Champions Cup: Danny Wilson blames costly errors for Glasgow’s loss to La Rochelle

Date published: January 23 2022 - Planet Rugby

Danny Wilson feels Glasgow Warriors have to blame themselves after they lost Saturday’s Champions Cup clash against La Rochelle at Scotstoun.

Despite trailing 15-9 at half-time, the home side struck back courtesy of Josh McKay’s converted try early in the second half to regain the lead and set them up nicely for the rest of the match.

La Rochelle’s fightback

But then the Warriors imploded, conceding 20 points inside five minutes through tries for Pierre Bourgarit and Pierre Boudehent, which were both converted by Pierre Popelin, who also slotted a couple of penalties.

Two late tries from replacement Ollie Smith were not enough to turn things around for Glasgow and they must now rely on both Ospreys and Montpellier failing to get what they need from their final matches on Sunday, against Sale and Exeter respectively, if they are to progress to the last 16.

And while acknowledging that his players defended well for most of the match, Wilson believes they paid a heavy price for lapses in concentration at key moments.

“When you play the heavyweights of Europe you cannot give them those sorts of error opportunities, and that’s what happened tonight,” he said.

“We gave them too many soft points. We scored 30 points and lost at home and that’s disappointing.

“We still have a lifeline in this competition. We wanted it to be in our own hands, we genuinely felt we could win today at home where we have a really good record, but it wasn’t to be.

“It was a good side we were playing against – a big, physical side – and perhaps some of the errors you get away with in other games you won’t get away with here.

“This side will score against you if you give them half a chance. That’s why they are where they are and reached the European final last year.”

Wilson took little comfort from his side fighting back, with two late tries through replacement full-back Smith making the final scoreline respectable.

“Spirit should be a given for us,” he said. “The boys came out the second half and scored some nice tries but ultimately we came up a little bit short. We gifted the opposition too much.

“I think the breakdown was an issue for us. We got jackalled and turned over a number of times. And I thought our choice of tackles at times was poor.

“We went quite high against a team who can carry up the field and get momentum and ended up with us getting stuck at the wrong end of the pitch, especially in the first half.

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow and see what it means for us moving forward.”

Dan McFarland praises Ulster’s attacking bravery against Clermont

Meanwhile, Ulster boss Dan McFarland was full of praise for his team’s bravery in attack and singled that out as a key factor in their Champions Cup triumph over Clermont in Belfast.

The Irish province’s lead was cut dramatically from 34-12 to 34-31 after a late Clermont flourish. Nevertheless, the result earned Ulster second position in their group having already qualified for the last 16.

By virtue of finishing second in Pool A, Ulster could end up facing reigning champions Toulouse should the French side finish seventh in Pool B.