Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie believes the only measure of success in the Pro14 is winning the title.
Rennie succeeded Gregor Townsend in the summer and Saturday’s trip to face Connacht will be his first competitive match in charge,
Warriors finished sixth last season, and Rennie wants his squad to aim higher.
“I don’t want the players to think that finishing fourth is good enough,” the New Zealander said.
“Last year, probably when they had all the international players out, they struggled from an onfield point of view, so we’ve got a job to do to build more depth.
“We’ve brought in a handful of guys who can’t play for Scotland during that time, which is important. We’ve got huge aspirations.
“You work hard and once you’re in the play-offs, you’re two or three weeks away from winning a title.”
Rennie guided his former club, the Chiefs, to two Super Rugby titles in his native New Zealand and has been impressed by the quality and attitude of the players at Warriors.
After back-to-back titles, he then led the Chiefs to the play-offs twice and the semi-finals twice before leaving for Glasgow, and he is optimistic about the team’s progress as they prepare to kick-off the new Pro14 season on Saturday.
“The Scottish [international] boys have been filtering back in. We’ve still got some guys on leave and a handful of injuries but that’s probably good for us,” Rennie said.
“We’ve got a lot of young fellows who have worked hard over the last 10 weeks and probably have the right to have a crack.
“With Gregor being here the last few years, he plays a real positive style of footie and that suits what I want. Between all us coaches we’re trying to build on that and make subtle changes.
“We’re getting there. It’s going to be a gradual process, but we’re fortunate that we’ve got some very good players, a lot of experience and a group of men with a positive mindset.”
As well as seeking a high-tempo game, with “quick taps and lineouts”, Rennie is also known for building a winning and family-orientated culture at the Chiefs.
‘We want our boys to be more powerful and explosive’
“If you look at a lot of American professional sport, they turn up for work and then go home,” he said.
“To be successful, you’ve got to be really tight on and off the field. So we’re making sure that we’re enjoying what we’re doing but the boys are working hard and are in good nick.
“We had a huge number of PBs in pre-season, our head fitness coach, Phil Healy, is working really closely with the trainers.
“We want our boys to be a little bit more powerful and explosive, so the gym programme’s reflected that and we’re starting to see the benefits of that. From a culture point of view, you’ve got to put a lot of time into it, it’s as important as the stuff we do on the grass. Attitude’s awesome, but I guess time will tell.”