SOME people might have been surprised by the spirited fightback against Glasgow mounted by the Ayrshire Bulls on Friday night. Not Tom Jordan.

Having played for the Alloway club for two seasons before signing for the Warriors late last year, the Auckland-born centre knew exactly what to expect. And, just in case he had forgotten, his former team-mates sent him a few friendly messages in the build-up to the game to remind him of how keenly they would contest the friendly fixture at Inverness’ Caledonian Stadium.

True, Glasgow won 22-17 in the end. But the Bulls were in the battle right until the end, scoring two late tries after apparently being out of the running when they fell 22-3 behind around the hour.

“It was good to see some familiar faces out there,” said Jordan, who was a dominant figure in midfield for the Bulls when they won last season’s Super6 final. “I had a few messages from them before and they were pretty chatty to say the least.

“But no, it was good to get out there and play against them. They’re all good lads. It was actually pretty good to catch up with them after, because I haven’t seen some of them for a little while.”

In common with his coach Franco Smith, for whom this was the first match in charge of Glasgow, Jordan saw some positive signs in his team’s play but also acknowledged there was a lot to work on. Certainly, he knows a substantial improvement is likely to be needed if they are to get a positive result against Ulster on Friday in their second and last pre-season friendly.

“I think in the first half we put together some things, but there were some little individual errors that unfolded our play a little bit. So we need to pick up the execution on those points.

“The second half was just a bit flat. We took our foot off the pedal and as you could see Ayr really picked up and ended really well. They put us under a lot of pressure at the end, so credit to them.

“We can be a lot better. First game, bit of rust, there’s a lot of work-ons, definitely. We’ve done the hard work. It’s just under those pressure moments, executing those last bits of skill, that will put us in good stead going into next week against Ulster. It’s our first home game back at Scotstoun, so we want to put in a performance that we’re proud of.”

Pride was certainly the operative word for Bulls coach Pat MacArthur, who played for Glasgow for more than a decade. His team had only agreed to the fixture on Wednesday night after financially-stricken Worcester pulled out, but they acquitted themselves exceptionally well, especially in those closing 10 minutes when other semi-pro sides might well have given up the ghost on finding themselves 19 points down against professional opponents.

“I’m proud of the way the boys conducted themselves on the park,” MacArthur said. “It was quite a quick turnaround from getting the call [to play] to having a quick discussion with the senior boys, and everyone was keen as hell to come out and really test themselves. And I think playing against really quality teams lets you learn a lot about your boys. From one to 26 the boys went out there and really gave it a shot.

“We stuck to our system. We play the same way no matter what team we’re going against, and that means the forwards have got to take them on up front, the backs have got to choose their moment to go at them. And credit to the forwards, against a really experienced pack they really stuck in there and got a great reward at the end with a maul try. And the backs took their opportunities well.

“We can take a lot of positives out of the game, but the boys have to understand that this is an experience, as exposure it’s great, but use it as a springboard to keep pushing on. We have to kick on for our next game.”

That next game is on Saturday, when the Bulls meet the Southern Knights in a Super6 round-five fixture that was postponed to let them take on the Warriors.