Franco Smith expects Glasgow Warriors to bounce back quickly from last season's disappointment

·4-min read
Franco Smith expects Glasgow Warriors to bounce back quickly from last season's disappointment
Franco Smith expects Glasgow Warriors to bounce back quickly from last season's disappointment

NEW Glasgow coach Franco Smith is confident that the Warriors can quickly get over the disappointments of last season and start to be serious contenders in the United Rugby Championship again. Speaking at Scotstoun yesterday at his first press conference since his appointment was announced earlier this week, Smith said the team not only wanted to return swiftly to winning ways, but also to become “the heroes that Glasgow needs”.

A below-par 2021/22 campaign for the Warriors ended in June with the humiliating 76-14 URC quarter-final defeat by Leinster, a result which cost Smith’s predecessor Danny Wilson his job. However, former Springboks international Smith is convinced that the Dublin result and other low points of the past year or so are not true reflections of the talent in the squad. And, while a modest improvement should be easy enough to achieve, he insisted he would not be content with such half measures.

“We want to win everything,” the 50-year-old said when asked what would represent success for his new side. “Shall we not start there? I don’t come here to participate.

“We don’t just want to be successful only. We want to be significant as well. We want to be the heroes that Glasgow needs – we want to win as much as we can.”

Smith still has a few weeks to serve in his old job as Italian Rugby’s head of high performance, but has already seen enough of his new players to be convinced they can put last season behind them. “They’re very motivated after the disappointment of the last game of last season,” he continued. “They’re a fine bunch of guys, hard-working, and I can see their effort. I think the most important thing is to see what we can do, not look at what we’ve already done.

“It’s about the next job, that’s the most important thing. If we’re going to keep on carrying the weight of that disappointment we’re not going to get better. We’re getting rid of the past and we are keeping our eyes on what’s coming and what we can do to influence the outcome. I’m very comfortable with the team and the group [of new players] that’s been signed,” he continued. “It’s time to give them the confidence to allow them to express themselves with our support as a coaching group. For now we’re just going to climb behind these guys and allow them to rectify where they feel they’ve let the group down or let the [Warrior] Nation down.

“They’re very motivated after the disappointment of the last game of last season. They’re a fine bunch of guys, hard-working, and I can see their effort. I think the most important thing is to see what we can do, not look at what we’ve already done.

“It’s about the next job, that’s the most important thing. If we’re going to keep on carrying the weight of that disappointment we’re not going to get better. We’re getting rid of the past and we are keeping our eyes on what’s coming and what we can do to influence the outcome.

“As part of the game model, discipline is an important thing,” he continued when asked about one of the most glaring failings of the team last season. “But discipline is something you live every day. It’s not something you coach or teach. Hopefully the way we go about business will keep us behind the offside line and let us into the mauls at the right angles and at the right height at the right side.

“Discipline for most teams is a problem. Sometimes it goes out the door as they try too hard. Errors are made, not because there’s any malice but because you’re trying too hard to rectify problems. We have to keep our cool about that and try to be as calm as possible.”

Smith also hinted that he could appoint a new player as captain to succeed Scotland internationals Ryan Wilson and Fraser Brown, who have shared the honour in recent seasons. “We as a coaching group have discussed it - but for now we’re going to keep our cards close to our chests. That could be a little bit of a surprise going forward.”