Glasgow Warriors head coach Franco Smith says his team were not accurate enough in their EPCR Challenge Cup final defeat to RC Toulon in Dublin on Friday.
The Scottish region were blown away by their French counterparts at the Aviva Stadium, conceding six tries as they lost 43-19 in their maiden EPCR final.
Three of those scores came inside the first 25 minutes, and Smith says there will be an inquest into his team’s sluggish and error-prone start.
“It’s something I will ask the players,” he said. “It was surprising because mentally I think we were in a good place.
What a move from @GlasgowWarriors, and what a finish from the skipper 🔥
Could they? 👀#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/SsQYUsH6Gy
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 19, 2023
The first try, [Baptiste] Serin put that little grubber through, and we always knew they were going to score one try from his brilliance and they did.
“That can happen. The next two, we were inaccurate at the lineout and handed them two tries.
“So, after 20 minutes we were chasing a 0-21 scoreline in a final and it’s not easy. That’s a lesson learned — we gave them two chances and they took them both.
“Execution in one-off games is very important. In Europe, it’s much more clinical and the standard of the play is elevated in the EPCR competitions. It’s a short tournament and you don’t get another chance [in the knockout rounds].
“We have to be clinical but that has been a learning for the team throughout the season. This is season one for this group. This is not the end for us, this is just the start. It’s a stepping stone.
Still not over last night 🤩
Watch extended highlights from @RCTofficiel's #ChallengeCupRugby win 👇
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 20, 2023
“Obviously, we wanted to win it — that would have been the perfect stepping stone — but there are still improvements to be made in the five main components of our game.”
Smith was sure to congratulate a Toulon side who lifted the EPCR Challenge Cup for the first time and were largely unaffected by their starting half-back pairing of Baptiste Serin and Dan Biggar being forced off with injuries in the first half.
“Compliments to Toulon, I thought they were excellent, with their breakdown at the beginning of the game and they stopped the set-piece well and took the three chances we handed to them,” he said. “They also adapted well to a couple of head injuries.
“It’s one thing to play to get into a final, it’s another skill to win a final. This was Toulon’s fifth attempt at it. It doesn’t come overnight, and I think we’ll take a lot of learnings.
“We were unfortunate against Munster. We had a week off before this game and it’s hard to compete on two fronts.”