Gregor Townsend praises Warriors despite loss to Leinster

Dejected Warriors

Head coach Gregor Townsend thought Glasgow Warriors were the better side despite losing 17-15 to Leinster in the Pro12 semi-final play-off in Dublin.

It is the third time in four years that Glasgow have fallen at this stage.

"You've got to take the initiative to get into finals," Townsend told BBC Radio Scotland. "We did that and we came so, so close.

"We'll look back and think we played the better rugby but a couple of our mistakes cost us dearly."

Warriors' player of the season Niko Matawalu scored a try to give the visitors a 10-3 lead at the RDS but Leinster's Jamie Heaslip crossed the line to help them towards a 11-10 half-time lead.

Two Jonathan Sexton penalties put the hosts further in front at 17-10 but replacement Mark Bennett ensured excellent attacking play from Townsend's men culminated in a second try within the final 10 minutes.

However, Stuart Hogg failed to convert the crucial difficult kick which would have brought Glasgow level.

"I'm so proud of the players this season and certainly in the game there," Townsend said.

"They gave everything and came very close to beating a quality side. That's double European champions we're playing at their home ground with six [British & Irish] Lions and we were really physical.

"A lot of the build-up play, running from our own 22, was fantastic and there was some good passing under pressure. Some of the offloads were very risky and that's when you just have to hold ball.

"I could tell just before half-time that they [Leinster] were starting to crack.

"You've got to create and take your own opportunities. We created so much today and we need to take them more next time."

The season is now over for Glasgow but Townsend thinks the level of performance in Saturday's contest bodes well for the 2013/14 campaign.

"We'll be a better team from the experience and we're learning," he added.

"There were a few offloads that didn't go to hand and just building through the phases, but you could tell the team were learning during the 80 minutes.

"I see the competition that we have for places and that's what's created the success this year."

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