YOU suspect Franco Smith would have watched Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci’s groundbreaking sequence of seven perfect scores of 10 at the 1976 Olympics and sniffed: “Could be better.”

The Glasgow Warriors head coach’s insatiable quest for constant improvement must be exhausting at times for his staff and players but it is a mindset that will serve them well this week as they approach what is surely their toughest assignment of the season.

Running in seven tries against Scarlets on Saturday night to move into second place in the United Rugby Championship was a show of strength against admittedly weak opposition, with all facets of Glasgow’s attacking and defensive game coming together in perfect harmony.

There were no excessive celebrations come the end, not even from Kyle Rowe who knows that even scoring a hat-trick won't guarantee him a prolonged run in the team given the squad options now available for all positions.

Smith’s consistent stance that more can be drawn from this group will come into its own as they turn their attention towards the first knockout tie of the season, away to Harlequins on Friday night.

The Gallagher Premiership side, now led by Smith’s predecessor at Scotstoun, Danny Wilson, also won at the weekend albeit in less convincing fashion, surviving a late fightback from Finn Russell’s Bath to squeak home by four points.

Smith was not of a mind to dissect Harlequins’ strengths or weaknesses, preferring to focus on his own side who he believes will need to reach new levels of greatness if they are to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

“We are looking forward to keeping on improving and with Harlequins next it is going to be an important test for us,” said the South African.

“Europe is going into a stage that feels like a final which is a bit different to where the URC is currently. Of course, there’s going to be a do-or-die match to be played and we will have to lift our standard once again.

“I’m not going to make too much about them [Harlequins]. For us going into the final part of the season we have to play better. I think it will be important for us to become consistent, to have everybody integrated and to have our processes functioning so we can challenge at the best level.

“I’m happy with the win [against Scarlets] but there are still a lot of things that we can improve on which makes it fantastic. I’m happy with the way the boys presented themselves, the energy, the eagerness and the willingness to work hard for each other. That made me very proud.

“I do feel that on Saturday night there was some good stuff but we also missed a lot of opportunities. We created a lot but we weren’t always able to convert that to points.”

Three of Warriors’ seven scores came from the driving maul that found top gear again after seeing its effectiveness blunted in previous weeks.

“We always work hard in the maul but other teams work much harder to stop them,” explained Smith. “So compliments to the people who prepare to stop us from scoring from them. That takes a lot of work in the week as it does for us. It’s good to have reward on Saturday night. Because teams saw that we had a good maul they worked out plans to try to prevent us but to find that opportunity again was heart-warming.”

Rowe’s form has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of Glasgow’s season, especially during the period when Kyle Steyn, Sebastian Cancelliere and Ollie Smith were all out injured, leaving them very light in the back three.

He was a player familiar to Smith from Rowe’s time at London-Scottish and the head coach believes there is still more to come from the Scotland winger.

“I think his experience with the Six Nations helped a lot with his confidence,” he added. “He’s a talent that still needs to be unearthed. There’s a lot of development in his skillset that can take place. He’s making some big steps in the right direction.

“I knew of him [before Rowe signed last summer] and had seen him play for London-Irish. I’ve got good friends there, Cornell van Zyl was coaching the forwards so I had a bit of information around him. So I knew of his potential.”

The player is unsurprisingly enjoying his rugby again after a year out with a serious ACL knee injury.

“That was one of my main goals this season, to get back to how I was playing before I did my knee," said Rowe. "I feel like I’m back at the stage I was before I blew my knee up. I feel like I’ve hit the ground running after the Six Nations.

“Obviously there are so many great players in the back three at Glasgow. I wouldn’t really want to be Franco having to pick the team and leave people out. 

“There is loads of competition. I hope I’ve done enough to keep my place but we’ll have to wait and see.”