Glasgow Warriors head coach Franco Smith admitted he was frustrated with elements of his side’s performance against Zebre but believes a close encounter could be beneficial in the long run.  

The Warriors only edged an end-to-end game inside the final quarter thanks to tries from Sebastian Cancelliere and Johnnny Matthews, while Tom Jordan’s injury-time try added polish. 

READ MORE: Glasgow Warriors scrape past Zebre on tense evening at Scotstoun

While conceding there were parts that Glasgow will not get away with repeating in a quarter-final next weekend, Smith was pleased with the way his side wrestled back control from the league’s basement side.  

Smith said: “I’m happy that we had to go and dig deep a couple of times, because that’s what it’s going to take.  

“It’s one thing I’ve noticed, and it’s not just from us. If you look at the important Scotland games over a long time, I know that as a player and as a sportsperson, the mental side of things plays a huge role.  

"I think we’ll get benefit from the fact that we had to go looking for ways to win the game. I think that’s what’s going to be needed [in the play-offs]. 

“We’re going to make errors next week, nervous errors. We don’t want to lose in front of this crowd. The opportunity to play at home is a big thing and it’s maybe a bit of added pressure. 

“I feel tonight was a good opportunity for us to practice that ability to go and find a way to win.” 

He was also critical of the decision to disallow Cancelliere a first-half try. In real time, it appeared the Argentina wing knocked on in the act of scoring, but replays appeared to contradict that.  

Scotland Rugby News: Smith disputed the decision to disallow two potential Glasgow tries in the first halfSmith disputed the decision to disallow two potential Glasgow tries in the first half (Image: SNS)

Kyle Rowe also had a try chalked off in the first half for crossing.  

Unprompted post-match, Smith offered his view on those two incidents.  

He added: “I was not happy with the try that was chalked off when Seb scored. Basically both those tries I thought could just as well have been in our favour. That would probably not have led to the try that we gave away before half-time and took away all of the momentum. 

“So yeah, like the Lions did [two weeks ago] they just pounced on our errors. That’s where the frustrating part comes in.  

“Too many unforced errors. I can understand why it happened, but it’s something that we won’t get away with in our [quarter-]final.” 

Richie Gray and Huw Jones got through just over an hour before being removed on their returns from injury.  

Gray hadn’t played since Scotland’s win in Cardiff at the beginning of the Six Nations, while Jones’ last outing was in the championship finale against Ireland.  

Scotland Rugby News: Richie Gray made his return from four months out injured against ZebreRichie Gray made his return from four months out injured against Zebre (Image: SNS)

Smith said: “They’re both a little bit rusty and that’s understandable because they haven’t played since the Six Nations but they both grew in confidence during the game. 

“Richie was actually really, really good in the first part of the game. I’m happy that both came through the game unscathed. It was another important part of the mission this week. 

The Glasgow boss was also optimistic Max Williamson might be fit for the quarter-final next weekend.  

Scotland Rugby News: Franco Smith is hopeful Max Williamson will be fit for Glasgow's quarter-finalFranco Smith is hopeful Max Williamson will be fit for Glasgow's quarter-final (Image: SNS)

The young lock went off inside the first quarter, but Smith said he passed a post-match head injury assessment (HIA).  

“He’s good,” the South African said when asked about the health of one of the season’s breakout players.  

“He passed his HIA after the game, so we’ll see how he goes on Monday. There will be two or three tests to pass before we can clear him, but it looks positive.”