Since the Scrap in Scotstoun, both Stander and captain Peter O’Mahony have stated that they should have protected Murray more by putting a guard up on his blindside. Just the sort of hole Strauss was on the look-out for to implement the aggressive gameplan.
“If there’s no guard you’re going to look for that, you’re going to try and put pressure on the ruck as well to try and get those guards away so you can put pressure on.
The South African added: “We didn’t target anyone we just looked for kick pressure and didn’t look for anyone in particular. It’s just by chance he’s the number nine and that’s why it happened.”
Josh Strauss gets a hit on Conor Murray at Scotstoun last month. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Despite Munster’s victory that night, Glasgow managed to go on and qualify for the Champions Cup knockout stage and sustain the momentum building in Scotland after a commendable November in which they defeated Argentina and Georgia and fell agonisingly late to Australia. Those results, and more importantly the style of them, has combined to make Scottish rugby fans giddy with excitement and eager to hoist comparisons with the 1999 title-winners on to Vern Cotter’s current crop.
“Why is there confidence? You tell me why,” came the big bump of feet on ground after Nathan Hines was invited to blow up balloons for the celebration.
The former Leinster lock would later take the time to commend Devin Toner’s ability to lead Ireland’s pack even if “he’s got a bit less hair now” than when they shared a changing room. However, the forwards coach’s core role yesterday was drawing a line under November and re-setting Scotland’s hunger to impress.
Forwards coach Nathan Hines at the captain’s run yesterday. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
“Look, the things that make a difference at the moment are that people are playing well and are in Europe, so that’s the only thing to bring forward into this group.
“It’s all opinion. The fact is, we haven’t done anything and the games haven’t started. Until we can prove that we can win on Saturday and win games back to back, it’s all just opinion and doesn’t mean anything.”
It’s been a long build-up for all of us, Nathan. But the preamble will go off with a blast of bagpipes and a bang of fireworks this afternoon. Then, at last, the rugby can start.