SCRUM Web Columnist ‘The Pen’ gives his latest thoughts on Glasgow Warriors:
I’m starting to feel like Bill Murray. Sonny and Cher keep waking me up in the morning, the weather is miserable and cold and you’re stuck in a rut watching the same scene time after time after time.
The only thing that’s missing is Punxsutawney Phil and with a one-year-old running around the last thing I need in my life is a pet!
Yes, I am of course talking about yet another heavy Warriors loss. I truly do not know what to say anymore in these columns. There’s only so much you can say about knock-ons, a lack of pace, lacking depth, players not being good enough, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
I desperately want to be proven wrong and I hope I am but I see virtually no way that Glasgow can now qualify for the PRO12 play-offs.
We’ve suffered defeats to three of those teams above us and still have another two to go in Leinster and Munster and Glasgow will now have to win every single game between now and the end of the season, picking up as many bonus points as they can if they are to give themselves the faintest sniff.
Leinster, Ospreys and Munster and in my opinion locked in to the play-offs and that means Scarlets, Ulster and Glasgow fighting for the last remaining spot.
Scarlets run-in includes home games against Edinburgh and Treviso plus the Dragons and all of those could potentially be five point wins. Ulster have Treviso, Zebre and Dragons plus a beatable Cardiff side.
Glasgow face Dragons, Zebre and Connacht plus that Edinburgh game on the last day. All have to face teams in the top three with Ulster’s final three games Munster and Ospreys away then Leinster at home.
Of course, it could all be over by that point and Warriors fans can only hope we can claim as many points as possible and our rivals have a nightmare of a run-in.
So Saturday’s game against Dragons is an absolutely must win and it has to include a four try bonus point. Anything less is simply not good enough (please don’t think I’m being disrespectful to NG Dragons, it’s just how I see it).
Does this team have it in them that’s the big question? Glasgow will hopefully have Bennett and Swinson released to play and gain some game time ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash and that should improve the squad but it’s looking threadbare.
For this weekend, I’d like to see a few changes to the side. Bring in Bennett and Vernon at centre, Thomson at 15, Kenatale at nine and give Tagive an opportunity to show what he can do.
The pack I’d leave largely alone. I thought Bhatti looked decent and Flynn actually showed signs of what the Warrior Nation all hoped he’d bring to Scotstoun.
Smith played well at seven and Wynne did well considering he’s not played much at eight for Glasgow, but I’d like to see Fusaro and Ashe, if fit, return as I think now is the time for big players to step up and make their performances count.
The shining light was once again Scott Cummings and if there is to be a positive taken from this difficult period then it’s his return and how quickly he’s found form after injury kept him out for so long.
The kid looks class and I can’t wait to see him play more and more often beside Jonny Gray. That is a partnership that could have real bite and may even challenge for a Scotland shirt in years to come at the expense of Richie…
One player who certainly won’t be involved is Rory Clegg having headed off to Ealing earlier this week. Sadly, he’s just not been able to cut it as Glasgow’s replacement 10, but he gave everything he could for the club and for that we must be grateful.
I’d also just like to say how fantastic the Scotland victory over Wales was on Saturday. That now means other than the All Blacks I’ve finally managed to see Scotland defeat all of the top tier nations.
That one eluded me for too long and it was such a sweet performance. I’d settle for another Scottish victory over a Welsh side this weekend…
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