Glasgow 35-24 Connacht

The great debate this week: should Glasgow rest their 6 Nations stars ahead of the Saracens European Quarter Final next Sunday, when every Pro 12 game is now a must win stay in the playoff race?

Gregor Townsend hedged his bets, bringing in the ‘House Party Massive’ halfback partnership of Finn Russell and Ali Price, as well as 6 Nations Player of the Tournament (and former owner of some shocking hairstyles) Stuart Hogg. Fraser Brown and Alex Dunbar lay in wait on a decent bench, as did George Horne, brother of captain for the day Pete. Sean Lamont started on the wing, on the week of his announcement of his retirement at the end of this campaign.

Connacht against Glasgow last year produced some gripping rugby, and this was to be no different as the 3G pitch and sunshine combined to bring the best out of both teams. PRO12 Champions Connacht struck first, with Glasgow having 2 touches of the ball in the opening 6 minutes. Phase after phase, with offloads a plenty from the Galway men eventually created enough space for Niyi Adelokun to cross the line. Craig Ronaldson, who started the day 100% on kicking in the league (from 11 attempts), missed wide to minimise the damage but Glasgow would have been worried given the quality that Connacht had shown in the opening salvos.

Having missed their internationals so badly this season, the Scotstoun fans would have been delighted to see the immediate step up in the quality of attack that was on offer with their return. First, an easy penalty got Glasgow on the board, then a strong chip and chase from Hogg and some wonderful control from Russell sent Corey Flynn smashing through on a superb line to score. The former All Black looked lively all day and got his reward. Russell sent the conversion over to give Glasgow a 5 point lead.

Connacht continued to play at a frankly ridiculous standard, with offloads on almost every ball. It was entertaining and effective, as Glasgow just could not slow it down. Ronaldson found his range with a penalty on 20 minutes, and John Muldoon crashed over on the 30-minute mark for Connacht’s second try, another multi-phase, well-constructed effort. The conversion swung the 5-point advantage back to the Irish, which did not fully represent their dominance. As it was, Russell had the opportunity to reduce the arrears before half time, with another penalty duly dispatched. A 2-point gap at halftime, having had just 15% of the possession, would have been something of a relief to Townsend’s coaching team.

Half-time: Glasgow 13-15 Connacht

Glasgow needed a response to keep this part of their season alive, and oh how they got it. First blood of the half went to Connacht, with Ronaldson stretching their lead back out to 5 points, but it was the introduction of Fraser Brown on 50 minutes that sparked the Glasgow team to life. The replacement hooker was outstanding at the breakdown, which finally gave Glasgow a little ball to play with.

Price and Russell started to snipe, and the Connacht defence could not cope. Russell danced his way over for the second Glasgow try on 51 minutes, with Price repeating the feat 5 minutes later for the thrid. The Price try was helped by Jack Carty, the Connacht fly half, spending 10 minutes on the naughty step after catching Pete Horne far too high. This incident sparked a 30-man cuddle but Bundee Aki was lucky to avoid further action with suggestions of a punch not found by the TMO. Russell converted both tries, then made way for Alex Dunbar with a 9-point lead at 27-18.

This incident sparked a 30-man cuddle but Bundee Aki was lucky to avoid further action with suggestions of a punch not found by the TMO. Russell converted both tries, then made way for Alex Dunbar with a 9-point lead at 27-18.

Glasgow have on many occasions this season made things harder than needs be through their own decision making, or failure to adjust to refereeing styles and this match was no different. At 65 minutes in with the home side finally in control, Tim Swinson got it very wrong with a swinging arm connecting with a Connacht head upon entry to a ruck. He may have been trying to dislodge the ball but it was reckless, dangerous, and was always going to result in a red card in the current climate. One would imagine Tim will be dusting off his best suit for a trip to a hearing to argue against a further ban. At least Jonny Gray will be back for the trip to Allianz.

With 14 men, Glasgow’s dream result of a 4 try bonus point seemed dead. Indeed, the mentality of ‘win the game first’ was very clear, with Pete Horne making the call to go for the posts instead of the corner when Glasgow were awarded a penalty on 75 minutes. He was successful, but Connacht replied with one of their own to keep the score at 6 points with 3 minutes left: 30 -24.

If you were looking for a fairytale saviour: enter 36-year-old Sean Lamont, who announced his retirement this week. The big wing had been quiet all day but finally got some space after a beautiful pop pass from Pete Horne. Talk of a lack of speed was put well behind him as he surged home, clinching the vital bonus with seconds to spare.

The Scotstoun faithful roared their delight, and Sean even had a wee smile to himself. Horne missed the conversion, but it was job done in terms of league points and Glasgow’s slim hopes of the playoffs continue to smoulder away.

