ON the pitch, results and performances have been disappointing, but Ryan Wilson insists that Glasgow Warriors will arrive back in Scotland tomorrow a stronger all-round unit thanks to the past two weeks the whole squad has spent together in South Africa. 

Friday night’s 29-17 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria left Warriors with a record of zero wins from two matches from their late season sojourn south of the equator, having been beaten 32-7 by the Stormers in Cape Town seven days earlier. The aggregate score 61 points conceded and 24 scored, and the try-tally of eight conceded and only three scored, accurately reflects the gulf between the Scots and their two opponents. 

There is no let up now for the Warriors because they will have just three days to recover, catch-up with family and then prepare for their next match, before jetting off to France for Saturday’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final clash against Lyon. 

Meanwhile, their two recent losses to the Stormers and the Bulls means that they really need to get something out of their final game of the regular URC season against Edinburgh in the international bowl at Murrayfield on 21st May to ensure involvement in the play-offs. 

So, a gruelling couple of weeks lie in store, and with several key players (including co-captain Fraser Brown, Rory Darge, Tom Gordon, Sebastian Cancelliere, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rufus McLean and Kyle Steyn) likely to miss some or all of what is left of the season through injury, Warriors are going to have to dig deep to find a way of finishing the campaign on a high.   

However, Wilson was determined to focus on the positives when he spoke immediately after Friday’s defeat. 

“I’ve said to the boys during the past few weeks that we’re a lot closer from being away together,” he reasoned. “With all the Covid stuff over the last few years, being able to come away for two weeks as a group has been really special.  

“It’s a shame we come away from these two games with nothing but if there are any positives to take it’s that we’re tighter for the experience, and that will bode well going into the end of the season.” 

As well as vital league points being up for grabs, the 1872 Cup is also on the line when Glasgow face Edinburgh in three weekends’ time. 

Having beaten the capital outfit 30-17 at the end of March, Warriors are well placed to retain the trophy, which is awarded to the side with the better aggregate score over the two matches played each season. 

They need to avoid losing by 14 points or more, but Wilson stressed the target was always going to be a win against their fiercest rivals. 

“It [the league situation] puts a wee bit more pressure on us but that’s alright because we deal well with the pressure,” he added.  “Edinburgh was always going to be a must-win. There’s two things in that: there’s the 1872 Cup and then the league. We have to make sure we’re pushing for those knock-out stages.” 

Wilson added that Glasgow would not be using the fact that they had to travel halfway round the world as an excuse for the team's failings in South Africa. 

“It is draining, but you just have to find ways to deal with it,” he reasoned. “The South African guys are having the same battles. Look at Treviso and Zebre over the years, they’ve always had that extra bit of travel and struggled with it.  

“I don’t think we can blame these last two weeks on the travel. We prepared really well for the games and were in a good place before. And if we have to come back out here for another game in the play-offs, we’ll prepare well for that too.”