LOOKING back over the first five months of my tenure as head coach, there have been some great high points.
However, no success tasted sweeter than achieving the double over Edinburgh in defending the 1872 Cup against our oldest rivals.
The derby games were something I had never experienced as a player and now that I have – even from safety of the coaching area – I can see why winning these encounters means so much to the lads.
It was also great to set a wee bit of history in the league by setting a new record for consecutive wins with the six victories we racked up, starting with a victory at defending PRO12 champions Ospreys and culminating with a bit of a demolition job on the Dragons at Scotstoun on November 2.
During that run we also won at Cardiff and Treviso – who we host tomorrow night – and, of all these wins away from home, our success at the Stadio di Monigo was probably the toughest battle.
So, although we know that we will face one of the most full-on examinations of our physicality in the PRO12, we go into the game on a real high with our confidence and momentum on the up. That is very much as a result of what we have achieved against Edinburgh over the last two weeks.
Clearly our form and results had not been going well before that game and we knew that our character would be tested more than ever in the two legs of the 1872 Cup. To score three tries in both games and to claim our first double over Edinburgh since season 2009/10 was massive.
I feel I should mention the try-scoring contribution of DTH van der Merwe here. His first two tries in the opening game with Edinburgh at Scotstoun a fortnight back broke Thom Evans' professional league try-scoring record of 21 for us and DTH was unlucky not to claim a 23rd touchdown through at Murrayfield last Saturday.
But while I am delighted to be heading into our first game of 2013 on the back of another success in the derby, what we must do now is make sure that we don't blow it. It is vital we use that success as the foundation to a concerted campaign to achieve a place in the PRO12 play-offs.
With the league campaign hitting the halfway mark we are very well placed, just two points off second place and the home berth in the play-offs that accompanies it.
I believe that in their lineout, Treviso have more options than any other side in the PRO12 and that is something we must combat.
Of course, the importance of our pack's ability to win the forwards battle takes on an extra dimension against any Italian side and this will once again be the case tomorrow.
Indeed, the importance of securing a victory over Treviso has been heightened by the fact that the top two sides, Ulster and the Scarlets, face each other at the same time as we meet the Italians.
So, although I am pleased with what we have achieved over the first half of the campaign, there is more to come from us. The best way to start delivering that will be to kick off the New Year with victory over Treviso.
I am also delighted to have secured hooker Pat MacArthur on a contract extension until 2016 as he becomes the latest player to sign a new deal. Fellow front-row man Mike Cusack also committed himself to the Warriors last month along with Al Kellock, Tom Ryder, Tommy Seymour and Peter Murchie.