DANNY WILSON is a good man and a respected coach who was handed the tough gig of taking over a Glasgow Warriors team entering a hangover period following their heady days (by Scottish rugby standards) under Gregor Townsend and Dave Rennie. 

Little, if anything, had been done in terms of legacy planning and the onslaught of Covid didn’t help in his first year in the job. He deserves more patience and more sympathy than he has received from a sizable chunk of the Warriors support, who appear to have expectations beyond the club’s true means, and who have always viewed his appointment as a convenience move for an individual deemed surplus to requirements in the national set-up after the 2019 World Cup flop but still under contract. 

With that all said, Saturday’s 76-14 hammering by Leinster is going to be hard for the coach to get past. Whereas it previously seemed likely he would soldier on with Warriors until at least after the 2023 World Cup when we can expect a giant game of musical chairs to play out amongst professional and international coaches, now it is far more more likely that he will be gone by the time pre-season begins in four weeks’ time. 

Wilson still has a year to run on his contract, but that won’t matter if Mark Dodson decides that he has become a threat to the bottom line (be in no doubt that these decisions are made by Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive not Glasgow Warriors Managing Director Al Kellock). 

The big factor in Wilson’s favour is that he is part of the Murrayfield machine, so understands and accepts that on-field success for Warriors is of secondary importance to supporting the national team, especially in a World Cup year when Gregor Townsend will want to micro-manage his top players’ game time as much as possible as well use pro matches to experiment with combinations and selectorial curveballs.  

There isn’t currently an obvious candidate within the Scottish system to step up into Wilson’s place, while finding someone from abroad with the requisite pedigree and the willingness to serve two masters is going to be hellish difficult on such a tight timescale. 

However, commercial concerns are key. Kellock was compelled to issue a communication to supporters last week in which he explained and tried to justify the hike in season ticket prices which has caused considerable consternation amongst the club’s rank and file in recent weeks. Results such as Saturday’s, and the defeat to Edinburgh in the team’s last outing a fortnight ago, are certain to negatively impact ticket sales and damage the club’s appeal to existing and potential commercial and broadcast partners. 

The fact that Warriors’ have lost their traditional Friday night slot in the fixture schedule (as a direct consequence of the Scottish pro sides not bringing a local broadcast partner to the URC table) has compounded supporter anxiety. With every result like this, the likelihood of escaping these obscure kick-off times is diminished. 

Furthermore, at a time when private equity and broadcast money is flowing into the sport at previously unimaginable levels, all the top nations are jockeying for lucrative positions in the new world order, and having Glasgow as whipping boys reduces Dodson’s bargaining power. 

If Dodson decides that the outlook on these matters can be improved by a change of coach at Glasgow, then Richard Cockerill and Andy Robinson will tell you how relevant it is that he still has time to run on his contract. 

Of course, whether getting rid of Wilson is a straight-forward, fix-all solution to Glasgow’s woes remains to be seen. He must carry the can for what has happened, but if Saturday’s performance in a knock-out match was a consequence of the head coach losing the dressing-room, then that says much more about the players than it does about Wilson. 

A change at the top might provide an instant injection of positive energy, but can it mask the fundamental flaws which Leinster exposed on Saturday over the longer-term? 

“We were in the quarter-final, we were in the top eight, and that was built off 10 good wins this season,” reasoned Wilson, who has stated that he still believes he is the right man for the job. “Ultimately, we have let ourselves down in the crunch knock-out game. That game in isolation is unacceptable, but I look back at our season and I know we made some progress.  

“We finished the season poorly. There are circumstances. I'm not saying they are excuses. But being away from home as much as we have, and with injuries to key players meaning we have not been able to rotate our squad, we have fallen off a cliff.” 

“We will review this game as a group within Glasgow Warriors as we would review any game. We'll do that and we will round up the season, then we move into a break and then pre-season.  

“Right now, that break is very much needed for everybody. It is going to be a long period of time before we can put that right.”