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VIDEO: Franco Smith's warning to Bulls

REACTION: Glasgow Warriors coach Franco Smith admitted it was ‘really tense’ towards the end, but his team now heads to Pretoria for a United Rugby Championship Final face-off with the Bulls this coming Saturday.

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The Warriors stood up and fought their way to the Final in Limerick at the weekend, securing a 17-10 victory over defending champions Munster to book their place in the competition’s showpiece event.

Kyle Steyn and Sebastian Cancelliere’s scores, allied to the boot of George Horne, booked Smith’s side’s place in the Final.

Smith stressed that despite some tired bodies, the Final cannot come quickly enough for his squad.

“We watched the first half of the [Bulls versus] Leinster semifinal,” he said in his post-match debrief.

“It is going to be a good challenge.

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“We didn’t train this hard and work this hard to come up short.

“We’re going to give it a full go.”

He was not about to use the trip to South Africa as an excuse.

“In this competition, travel forms part of the challenge,” the Springbok said.

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“We know that it is going to be challenging but we’ve got a plan and we’ll see how we can recover as quickly as possible and get ourselves physically and mentally ready for an important game.

“We will fly out as soon as there is a flight available.”

He said his team experienced disappointment in losing to Toulon in a Challenge Cup Final last year and will be better for it at Loftus.

“There were lessons learnt,” he said of the loss in Dublin, adding: “This is going to be a different challenge.

“Our emotional intelligence will be tested this week.”

He said one of the main ingredients of their build-up to the Final is “physical recovery”.

* (Article continues below the Franco Smith interview …)

Smith said he was “really proud of the resilience” shown by his team to overcome two yellow cards and secure a place in the Final.

The two yellow cards came in the first half, firstly to Richie Gray and then Matt Fagerson.

“I’m very proud of the boys, the fact that they stuck to the script again and they worked really hard,” he said.

“They adapted well to what was needed and under difficult circumstances with the fact we had two yellow cards.

“[I am] really proud of the resilience.

“It was clear to everyone outside that we wanted to play to win and we were just making too many errors the first half.

“Our own mistakes led to us defending a lot of sets and then getting penalised unnecessarily and that was the bad spiral we were in.”

So, when he was asked after the match if the game had gone according to plan, he gave a knowing smile and said: “What do you think?

“Mostly it did, but we turned the ball over too many times in the first half through too much eagerness and that led to penalties, which was a negative spiral for us.

“But the compliment sits in the way that the guys handled that period – with the yellow cards as well – we didn’t allow them points and that kept us in the game.

“You will have noticed that there is always a change after half-time,” he added.

“One tends to see what and where the nervousness in the team is and then we come with a plan to execute in the second half. I am grateful that the boys reacted well to what the coaching staff asked of them.

“Their ability to go and perform for their mates who have been off … with 14 men it is hard, someone else’s work must be done, but I’m very pleased that we reacted well to that.

“It was very tense towards the end but good to be a part of it. It was a great experience.

“I always believe in the saying that attack puts you in a position to win finals but defence wins finals so it was important for us to front up physically. The belief we created through that allowed us to back it up with some good ball-skill opportunities that were there.”

* Additional resources: @PremSportsTV, theoffsideline.com & bbc.com/sport

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