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Glasgow Warriors face injury wait as Murchie discusses South Africa influence

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South Africa regained the Web Ellis Cup on Saturday night as their renowned style secured an enthralling win over New Zealand in the World Cup final. The Springbok’s immense physicality has been a trademark of their success under Jacques Nienaber and Glasgow Warriors assistant Murchie insists that approach has been adopted by their club sides.

The Stormers travel to Glasgow on Friday sitting top of the URC after picking up maximum points from their opening two games and Murchie has identified similarities to the national team.

“Yeah, there are definitely hallmarks in the four teams that you can read across from the national team – they are all physical,” Murchie admitted. “All got big units of players, kicking game is big against them, the power runners and broken field. If you look at SA’s tries against France it wasn’t through amazing attacking structure. 

“Two of the tries were from kicking an up and under and before you blink, they’re under the sticks. So they have got guys who can hurt you through different areas of the pitch. All the SA teams to a certain extent, although they play differently, have some of those hallmarks.” 

The end of a thrilling World Cup in France will lead to a period of reflection and analysis from coaches around the world, keen to identify new trends in the game. 

READ MORE: South Africa on ‘never-say-die attitude’ behind World Cup triumph

Murchie has pinpointed several fascinating new philosophies at the highest level of rugby that could provide inspiration to Glasgow. 

“It’s definitely been interesting,” Murchie added. “Some trends in the game, how teams have been kicking, been a shift in that regard. The physicality that has been on show in some of the games has been off the charts, seeing how teams have adapted their tackle heights, it’s pretty topical at the moment. 

“It differs from team to team. New Zealand has changed the way they defend a little bit, usually, they are stuck on the way they play and do that to the best of their ability but they adapted and that was enough to beat Ireland.

“They’re the first team that have got on top of their attack for a long time and that was interesting to see. Obviously, South Africa’s physicality is a massive hallmark. They have a different way of playing the game to almost every single other team in the world in the way they defend and the way they attack, but it works for them, they’ve shown they can win a World Cup playing that way, to their strengths.

“We’re not necessarily going to take SA’s blueprint but it just shows that you can be different and win. It’s not about copying teams, it’s about being on the front foot and being the first to play the way that suits you. Teams obviously copy each other but you want to be the first because by the time other teams have caught on and copied the game has probably evolved and moved on.” 

Glasgow will be aiming to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Connacht when they face the Stormers under the lights at Scotstoun. Warriors head coach Franco Smtih will be sweating over the fitness of Kyle Steyn and Huw Jones, with both currently undergoing assessment after picking up ankle injuries. 

Glasgow will, however, be boosted by the return of some key Scotland international players but Murchie wasn’t too pleased with the performance levels in defeat amid difficult conditions in Connacht.  

“We were poor,” Murchie admitted. “It was a poor performance and it was definitely frustrating. We turned the ball over 23 times, which is a huge amount and they got the better of us physically in the first half. We were pretty fortunate to be ahead at half-time and we had the wind with us, which was more than a ten-point wind. 

“We were better in some aspects in the second half but our attack didn’t really click until the last 10 or 15 minutes. We were better defensively in the second half but they physically got on top of us in the first half, which we are disappointed with. 

“Sometimes things go against you, especially away from home with a partisan crowd. We couldn’t really get anything going in our game and sometimes things can compound themselves. You’ve got to switch momentum and there are loads of ways that you can do that like Kyle Rowe’s try. It was a classic momentum shifter from a restart but we just didn’t double down on that and kick on. 

“We continued to make mistakes after that and it’s about learning how to become better at managing the game when things are going against us in all forms. So it doesn’t take until half-time to get the message up to the guys to sort a few issues out, we’d prefer to get it sorted immediately and we’d probably see a different scoreline.”

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