Guinness PRO12: Glasgow Warriors not at 100 per cent, says Kellock
Retiring captain issues warning to top four rivals despite guiding his side to an impressive 36-17 win over Cardiff Blues
Al Kellock issued a warning to the rest of the Guinness PRO12 that Glasgow Warriors are not yet firing on all cylinders.
The Warriors captain, who is set to retire at the end of the season, delivered the verdict after helping the league leaders to a five-try 36-17 win over Cardiff Blues at a packed Scotstoun Stadium.
I like the fact that we’re not quite firing at 100 per cent yet. I like the fact that there’s things to work on.
Al Kellock on Glasgow Warriors’ win over Cardiff Blues
The match was a special occasion for Kellock and fellow forward Dougie Hall, who have been at the Warriors since 2006 and 2007 respectively, with the club paying tribute to both players before the game.
Hall found some space to run in the Warriors’ first try, before the shackles came off and centre Peter Horne blitzed the Blues with a 13-minute hat-trick to secure a try bonus point before half-time.
The second half began brightly for Gregor Townsend’s men with number eight Adam Ashe fending off Alex Cuthbert to break away for the fifth try, but for the third consecutive game, the Warriors lost the second half as they conceded soft tries to Gareth Davies and Dan Fish.
And Kellock admitted that, despite scoring 13 tries in their last three matches, the Warriors still have plenty to work on ahead of the final three rounds of the season.
“The first half was terrific,” Kellock said.
“We played some good rugby; they’re a difficult team to break down, and they were very good at the breakdown: holding us up trying to rip the ball off us, so we had to be strong.
“I was pleased because we fixed things that didn’t go well in the first 15 minutes, which meant we were better the rest of the first half.
“The second half, some of it was disappointing, but we talked about defence in the changing room – it wasn’t great, but for me it was about controlling the ball.
“When we had the ball we were very good, and we weren’t under much pressure, but we gave it away cheaply.
“We gave it away through being turned over at the breakdown, squint lineout; little silly things.
“I like the fact that we’re not quite firing at 100 per cent yet. I like the fact that there’s things to work on.
“Against Leinster, we showed how good we can be against one of the best teams in Europe and we also showed what happens when we lack concentration and that was probably the same against Cardiff.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful to either Leinster or Cardiff because they controlled the game; they took it off us for spells in that game, and we have to be good enough not to let that happen.
“I like the fact that we’ll come back in, look at the video and there’s things to work on.”
Dougie Hall describes his special try against Cardiff Blues:
Kellock, who has been club captain for nine seasons, also paid tribute to the Scotstoun crowd for the fantastic support that shows just how far the club has come since the former Scotland international first joined the club from rivals Edinburgh.
Hall was given a standing ovation as he departed midway through the second half, while 33-year-old Kellock battled through 80 minutes before being announced as the joint man of the match with hat-trick hero Horne.
“To sell the place out was special for both of us,” Kellock added.
“When we came out before the game the noise was incredible. To walk out with our kids is something we’ll always remember.
“It was a special night and a lot of it was trying to keep your emotion at bay as well.”
Those sentiments were echoed by his long-time club and international colleague Hall, who will take up a new career in financial services at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old admitted his children were terrified as they accompanied him on the pitch for what could be the final time in front of a Scottish crowd.
But the 42-times capped front-row forward was thankful that his colleagues used the emotion surrounding the match to deliver another huge win as they bid to go one better than defeat in the PRO12 Grand Final last season.
“The emotion at the beginning was a battle,” Hall said.
“I was just struggling to keep it under control.
“My biggest fear during the week was that we wouldn’t get it under control and, somehow, we would ruin the performance because so much emphasis had been put on myself an Al.
“Thankfully, the boys came through for us and we used the emotion as we always do, and we came through big. It was brilliant.
“I thought the performance in the first half, from an attacking sense, was tremendous.
“It showed the best of the Glasgow Warriors – what we can do and the pace we can play at. I think any team would have struggled to live with us.
“As Al has alluded to, we just need to back that up with our second-half performance.
“Even if the attack is not to that level, we need to defend in such a way that it squeezes teams out of the game.
“We gave them a bit of hope with the way we played in the second half, but what I would add to that is I love in the changing room – despite winning 36-17 – you could see that guys were disappointed with our performance.
“That is a great place to be. That’s a side that’s going somewhere. We’re in a good place to keep on challenging ourselves and build on it.”