Guinness PRO12: Warriors excited for Ulster test on Super Saturday
Scotland full-back excited for challenge awaiting him on the last day of the regular season when Ulster visit Scotstoun
Stuart Hogg insists that Glasgow Warriors can bounce back from their disappointing defeat to the Ospreys to secure a Guinness PRO12 home semi-final.
The Scotland full-back, who took no part in last year’s semi-final or final after some off-field issues that reportedly saw him almost join Ulster, is fired up to finish this season on a high with the Irish province heading to Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday.
We’re gunning for a home semi-final to give us the best opportunity to win the league, and we’re going to do everything we can this week to make amends.
The Warriors’ defeat to the Ospreys on Friday night dented their chances of securing a home semi with the final round to play, with all five of their defeats this season coming on the road and by more than seven points.
In fact, the Warriors are the only club in the league not to have secured a losing bonus point.
While the four semi-finalists are already known, the race for the top two is still thrilling and rugby supporters across the four participating countries are in for a thrilling final day with all six matches kicking off at the same time with something riding on each of them with European qualification still within reach of a number of other clubs.
With Munster at home to Newport Gwent Dragons and the Ospreys travelling to Connacht, the Warriors know they can’t afford another slip up on Super Saturday.
“We’re really excited for that game,” Hogg said.
“We needed one win out of the two to get a home semi-final. We’ve left it tough for ourselves, but I have every faith in the boys that next week we can bounce back and get a good result.
“It’s massive. We’re gunning for a home semi-final to give us the best opportunity to win the league and we’re going to do everything we can this week to make amends.
“It’s a massively exciting challenge for us with Ulster coming to Scotstoun, so we’re hoping for a big crowd and hopefully getting a home semi.”
As happened on their last visit to Wales in November, the Warriors found it tough going at the Liberty Stadium in difficult conditions.
The pleasing thing is that we realise where we’ve gone wrong and ahead of next week we can put that right and concentrate on making amends.
A training ground move saw Rhys Webb cut a superb angle from a well-worked short lineout to burst through the Warriors defence, chip the ball over a defender, gather and touch down for the decisive try.
It was just the latest in a long line of well-taken tries this season by the Welsh scrum-half, who has been outstanding for club and country, and is a shoo-in for player of the season when the annual awards are dished out in Dublin next week.
Hogg admits that the Warriors know where they went wrong against Steve Tandy’s young side and discipline – as it has been in a number of games this season – was one area the Warriors need to improve on.
“We can definitely turn that result around,” Hogg added.
“We know where we’re going wrong, and we didn’t stick to our gameplan. The times we did were the times we created chances.
“It worked well for us when we stuck to our shape and got boys going the same way. We were really dangerous at times, but the disappointing thing was we couldn’t get our shape enough.
“We’ve talked in there about discipline throughout. Our discipline isn’t there – just giving away penalties and not holding on to the ball, and offload at the right times.
“The Ospreys, credit to them, had a good solid defence, applied pressure back on to us, and we didn’t have any solutions on the night.
“The pleasing thing is that we realise where we’ve gone wrong and ahead of next week we can put that right and concentrate on making amends.
“We’ve talked about not dwelling on this too much. We’ll review it, we’ll learn from it, and move on.”