Wins for both Glasgow Warriors and the national under-20s team have given Scottish rugby the initiative ahead of tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield, according to Gregor Townsend.
The Glasgow Warriors head coach admitted to being sapped after a frenzied RaboDirect Pro12 top-of-the-table contest between his side and Ulster allowed his men to close the gap on the leaders to three points in spite of failing with every kick at goal.
“I lived every moment of the last 20 minutes . . . but nothing like our players did,” he said. “The energy they must have expended was remarkable with the number of players going down with cramp. It was a cracking game.”
With the under-20s narrowly beating the Irish 21-20, Townsend believed it could give the senior national side a major boost. “This could be huge for momentum,” he said.
“I remember with Scotland when the A team wins the night before you get a huge boost. I know all our lads would be watching the game so they’ll be up for it on Sunday.”
He also knew it was vital that his men held out for the win, thoroughly deserved due to their ratio of four tries to one, as they push towards their target of earning a home semi-final in the Pro12 play-offs. “If we’d lost it would have been really disappointing,” he said.
“Ulster know what we’re about and showed magnificent character to keep on going, but we’ve got more challenges to come.”
Next week, however, they have another very winnable home game against Cardiff Blues and Ryan Wilson, their stand-in captain reckons they are on course to surpass the target of four wins he set them when he took on the job for the Six Nations window.
“In my team talks I kept telling the guys I wanted us to be a top two team,” he said. “After the Zebre match that changed and I told them I want us to be the top team and with this win we are now in a position to make the No.1 spot.
“We ran in four tries against Ulster and we were unlucky not to get more. It is an indication of how far we have come in that we are all disappointed that we only scored four against the league leaders. To get a bonus point win is awesome and that was a huge result for us.”