Franco Smith lamented a slow start from his Glasgow side, but praised their second half fightback as they snatched two valuable URC points in Pretoria.  

The Warriors were 34-10 down going into the final quarter, but a late rally saw them rescue two losing bonus points from the 40-34 defeat. 

READ MORE: Five things we learned as Glasgow fightback not enough against Bulls

Smith said: ”The plan was not to fall behind as we did in the first half. We had a plan to manage the second part of the game so I am most proud of the fact that we were down 24-10 at half time and came back and put in the performance we did in the second half.” 

Glasgow got on the wrong side of referee Ben Whitehouse and spent 10 minutes down to 14 men following a first half yellow card to Kyle Steyn for a dangerous tackle.  

That was just one aspect that frustrated Smith, who added: “There were too many lineouts lost, too many penalties given against us, the penalty count was hugely against us in this game. I will have to go and have a look at that.  

“Once we got more attacking platforms in the second part of the game, I thought we made a big difference.” 

Despite being 24 points down late on, such was Glasgow’s fightback that Smith admitted he was disappointed they did not win the game.

He said: “We were challenged mentally and physically. The character of the team was tested and we passed that test.  

“I am absolutely gutted we lost because I felt we were good enough to have won the game. 

"There were a lot of positives, growth and lessons learned that we will take into the next part of the season.” 

Scotland Rugby News: Elrigh Louw scored a crucial try for the Bulls at the end of the first halfElrigh Louw scored a crucial try for the Bulls at the end of the first half (Image: Getty Images)

Smith also explained why he changed the whole Glasgow front-row on the half-hour.  

“There’s not a rule that says you must play your bench second, so we just played the bench first,” he said.  

"Our whole [starting] front row are coming back from injury. I always knew that the second part of the game was going to be important.  

“The strategy was to get these boys out there, play their hearts out for that period, and I thought they did well and it allowed our second group 10 minutes on the field then a break at half-time.” 

While he was pleased with the fitness his side showed, and some notable contributions from the bench, Smith was again left frustrated by the first half performance.  

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When asked about his players’ fitness, he said: “I have to remind them you don’t only have to have second-half performances. I think we can be more accurate in the first part of the game.  

“In four or five important games we’ve shown some good second-half fightback and clawed our way back, so there is good character and we’re fit enough to do that. But we must be more accurate from the start.” 

But Smith knows there is more to come from his side, who face the Lions in Johannesburg next Saturday.  

He said: “We haven’t achieved our pinnacle and we can still build on what we’ve achieved up to now.”