Nigel Carolan believes Glasgow Warriors showed their strength of character with their second half fight back against Bulls on Saturday.

The Irishman was impressed by how his team showed up after a tough first opening hour when they found themselves 37-10 down. A spirited comeback saw them close the gap and it finished 40-34, with Glasgow taking two bonus points out of the game.

It was a difficult day in the heat of South Africa while a yellow card for Kyle Steyn in the first half didn’t help matters but Franco Smith’s men battled hard and showed their mettle to come close to a famous victory.

More of the same can be expected from this weekend when they take on Lions, but things might be a bit easier when it comes to kick-off with it being a bit later in the day and a bit more shade cover in the stadium.

But despite their preparations for the Bulls game which included some intense breathing work before heading out to South Africa, it still took time for the players to get used to things.

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Carolan said: “I thought we prepared really well for it. We are a pretty well conditioned team and we’d worked a lot on some breathing exercises that we’d done but we knew in the heat of the battle that we were at altitude and it was 30 degrees.

“We played at the height of the sun, it was tough. And then when we get a yellow card we had to defend and it was so attritional. And because our energy was sapped it meant then that that our connections in attack were compromised which meant we couldn’t move the ball about as much as we wanted so we end up making more contact than we normally would and it just saps the energy, but at the same time there was the positive that we had the focus to stay on the bull for as long as possible, to use a rodeo term.

“I thought those last 15 minutes were exceptional and unfortunately we just ran out of time. If we’d had another five minutes, or we’d got our act together five minutes earlier, it could have been a different story. We’ll take the positives from it. Two points was probably not a bad return considering the altitude. It is a difficult place to go and play and we also played in the middle of the day which is unusual for us at this time of year.

“At 31-10 down, we needed to start scoring. We got a couple of scrum strikes and started to get momentum and once we got the first try, the second and third ones came quickly and they were rattled. In the end we just ran out of time. But it demonstrated the strength of character in the group is really strong, it’s testament to their fitness and conditioning and to their bravery.

“They kept playing, they didn’t die and just accept they were going to get whooped. They fought their way back in and to firstly get the bonus point for tries and secondly, to defend that last scrum really well and in the next ruck, Duncan Weir and Jamie Dobie blasting them off the breakdown for the penalty, two of our backs fighting for scraps at the death.

“Then for Duncan to have the calmness and composure to slot the ball from 40m…Chris Smith, the Bulls fly-half, was under the posts applauding him in appreciation. That was a nice touch.

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“The Lions will be the same but different, if you know what I mean! It’s the same in that, yeah, they’re a South African team, they thrive on chaos and transition situations and unstructured play. They pounce on any mistakes or loose kicks.

“It’s a little bit later in the day, it’s a four o’clock kick-off [South African time] and the Emirates stadium should be in shadow. It’s amazing the difference here between when you’re out in sunlight and in shadow, there’s a massive change in temperature. So having that later kick-off will suit us, I think.

“If you read any of the papers here, they’re talking about Glasgow standing in the way of the Lions making the top eight. One or two of the coaches I know in South Africa are telling us how motivated the Lions are for this game in particular because they’ve been together a while as a team and they see this as a massive opportunity to get to another level since their glory days in Super Rugby six or seven years ago.

“They’ve been slowly building and they’re a very, very dangerous team so it’s important that we’re as professional as possible. That means we don’t take unnecessary risks, we are very calculated with how we kick and how we play and where we play in terms of pitch position.

“We need to be squeaky clean in our systems. They may get a score or two so we’ve just got to make sure we stay on task.”

Warriors travelled to South Africa with a 31-man squad and should have all of them available this weekend, and they’re all enjoying themselves during their two weeks in South Africa as they continue to build a team bond despite there not being an awful lot to do off the pitch.

He continued: “Despite the fact that we lost against the Bulls the mood is really high. The way we fought back into the game, the last 15 minutes, it’s really knitted the group together again. They fought really hard for each other and that’s testament to the character in the group that they have that ability to stay in the fight or, as I said, stay on the bull for as long as possible.

“So they’re really enjoying each other's company. The sun is shining and they’re not lounging around but they are enjoying the weather. There’s not much to do outside of what’s in the compound here but they’re happy to chill out and enjoy each other's company.

“Despite the loss there’s a good atmosphere in the group.”