Year one of the Dave Rennie experience at Glasgow Warriors got off to the perfect start before finishing with a juddering halt.

In his final weeks as a Warrior, Stuart Hogg is desperate to ensure there will be no repeat, starting with Friday’s Guinness Pro14 semi-final against Ulster.

The Warriors had made the best-ever start to a Pro14 season with ten straight wins to start the 2017-18 campaign, but after wrapping up a play-off spot they stuttered down the stretch before being dumped out at the semi-final stage by the Scarlets at Scotstoun.

For Hogg, who will join Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership next season, the lessons of last season’s painful loss have well and truly been taken on board. And funnily enough, he believes a sobering European quarter-final defeat to eventual champions Saracens was the turning point.

The full-back said: “The biggest thing is that we’ve learned from last year. We came in after the Six Nations and pretty much got a play-off place straightaway.

“We had a massive dip in form and come the business end of the season we weren’t firing.

“We pretty much stood back and watched the Scarlets play and you can’t let a team with that much quality the time and space on the ball. Ulster will be the exact same on Friday night.

“We’ve got to look at the Saracens game in Europe, albeit it was a chance to go a step further, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to us in that it gave us a rocket up the backside that we needed.

“It stood us in good stead and the best thing is we’ve had a good reaction on the back of that.

“Touch wood we seem to be performing quite well and here’s hoping we can continue that.”

Hogg is not lying when he says Glasgow have been performing well. They have won eight in a row in the league, including an end-of-season run of three wins against next opponents, Ulster, defending champions, Leinster, and then Edinburgh, who had beaten them in each of the first two 1872 Cup clashes.

What may seem strange is that by the time they run out against Ulster, it will have been three weeks since that all-Scottish clash.

A home semi-final saw them get a week off for the quarters, while last weekend was dedicated to the European finals.

Hogg and his teammates have not let that bother them, instead taking advantage to cast a closer eye over what Ulster will offer.

He added: “Three weeks off, I don’t think we’ve had that before. But it’s something out of our control but we gave ourselves a home semi-final which is the best possible outcome we can have at this stage.

“The last couple of weeks have been good, we’ve learned a lot about each other and have been trying to get our game plan in order. We’ve been concentrating on ourselves but also looking at Ulster and the threats they are going to pose so we know it will be a ding-dong battle.”

Friday night will be Hogg’s final game at Scotstoun for Glasgow, and possibly his final game in Warriors colours full stop.

However the 26-year-old insists he will now allow himself to be distracted by the emotion of the occasion.

He added: “For me, it’s going out there and doing my individual role as I normally do. It’s about making sure I do everything I can possibly can to help the team get the win.

“After that I can look at personal things but first and foremost I want to help give us every opportunity to take a step closer to picking up trophies.”

  • Stuart Hogg is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover understands and shares the values of rugby. Follow @LandRoverRugby