors, though, they are more than aware that they have lost a weekend in drawing a game.
Glasgow today announced their team to face bogey team the Dragons on Sunday but such exciting news as Johnnie Beattie or Ruaridh Jackson’s return to play following injury and Rob Dewey being made the captain has been over-shadowed by the news that they have secured the services of free-agent and pioneer of the Rory Lamont Helicopter move, none other than Rory Lamont himself.
Glasgow 17 – 9 Ulster
Confidence is a complex entity to understand. It can convince others of your worth and it can take you to places few thought you could go. Glasgow Warriors are dripping with confidence and on a sodden night at Firhill they beat Ulster with little more than a handful of passes and a try.
Sunday, Muggy Sunday. Scotland was catching its breath. An unfancied Edinburgh side had nipped into London and nicked a result over Irish, the day before, winning it after trading blows for 80 minutes. Few would have expected an unprecedented double over English sides, even if something similar happened in Italy the week before.
When the first European weekend comes around it normally serves as the perfect time to kick back and forget it all. Those lovely, fluffy ERC guys even delayed the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup by a few weeks so that World Cup heroes were well rested and ready to reaffirm themselves as fan favourites. We should all be able to throw our cares away, partake in the oncoming feast of Northern Hemisphere rugby and thank our sporting stars for giving us the joys of Union…
On Friday night at Murrayfield the capital side swapped the lead with Leinster seven times. In a free and easy game where tackling was not at a premium it was the hand-over that was evident. You attack; then we’ll attack. You get a head start; then we will cover, and recover. They lost by 8 points, 28-36.
This morning I was fixed with a smile and told “I’m a pretty positive sort of guy.”
Over a plate of biscuits Sean Lineen assured me of Glasgow’s focus and of his renewed passion for the game on the west coast. Last season the Warriors finished in a lowly 11th place and there was talk of the head coach being courted by Aviva Premiership outfit Bath. This time round, though, the former Scotland centre is looking to rebuild and get the best out of a young team.
Some press releases can be taken out of a clichéd handbook. “This preseason is the best we’ve ever had/we’re the fittest we’ve ever been/the new signings have created a real buzz around the place!”
Starting his 5th season as Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Sean Lineen has heard and said these several times. Now, though, he must know that he has this season, and this season alone, to try and turn things around after last term’s near disastrous plummet to the foot of the Magners League.