Glasgow’s trip to Wasps is certain to have a sting in the tale
TEAMS arrange pre-season friendlies some time before the new season’s shape emerges but, after the sides were drawn in the same Heineken Cup pool, Glasgow’s match with Wasps at Adams Park this afternoon now has an extra significance.
Sean Lineen, the Glasgow coach, cannot yet be happy with the strength of his squad as Al Kellock, Chris Cusiter, Colin Gregor and Johnnie Beattie continue their roles within a pretty competitive ‘medical room XV’. But with a handful of loan deals secured, the crafty Kiwi is beginning to look ahead with some optimism.
Glasgow may be short of fullstrength, though there is excitement around young half-backs Duncan Weir (19) and Henry Pyrgos (21) thrust into the spotlight.
The reality is that the Magners League kicks off next weekend with the line-up that faces Leinster now determined by what occurs in leafy Buckinghamshire. Glasgow enjoyed a 16-15 win over Wasps in Glasgow in pre-season last year, but Wasps have opened sharply this term by defeating a near second-string Leinster 41-6 last Friday night. In short, they look strong.
Lineen has strong ideas on who should make-up his most potent XV, but is keen to see how the players pencilled in and others stand up to the test of a side with Premiership title ambitions.
“This is the kind of game we need at this stage of the season,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, of course it is, but it’s much more beneficial to our squad going in to a test like this the week before we start the season than playing a runaround game that we win comfortably.
“We know how physical they are and we have to deal with that, but Leinster are one of the most physical teams in Europe so we need this test now.
“Wasps beat Leinster pretty comfortably last week, and we know they have quality players right across the team so there is no hiding from this challenge. We will have to work as hard as we can and with confidence to impose our own game on them.
“We have had to work very hard behind the scenes to get a squad together, but I’ve always been impressed by the players’ attitude. The belief is there, the confidence we built up last season is still there and is growing and every member of the squad knows that we have to build on what we achieved last season.”