Townsend makes Heineken vow as cup run falls flat

GREGOR Townsend today vowed that Glasgow will end their Heineken Cup campaign on a high.

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Gregor Townsend is determined that Glasgow will end their European campaign with victory
Gregor Townsend is determined that Glasgow will end their European campaign with victory

Warriors lost their penultimate Pool Four fixture at rain-soaked Ravenhill on Friday night at the hands of Ulster 23-6, but have the chance to make amends when Northampton come calling to Scotstoun this Saturday.

It was another case of wasted chances against European Rugby's form team, but once again missed kicks at crucial moments cost Glasgow dear.

But, looking ahead to the Heineken Cup finale with the Saints, Townsend was bullish about regaining some pride in the Northern Hemisphere's top club rugby tournament.

He said: "We are very disappointed not to have taken something from the Ulster game.

"At 10-6 down they lost a man to a yellow card and we had the chance to kick on, but made a couple of key errors.

"Now, though, we have Northampton coming to Scotstoun and the chance to salvage some pride and end the tournament on a high in front of our own fans.

"Ulster was another case of what might have been and once again we had a spell where we were on top but did not make the most of it.

"To do that to Ulster on their patch proves we are doing something right, but we have to learn to cash in.

"But there is a massive sense of frustration and we need to use that as a huge motivation to finally get that win against Northampton."

"They will be coming to Scotstoun looking to stamp their passports for the quarter-finals and we want to make sure that we repay them for the defeat at Franklin's Gardens."

On the injury front, Rob Harley took a bang to the chest and will be rested for the Saints tussle while Ruaridh Jackson is likely to have recovered from the rib injury that sidelined him at Ravenhill.

Looking beyond Saturday's Heineken Cup finale with Northampton, Townsend is still adamant that his side are in good shape to book a home play-off berth and retain their second place in the Rabo Direct PRO 12.

He said: "With Ulster sitting 11 points clear, realistically the other teams are all playing for the three remaining play-off places.

"What's great for us is that we are sitting second, albeit by one point, and if we can stay there we will gain a home advantage in the play-offs.

"But all our focus must be on getting the win over Northampton on Saturday.

"We have not done ourselves justice results wise in the Heineken Cup and we want to do something about that at home this weekend.

"Our performances have been excellent at times in this campaign, starting with the opening half an hour against Northampton back in October.

"The problem, as I said, is that we haven't managed to put in a full 80-minute performance.

"The players deserve a win for their efforts, but it will take an excellent performance to beat a Northampton side that has hit some form and looking to qualify for the quarter-finals.

"But I believe we are capable of it and of providing ourselves with a winning platform to go back into the PRO12 against Zebre on February 10."

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