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Townsend after semi-final repeat

Published 21/05/2015

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend hopes to lead the club to successive Guinness Pro12 finals
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend hopes to lead the club to successive Guinness Pro12 finals

Gregor Townsend insists Glasgow will use the memories of last year's semi-final joy - and not defeat in the Dublin decider - to inspire them to Guinness Pro12 glory.

The Warriors finished top of the table for the first time in their history to book a home play-off with Ulster on Friday night.

The Scotstoun side are now just one game away from making it to back-to-back finals.

They lost out last year on a maiden Pro12 crown when they suffered a 34-12 loss across the Irish Sea at Leinster's RDS ground.

But Townsend is not allowing the pain of that sorry defeat to sour his team's build-up. Instead, he has urged his side to recreate the ecstatic feelings they experienced in last year's semi-final as they edged Munster 16-15 in a thrilling encounter.

He said: "We're not really thinking about last year's final right now.

"If there's a reference point it is last year's semi-final with the effort that we put in and the feeling we got after it when we got the win.

"I can already feel the anticipation and edge from the players we got them again now that we are back here in that same position.

"Normally when you are in that environment you see the players performing really well.

"Our home record is good but will that give us a psychological boost? Who knows. We are strong at home but last year we only won the semi-final by a point so we know we will have to put in more than we have done in any home game this year."

Friday night's clash will also double as skipper Al Kellock's Scotstoun farewell before he retires.

Backs Niko Matawalu and DTH van der Merwe are also moving on in the summer but Townsend is certain his players will not be caught up in the occasion.

"I think there will be a lot of positive emotions going round," he said. "I felt it was a joyous place last week in our last league game with Ulster when the tries started coming and the fans started responding to what the players were doing on the field.

"We're hoping for a similar atmosphere this time.

"We've had celebrations for players like Dougie Hall and Al Kellock who are retiring at the end of the campaign.

"We're glad we have done that because the focus now is all on the semi-final. We will then deal with what happens after that after the game."

Townsend has made two personnel changes and one positional switch as his team prepare to do battle with their Belfast opponents for the second time in a week.

Coming into the side which started the 32-10 win over Ulster last Saturday is scrum-half Henry Pyrgos and Matawalu moves from the half-backs to the left wing in place of Sean Lamont.

In the forwards Fraser Brown returns to the line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury as he replaces Hall at hooker.

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