'We didn't kick enough', says Rennie after Glasgow win
Dave Rennie admits his Glasgow Warriors players should have been more alive to the dreadful Galway weather in their 18-12 win over Connacht.
High winds and driving rain contributed to an error-strewn match in the Pro14’s opening round of fixtures.
Glasgow appeared eager to keep ball in hand, but knock-ons and spilled passes stunted their attacking endeavour.
“We wanted to be positive but we didn’t kick enough, especially second half,” head coach Rennie told BBC Scotland.
“We had some opportunities to sneak some ball in behind them and we tried to play in conditions that made it difficult.
“We probably needed to get better balance in our attack, but in the end we scored a couple of important tries, and one of them off a kick, so maybe a few more kicks would have been better options for us.”
‘We can be better and smarter’
In Rennie’s first competitive match at the helm, Glasgow outscored Connacht by two tries to nil, with both second-half touchdowns the result of precise and dynamic attacking play.
Substitute and debutant Adam Hastings combined brilliantly with Peter Horne to put Ali Price in for the first.
The scrum-half then turned provider in the final 10 minutes, with his cross-kick taken by Leonardo Sarto, who sent fellow wing Lee Jones plunging over at the corner.
“I thought our defensive line-out, our scrum and then our defensive line speed put them under a lot of pressure and ultimately we got rewarded by that,” Rennie said.
“The players will have learned a lot from playing in those conditions. If we have to play in them again we’ll be better for it.
“It confirmed what I knew – there’s a lot of character in this group. We’ve got a lot of players to come back over the coming weeks, so that’s exciting.
“A big chunk of these boys we’ll need during the autumn and Six Nations breaks. I think technically we can get a lot better and tactically we can be a lot smarter, but attitude and everything, it’s a crucial place to start from.”
Warriors back-row Adam Ashe made more carries (19) and tackles (22) than any other player. Hip surgery restricted the Scotland cap’s game time last season, but Rennie is confident a very bright future lies ahead.
“He captained our side in the two pre-season matches; I think he’s got a massive amount of potential,” the New Zealander said.
“He’s a really good athlete. He was prepared to carry the ball and created a lot of go-forward for us tonight, then got through a hell of a lot defensively.”
The midweek signing of Niko Matawalu took Rennie’s tally of summer recruits to 12, and the 53-year-old does not expect to make any further additions to his squad.
Of the new faces, only Scotland centre Huw Jones and Tonga prop Siua Halanukonuka are not yet in Glasgow, with both fulfilling commitments to their clubs in South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
“We’re pretty much done,” Rennie said. “We’ve got some guys to come back – Huw Jones when he finishes in South Africa will probably play for Scotland [in the autumn internationals] so we probably wont see him until December.
“Siua Halanukonuka is still to come in, but aside from that everyone is in the country. [Back-row] Callum Gibbins has had a couple of weeks to train, but we decided to leave him out tonight and back young Matt Smith who has been training for the last 10 weeks.”
Hastings, a summer arrival from Bath, was stretchered off early in the second half with a gash on his right thigh, and taken to Galway University Hospital for treatment.
He has since been discharged and the medical team at Scotstoun will assess him before deciding when he can return to playing.
The pivot had replaced Sam Johnson, who suffered an early head knock. The club announced on Sunday that Johnson is “progressing well” and the medical staff will determine when he will begin the return to play protocols.
Meanwhile, Rennie confirmed Scotland fly-half Finn Russell will be available for Saturday’s meeting with Ospreys at Scotstoun.
Wing Tommy Seymour was granted an extended break after touring New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions this summer, and should be ready to feature in the third or fourth round of league matches.