Given that he only arrived in Glasgow at the start of August, Franco Smith could have done with a smooth pre-season period ahead of his team’s United Rugby Championship campaign kicking off away to Benetton on Friday night – but fate had other ideas.

Neither of their scheduled matches have gone ahead as planned, with their first hit-out against Worcester Warriors two weekends ago cancelled because the English side had not managed to pay their players’ wages, and last Friday’s game against Ulster cancelled following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Super6 side Ayrshire Bulls did step in to give Warriors some sort of competitive rugby, but Smith makes no bones about the fact that preparation for the new season has been far from ideal.

“With the Worcester Warriors game I think our mentality changed when we weren’t playing the team we expected,” said the South African. “So, I would love to have had the hit out at the weekend, but it wasn’t to be

“I’m not concerned about our physical preparation, I’m just concerned about the game-related preparation. I’m a new coach here so I’ve got a different way of looking at it, and sometimes you need a game to make them understand. We have used other means, but we will have a look and see.

“I am concerned around the breakdown area because in training you don’t do it live as it is an area where there is a high risk of injury,” he added. “So, I would have liked to have seen them against opposition.”

The plus side of this disrupted pre-season schedule is that Benetton will be more in the dark about what to expect from Glasgow than they would have been otherwise.

“I know they’ve got the Ayrshire Bulls game, but we played two completely different teams in each half there, so I didn’t show my hand,” Smith added.

The coach added that he expects to have his full international contingent available this weekend to help his team hit the ground running.

“Obviously, the guys who were on tour with Scotland have played recently and have a little bit more experience, so they don’t need that extra [pre-season] game,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard, and I definitely feel that physically we’ve come on leaps and bounds. Now it is about channelling all the energy in the right direction and to maintain that conditioning.

“We haven’t reached the bar. I think rugby demands much more. Everybody keeps saying: ‘We’ve worked hard, we’ve worked hard.’ But it depends on what you think is hard work.

“So, we just have to continue to knock at the door if we want to be the best. I think the sides that do well in this competition are physically in good condition.”