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VIDEO: The win that warranted a wee dram of whisky

VIDEO: Two years ago the Glasgow Warriors had whiskey in polystyrene cups and on Saturday their coach Franco Smith and his side celebrated their United Rugby Championship win with a dram of whisky and a cigar.

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Smith recalled the whisky story after his side beat the Bulls 21-16 in the Final with a little wry smile on his face.

“When I started here two years ago, one morning at 7 am, I rolled out whisky to everybody to give them a wee taste of what it would be to have a dram of whisky on the back of a win,” Smith said.

“I told them to savour that, keep that in your mind and one day, as soon as we win something, that evening we will have a dram of whiskey and a cigar. Tonight, I think these guys have merited that.

“It’s fantastic, the boys played so well, fronted up, and should be really proud. Even when we were behind, the half-time chat was easy, we knew we had a good plan for the second half of the game.

“We had a saying during the season that we don’t have to lose to learn and they’ve embraced that mentality and they are pushing their limited and their boundaries and perimeters that are expected at this level.”

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It was evident that Smith had a calculated plan on how to beat the highly rated Bulls, the team that scored the most tries in the competition and ended up second on the table.

The second half was always Smith’s gameplan, the altitude not even a consideration.

Their fighting spirit saw them come back from being 0-13 down to go 21-16 up in the second half in which they also still had the chutzpah to halt a Bulls maul five metres out in the final minutes of the match.

“We want to be a second-half team, so we always know that the second half will be better and I am excited to say there were no complaints about the altitude tonight.

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“It is fantastic. They have bought into the plan. We needed to work on giving the guys a bit of a hard edge so that they could front up against the South African teams because that is what they bring to the competition.

“From a rugby perspective, we had hardly given away maul tries this whole season,” Smith explained.

“I knew the Bulls were not going to play out of the maul, even though we had a yellow card.

“We’ve been talking about the process the whole year. I backed the process and the boys backed it and in the end that brought the win.

“I walked into the changeroom (at halftime) and said to the boys that we are now getting into their side of the field and we will get rewarded if we keep knocking on the door and that’s what happened,” said Smith.

 

Captain Kyle Steyn said when Smith was appointed as the coach, he had to convince the squad that he could turn them into winners.

“If you look at where we were 24 months ago, Franco came in and I think the biggest thing he had to do was to get us to believe and give us a sense of direction.

“You think back to drinking whisky out of a polystyrene cup on one of his first days. There were a lot of boys who thought he was insane, to be honest.

“The consistency in his conviction, the way he goes about his business and what he believes in, that gave us a real sense of direction. Now we look to drinking whisky out of those cups and it doesn’t seem so crazy.”

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