Franco Smith’s Glasgow Warriors Lay The Perfect Ambush For DHL Stormers


Five wins on the trot, a boost in confidence and a nine-day wait will allow Franco Smith’s side to lay the perfect ambush for the DHL Stormers as they head to Glasgow for their Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash on Sunday.

Smith has transformed the Warriors into a winning machine, so much so that they now are looking forward to hosting the defending champions and are keen to see just how far they have come under Smith since he took over at the beginning of the season.

Back-to-back wins over the Festive period to claim the 150th edition of the 1872 Cup have not only underlined the fact that Glasgow is becoming a major force in the URC, but that Smith’s philosophy and coaching style is having the desired effect.

And now, with the confidence of a five-game winning streak under the belt, Smith waits for the arrival of the Stormers, who will give him a firm indication of just where the side is under his watch.

While some, like South African born Scottish international Kyle Steyn, have spoken about the confidence he has given them, there is no doubt that something special is starting to take place in Glasgow that can grow into a threat for some of the bigger teams in the competition.

Smith though, isn’t about platitudes and knows the hard work on the field is something that will get them through the tough times.
It is that philosophy that will make Glasgow dangerous on Sunday when the Stormers arrive, and the same philosophy that Smith wants to get long-term success with the Scottish club.

“We didn’t count the wins,” he said after the 1872 Cup victory. “It is about getting better every week, but we appreciate having the scoreboard in our favour.

“I’m glad for the club. All credit to the players and coaching group, they have been exceptional in this period. There were some decisions made in pre-season on how we want to approach the campaign, and they have bought into the philosophy. We think there is a lot to work on, but if you have this buzz in the changing room it will help.”

While they struggled in the first half, the Warriors powered home in the second to claim the bragging rights in the Scottish derby and Smith said that the expectation created after the first win in Glasgow as part of their underperformance in the first half.
“The first half showed that expectation is our enemy,” Smith explained.

“There was a lot of expectation around us, and I felt that drained our energy, so the quicker we get rid of the expectation around our next performance the better it will be.

“I’m really delighted for the boys. They made some sacrifices over the Christmas period. We had a plan, and they stuck to it, and I thought the second half, the energy the boys brought from the side and the way they reacted from the half-time talk, was fantastic. We lacked a little of belief and one or two things said at half-time helped us align again.”

Steyn credits Smith with the mind shift and the change that has made the Warriors far tougher opposition than last season for any side.

“He’s brought a lot of direction and he’s instilled belief, that character in the second half,” Steyn said of Smith.

“He’s been amazing, the values he’s come with. He backs up everything he says with actions. It took a bit of a while to settle in because of the nature of his coming in at the last minute, but I think you can see now that the boys believe in what he is saying and what he is doing and the direction that he is trying to send this club in.”

Now the Stormers await and an intriguing battle of wits will see them look for vital points away from home. Smith will have a few tricks up his sleeve, and Steyn and co are looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge, and we’re at home which is brilliant, and we’ve got nine days to turn it around so the boys should be nice and fresh and raring to go.”