GLASGOW’s 46-25 win over Benetton on Saturday brought what might be politely called an indifferent PRO14 season to an encouraging end.

There were still some defects that stronger opponents would have exploited more ruthlessly, yet there were also enough positive signs to allow Lee Jones, for one, to look forward optimistically to Friday night’s Challenge Cup match against Montpellier.

“It was pretty convincing in the end,” the winger said of a six-try victory that gave the Warriors an overall record of six wins from 16 games in Conference A. “I thought the game was pretty stop-start, but we knew that if we kept the ball and played with tempo they would struggle.

“We managed to do that in patches. It was disappointing to let in a couple of scores, but if we look at the overall scoreline, it’s pretty positive.

“There are still areas where we need to be a lot better, and if we’re not you can see us falling away pretty quickly and conceding scores. When it does come together, we’ve got to celebrate those wins. When we’re scoring 46 points we’ve got to take the positives from that. 

“But at the same time everyone knows there’s a lot that needs to be better. If we can do that, it will put us in better stead week on week.”

The victory over the Italians was certainly a significant improvement on the loss to the Dragons a week earlier, all the more so as it was achieved with a weaker team given the loss to the Scotland squad of Adam Hastings, Ryan Wilson, Rob Harley and Rufus McLean. Those four should be available for the last-16 tie in France, as should most of the other players who were on duty in the Stade de France, and the impact of the two forwards in particular will be important as the Warriors bid to tighten up in defence.

“We had a few conversations after the Benetton game and we know we’ll need to be a lot better on Friday to challenge Montpellier, especially defensively,” Jones continued. “When we get that tempo in our game and play like that, we can challenge anybody, but we need to be better on the defensive side. We can’t afford to let in soft scores against anybody, but especially against a good French team.

“[The cup match] takes the focus away from the league, which has been a bit all over the place this season. It freshens it up a wee bit. It’s different opposition, a new challenge, and we’ve potentially got a few boys back with the squad.

“It’s almost like a restart. And I think the boys will be buzzing, especially on the back of a win, to get over there and give it a good go in France.”

Anything achieved in the Challenge Cup will be a bonus, and the same goes for the Rainbow Cup, which will begin for the Warriors in late April with a match in Treviso against the team they beat two days ago. The real aim for head coach Danny Wilson over the next few months will be to continue rebuilding the team in order to put them in the best possible state to compete far more convincingly in the PRO14 next season. 

That process has already begun in encouraging fashion in recent months with the integration of young players such as McLean, Ross Thompson and Ollie Smith into the squad, and Jones is sure the team will benefit from their coming of age. “The young guys are performing really well when they’re coming into the team. They’re fearless: they give anything a go. 

“There’s almost a positive in not having experience, and you can see that in the guys at the minute. They’re playing on the edge, they’re taking chances. It’s not always going to come off, but when it does we reap the benefits of it.

“It’s good for these guys getting games now. It will stand them in good stead, especially picking up cues when we’re under pressure – times when we need to shore things up and play a bit more pragmatically.

“But it’s great to have that fearless streak in them at the moment. It bodes well for the future.”