‘Emotional control’ key for Glasgow

Gregor Townsend

The coaches of the four Pro12 semi-finalists get a glimpse of the trophy in Edinburgh

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend says his players will be working on “emotional control” ahead of the Pro12 semi-final against Connacht.

Warriors lost 14-7 to the Galway-based team on Saturday after going down to 14 men when prop Sila Puafisi was sent off for a wreckless tackle.

That defeat denied Warriors a home semi-final.

“We know we have to be controlled even when we are under duress,” Townsend told BBC Scotland.

Despite the defeat that ended Warriors’ nine-match winning run, Townsend was not entirely disheartened by his team’s display.

“There were times in that game where we let the noise or things that had gone against us affect our decision-making.

“We started the game well and at the end managed to get close to the Connacht line as we tried to get the draw that would have earned us a home semi-final.

“It’s just the bits in the middle that we need to work on – our decision-making, our execution and also our emotional control which led to us giving away a couple of soft penalties.”

‘I hope the referee is strong’

Townsend is considering changes to his starting XV for the semi-final on Saturday 21 May, with Leinster playing Ulster in the other semi-final the night before.

“We know a little more about Connacht having played them on Saturday, and about whether our blend will have to change,” explained Townsend.


Connacht have lost just once at home this season

“But there’s something to be said for that group of players to get that second chance because they have that immediate experience of playing against Connacht.

“They were very tough, aggressive, tackled well and tried to move the ball early. They did a couple of things in attack and defence we hadn’t seen before.

“We saw enough to know they are a tough team who play with pride and passion and on a dry day we know they are going to move the ball about.”

No team has won an away semi-final in the history of the Pro12, but Townsend says his players are capable of breaking the trend.

“It would be nice to break the record, we’ll have to do our very best to do that,” he added. “We have experience of winning semi-finals.

“Connacht play with a lot of passion at home, the atmosphere there is like Scotstoun, really noisy and tough for referees.

“I hope the referee is strong and not influenced by the crowd. As a group we need to stay strong too.

“If decisions go against us we must keep focussed, but I have huge belief in the players and that we can come back with a win.”

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