Challenge Cup: Franco Smith urges Glasgow Warriors to silence Scarlets crowd in bid to reach final
Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith has challenged his players to conquer the Scarlets’ home support when they face off in their Challenge Cup semi-final on Saturday.
The Warriors are in a rich vein of form as they have lost only once in 17 matches in all competitions and will be slight favourites to advance to their first-ever European final, at the expense of their United Rugby Championship (URC) rivals.
Smith‘s troops finished in fourth position during the league phase of the URC, which was 10 places above the Scarlets and they beat the Welsh region 12-9 in a tough encounter at Scotstoun two weeks ago.
Wary of Scarlets
Despite that result, Smith is wary of his opponents especially the galvanising effect home ground advantage will have on the Dwayne Peel’s charges.
“The Scarlets will be favouring their chances to go all the way in front of their home supporters,” he told the Warriors website.
“We as a team know this, and therefore it presents an opportunity to take on this challenge that will ask the very best of us.
“We have prepared well this week for what we know will be a hard battle in front of a big Welsh crowd.”
One in one out for Edinburgh
Elsewhere in Scotland, Edinburgh have announced the departure of attack coach Gareth Baber and the signing of back-row forward Tom Dodd.
Baber’s exit at the end of his contract could potentially pave the way for Mike Blair to remain at the club when he steps down as head coach to pursue a career as a specialist attack coach.
Former Fiji Sevens coach Baber joined Edinburgh in December 2021 as skills and assistant attack coach and will return to Wales to be with his family.
He said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in Edinburgh and I’ve built connections with coaches, management and players that will last a lifetime. It’s a brilliant club and I’m certain this group will bounce back next season.
Right time to end time at club
“I have, however, spent the last 18 months away from my family who are living in Wales, so it felt like the right time to relocate home and bring an end to my time in Edinburgh. It’s been a truly brilliant experience and I can’t talk up the club enough.”
Former Scotland U20 international Dodd will sign on a two-year deal following a spell with English Championship side Coventry.
The 25-year-old scored four tries for Scotland U20s and helped them to a fifth-placed finish at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship.
The flanker – who qualifies for Scotland through his Glenrothes-born mother – made 31 appearances for Worcester before the club went into administration in September last year.
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