This is the time of year where we have to step up – du Plessis

This is the time of year where we have to step up – du Plessis

Glasgow Warriors player/coach Petrus du Plessis has called on the squad to replicate Saturday’s performance in Treviso this weekend, as the Scotstoun side prepares to welcome Exeter Chiefs for this weekend’s crucial Heineken Champions Cup encounter.

The 38-year-old became the oldest player in club history to take to the field in a Guinness PRO14 fixture for the Warriors, coming on early in the second half of Saturday’s bonus-point win away to Benetton.

“I like to train with the guys and keep myself fit – if I have to be asked to play I want to be ready to go,” explained du Plessis.

“You have to just stand up and do a good job, because how can you expect to be able to coach something if you don’t? I just wanted to jump in and help the squad as much as I could.

“I definitely felt it on Sunday morning though!”

The visit of English Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs on Saturday will mark Glasgow’s first home match of 2020, as well as serving as a vital clash in the Warriors’ pursuit of a second successive quarter-final in the top tier of European rugby. With the fixture also kick-starting a crucial run of fixtures spanning across the Six Nations, du Plessis is confident in the squad’s ability to step up when it counts.

“We scored a couple of good tries early on [against Benetton], and then let them back in a bit. The guys that came in did an excellent job though, and they took their chance,” he said.

“We converted most of our line breaks last weekend, which was really pleasing. Guys like Bruce Flockhart and Tom Gordon came in and played really well.

“Last year when the Six Nations was on, we didn’t lose a game. This is the time of year where we have to step up and do that again. Last week we got the five points, but this weekend is a whole different kettle of fish.”

A host of players rested for the trip to Treviso will once again be in contention for a place in the starting XV for Saturday’s clash, with du Plessis also offering an update on both Nick Grigg and Leone Nakarawa. Regardless of the selection, however, the Warriors assistant coach underlined the importance of executing the squad’s game plan against this weekend’s English visitors.

“Nick was up and back with us by 7pm on Saturday night,” said du Plessis.

“The hospital in Italy looked after him really well and they made sure he was all good before they sent him back to us at the hotel. We’ll see how he goes in training and factor that into selection for this weekend.

“Leone is a fantastic player, and it’s great to have him back at Scotstoun. He’ll have to learn the plays, but the players and coaches are working well with him. He’s fitted in really well.”

“The guys that were rested feel refreshed and are hungry contention to come back in against Exeter this weekend and make an impact. The tenacity Exeter show in defence is very good, though – we need to break through that with our physicality and speed of ball.

“We’ll have to be just as accurate this weekend if we want to get the right result.”

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