GLASGOW Warriors attack coach Nigel Carolan has revealed that he has already had some ‘robust conversations’ with his new boss, Franco Smith, but stressed that having constructive disagreements is a healthy thing which needs to happen if the squad is going to change trajectory following a shambolic end to last season.

Smith is a no-nonsense South African who has clearly wasted no time in stamping his authority on the squad since replacing Danny Wilson in the Scotstoun hot-seat at the start of August, and Carolan says he is happy to adapt his coaching philosophy to fit in with the new man in charge.

“I didn’t know Danny before I came over to Glasgow this time last year, so you have to build relationships – trust and belief in each other – and it’s the same with Franco,” he explained.

“He’s got a very strong vision of what he wants for the club and how he wants the game to be played. I’m an assistant coach. I’m not there to dictate. I’m very much about trying to roll in behind him the best I can. Since he’s arrived, it’s a lot of clarity, a lot of conversations and looking at footage to see what we think. It’s a good challenge.

“I was certainly never in a comfort zone last year although I probably had more autonomy in terms of the attack. Franco has an attacking mindset himself so it’s about marrying up our philosophies, which aren’t a million miles apart, so that we’re on the same page and I can support his ideas.”

“I’m never too shy about getting my hands dirty,” Carolan continued. “It’s just about trying to help wherever I can. Because it’s change again, that can be unsettling for some, but it’s about getting the team to perform and we all need to be on the same page for that. I’ll do whatever I need to do.

“We’ll have a few barnies along the way. There are a few things we won’t agree on all the time. That’s a good thing. We had a few robust conversations this morning about certain things. It’s really great and that’s what I’m embracing, too.

“It’s a fresh challenge for me. I’m out of my comfort zone again which is why I’m on this coaching journey. You have to get out of whatever ‘normal’ is as that’s where growth comes from.”

Frank honesty is equally important when it comes to how coaches and players interact, Carolan added.

“We’re all in this together,” he said. “It’s definitely not coaches pointing the finger at players or vice-versa. We had a pretty in-depth review of last season, and it starts with self-reflection on what we did and what we can do differently.

“Players want honesty. They want to be called out and challenged. You don’t want to create an environment where it becomes toxic and negative, but you want to make sure they’re on the road to improvement.”

Carolan also explained that the squad members who played international rugby this summer are unlikely to be back for the first match of the URC season against Benetton a week on Friday.

“When the non-internationals came back in, they did four weeks of really hard work to get that bank of physical conditioning into them then started their match prep, and then the internationals came in so they’re four weeks behind,” he explained.

“We feel it’s important that they get a similar programme as well, so it’s not just about dropping them into the first game. If we can get through the first couple of games without having all our internationals in there it just means we can start to mix things up a little bit more.

“It’s not a blanket approach, it’s definitely case-by-case depending on injuries, really.”