O'Halloran: We've gone back to basics

Jason O’Halloran and Dave Rennie go back a long way. The pair first met in 2000 when Jason won the ITM Cup playing for Wellington and Dave was his head coach.

They have also coached together at Manawatu Turbos for four years where Rennie was head coach and O’Halloran was his assistant, before O’Halloran took over in 2012 when Rennie moved to the Chiefs.

They’re about to work together again, when Rennie moves to Glasgow next month to take up the position of head coach at the Warriors, with O’Halloran having already joined from the Scotland set-up.Jason O'Halloran helping out at pre-season training

The Glasgow squad are into their fifth week of pre-season training and New Zealander O’Halloran says they’ve gone back to basics in order to help improve their accuracy.

Speaking to Warriors TV he said: “We’ve had a real focus on executing our skills. We feel the ambition that Glasgow play with is fantastic, but we want to marry that with a little bit more accuracy, so we can convert our chances in games. There has been a big focus on catch-and-pass, ball carrying and defence.

“We’ll obviously wrap the physicality of those aspects up in this second block, but we feel we need to get back to basics to start with and the players have been open to the new ideas, so it has been really productive to date.

“They’ve worked hard and they are a really honest bunch, so I’m very happy with the way they’re progressing.

"We need to reintroduce the boys to rugby again after a couple of weeks off, so it’s just about getting reacquainted and then we’ll certainly give it a good nudge in week two and three and take them to places they haven’t been before, in terms of their physical capacity.”

O’Halloran says they are looking to build on the foundations the previous coaches have put in place at Scotstoun and he doesn’t expect radical changes to the way they play.

He added: “We will endeavour to play rugby. Gregor (Townsend) created a fantastic atmosphere here and a really good culture of expressing themselves, so there won’t be much change in that regard but we want to be slightly more accurate than we have been over the last season or maybe season and a half.

“I believe your tactical scope is based around your skillset, so the more skills you have, the more tactics you can deploy. That is why we’re focussing on skills initially, so we can then have more tactics and we can play a wide variety of games depending on conditions, opposition and our own XV that is going out there.”

O’Halloran, who will be focusing on attack, has been working with Jonathan Humphreys and Kenny Murray, along with the Strength and Conditioning team to prepare the players for the long season ahead.

The New Zealander admits that the opportunity to work with an exciting group of players at Scotstoun was one of the reasons he decided to join Rennie’s coaching team.

He explained: “I enjoy Scotland, I enjoy the Scottish way of life. A few generations back my family is from Cambuslang, so coming to Glasgow was always an ambition, so to be able to work with our Scotland internationals is huge.

O'Halloran says the Warriors are going back to basics

“One of the big reasons I came here is a great number of the Scotland team play for Glasgow, particularly in the backs. Having Finn Russell, Hoggy, Alex Dunbar and those sorts of guys coming back, along with Peter Horne and Henry Pyrgos, who are great leaders amongst this group, is going to be really good.

“Along with that I get the opportunity to work with some really good young talent as well, who are very hungry to make their mark and understand they need to make their mark in pre-season because once the internationals get back there is going to be heated competition."

O’Halloran says he has enjoyed working with the players and believes the current group will have a big role to play when the internationals return over the next few weeks.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how the guys who have been here transfer the information we’ve given them around some of the new skills we’re trying to develop,” he said.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the peer coaching comes along and that is a big driver for Dave (Rennie) using players to coach players at times, so I’ll be really interested to see how that dynamic works when the Scotland internationals come back.

“I’ve been really impressed with the overall attitude of the players, which is credit to the Gregor and his staff for what they created here in terms of the culture of the group.

“Having Pat MacArthur, Chris Fusaro and some of those senior players really driving that culture has made it very productive and so much easier for us as new coaches. 

“That is the biggest thing which I’ve taken out of it, is what a great culture there is existing here and the pressure that puts on the young guys to really step up and be accountable for their performance straight away.”

Season Ticket Members and Warrior Nation Members can purchase tickets for Glasgow's pre-season fixture against Northampton Saints at Bridgehaugh Park Stirling on Saturday 19 August (kick-off 2pm) from Monday at 10am by signing inot their ticketing account.