FORMER Scotland captain John Barclay has urged Glasgow Warriors fans to counterbalance their frustration with the team’s recent run of poor results with some recognition of the challenges Danny Wilson’s squad have faced this season. 

The ex-flanker, who spent eight seasons with Glasgow between 2005 and 2013, believes that some realism is required when it comes to managing expectations of both Scottish teams, and argues that an increase in investment is required if they are to be serious contenders in the United Rugby Championship and European Champions Cup. 

Barclay, who also had a spell with Edinburgh at the tail-end of his career between 2018 and 2020, was speaking ahead of this weekend’s URC final eight play-offs, which sees Warriors take on the might of Leinster in Dublin on Saturday afternoon and Edinburgh face the Stormers in Dublin later that evening. 

“Glasgow have had a tricky run of fixtures,” he said. “They played one at altitude in South Africa against the Bulls, who have an enormous pack, and were just outmuscled. But the biggest disappointment was the Edinburgh game last weekend when I think they just got too caught up in the emotional side and forgot to also have a look at the technical and tactical part of it. Their discipline was very poor.  

“So, I don’t think they are in a good spot. You certainly wouldn’t plan to go into a play-off game off the back of four losses on the spin, but it is what it. It’s do-or-die, and they just have to front up.  

“Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ve got enough in their form or in their play to compete with Leinster for 80 minutes. In fairness, I think the difference between most sides and Leinster is pretty vast at the moment. 

“There it a lot of talent in that [Glasgow] squad, but they’re just not quite clicking and there are too many frailties to their game.”  

With so many frontline players failing to deliver in recent weeks, Wilson may be tempted to mix-up selection this week, but Barclay expects it to be a case of same again, with only a few relatively minor tweaks. 

“I just don’t think they have got the depth to do that [mis it up], sadly,” he explained. 

“I think Glasgow are lacking a bit of power up front, but they’ve got enough there that they should be able to pass muster with George Turner playing well at hooker and Zander Fagerson at tight-head prop,” he added.  “They are a bit light in the second-row and obviously missing a few in the back-row as well. It is not a great position to be in when you’ve got to go over to the RDS and compete against one of the best teams in Europe.

“In any situation when you’ve had four losses and that manner of defeat against Edinburgh, you’d always try to look to the senior players to give a bit of guidance, but apart from Ryan Wilson – who I thought played very well – a lot of the other senior guys didn’t have their best game last week. 

“When you have one of your most senior players [Rob Harley] getting sin-binned for a crazy offence when you are up against it, that speaks to a team that’s under pressure, panicking a bit and is frustrated.” 

Having delivered this gloomy assessment, Barclay adds that making a scapegoat of Danny Wilson will not address the fundamental problems facing the Warriors. 

“I know Danny from my time in Wales and with Scotland, and he’s a very good coach who has recruited well with the guys he’s brought in such as Josh McKay and Jack Dempsey,” said Barclay. “But they’ve been decimated this year by international call-ups, and young guys who have come through who you hope will be there like Rory Darge have been called up by the Scotland team as well.  

“And they have a lot of guys on the injury list at the moment, so I think they are lacking a bit of depth and lacking a bit of power.  

“If you look at the teams they have been up against during that run [of four losses], they all have incredible power. Edinburgh were probably the lightest of the four and they still have a lot more power than Glasgow.  

“So, I think the pressure on Danny will be because that’s rugby as a business now, but both Scottish teams, and particularly Glasgow, will be looking for a cash injection, because the reality of the situation is the types of players the coaches and the fans want to have in their squads are not cheap.”  

Wilson has already signed four players in Huw Jones, JP du Preez, Sione Vailanu and Sintu Manjezi for next season, and has said he has two more still to announce. It has been reported that one of those recruits will be 34-cap Scotland loose-head Allan Dell from London Irish. 

John Barclay will join the Premier Sports team of Ross Harries, Rob Kearney, Stephen Ferris and Ryle Nugent for full build-up and live coverage of Leinster v Glasgow Warriors on Premier Sports 2 from 3pm (UK).