Now for the big one…

SRBlog Man of the Match: The Sponsors award went to Ali Price, who alongside Russell was at the heart of the wonderful attacking from the Glasgow backs. My vote goes to Fraser Brown, who in his 30 minutes completely changed the game. The hooker really is in top form, and ‘The Game that Shall Not Be Named’ aside, he needs to be in Lions contention. Other mentions for Brian Alainu’uese, who carried and tackled all day, and Nick Grigg, who continues to act as a pocket-sized demolition man in midfield.

Teams

Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg, S Lamont, N Grigg, P Horne (captain), R Hughes, F Russell, A Price; A Allan; C Flynn, S Puafisi, T Swinson, B Alainu’uese, R Harley, M Smith, A Ashe.

Replacements: F Brown (for Flynn, 50), G Reid (for Allan, 53, Allan for Reid, 67), D Rae (for Puafisi, 53), S Cummings (for Ashe, 67), L Wynne (for Smith, 53), G Horne (for Price, 67), A Dunbar (for Russell, 56), P Murchie (for Hogg, 67).

Red card: Swinson, 66

Connacht: T O’Halloran, N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, S Ili, J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham, Q Roux, A Browne, S O’Brien, J Heenan, J Muldoon (captain).

Replacements: D Heffernan (for McCartney), R Loughney (for Buckley, 67), D Robertson-McCoy (for Bealham, 53), J Cannon (for Browne, 67), N Dawai (for O’Brien, 61), J Cooney (for Marmion, 26-31, 55), T Farrell (for Ronaldson, 67), J Rowland (for Adeolokun, 79).

Yellow card: Carty, 54

Referee: Ian Davies(WRU)

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Originally from the Isle of Bute, John is a Glasgow Warriors fan and retired crash ball specialist. John still enjoys the occasional rugby 'social' with his former team mates at Bute and Bishopton RFC

11 comments on “Glasgow 35-24 Connacht

  1. Mikelinds on

    Nowhere else for this yet, but surely a First – Brothers now playing 9 & 10 at Glasgow. Horne & Horne. Plenty of brothers in arms before, but 9 and 10!

    Happy to be corrected.

  2. Mikelinds on

    Could not be better, Lamont of all players goes over for the try BP. 14 men Warriors everything Edinburgh are not!

    • RuggersB on

      So glad for Lamont that he got that try. Was a nice try too.
      Lamont is a good example for young players. He gave his all in his career…and a very good career at that.

  3. john martin on

    Edinburgh & Glasgow games were like night & day.

    I thought Fraser Brown made a tremendous difference when he came on.

    Allan Massie makes a few interesting points – all the teams in the 6N had poor games but for example the English forwards don’t seemed to have suffered adversely after being beaten in Dublin, where as it looks as though a few Scottish guys may well be after Twickenham.

    What could Russell do in behind a strong Lions pack
    Agree with RuggersB re George Horne

  4. Jamie mackenzie on

    I thought Glasgow did well last night. I was impressed by smith, Brian, Rae, Flynn and brown in the forwards. Both horned looked great as did Grigg. If he can learn to pass he could turn into an unbelievable player, his angles of running are up there with the best.

    • JohnMc on

      Was extra encouraging to see real strength in the scrum, which got even stronger when the subs came on. Glasgow will need all that heft next Sunday against Sarries. It could be an absolute cracker, and I’m looking forward to going to the Allianz for the first time.
      Also agree on Grigg – good pace and tricky footwork.

  5. try hard on

    Caught the 2nd half of the Saracens Bath match and Sarries are scarily good. Glasgow will have to be at the top of their game next week to even stand a chance. Similar to England in that they operate a set game plan very effectively and have enough class on the bench to ‘finish’ teams off. If Glasgow are going to compete they’re going to have to try and disrupt this plan as much as possible.

    Other points:
    – Taylor came off the bench and looked very sharp which can only be good news for Scotland.
    – Ford was utter crap behind a retreating forward pack and continues to blow my mind that anyone would select him over Russell for the lions. Ford was given an armchair ride behind one of the most dominant packs in the NH during the 6 nations and still looked unimpressive. Russell was behind arguably the weakest and earned 2 MOM awards.
    – Maitland looked alright. Nothing flashy but apparently scored in the first half.

    • FF on

      Read a couple of match reviews and it seems Ashton is now being touted as a Lions bolter. Have to say I would be furious if he toured with the Lions whilst Seymour or Maitland didn’t.

  6. Jamie mackenzie on

    Yeah I watched the game as well. Farrell is the best 10 in Europe. He is way ahead of sexton. His passing splits defences, I think he should play 10 for England and lions.

    I still think Glasgow can match them next week if they play to their maximum.

    • CC on

      One thing I have noticed from watching 6 or 7 Sarries games is that Marcelo Bosch never ever passes to his winger. It is either run straight or kick, if Taylor is fully fit next week I would not be surprised to see him starting. COME ON GLASGOW!!!!

    • JohnMc on

      Farrell’s temperament is suspect, and it’s easy to see him being wound up by the oppo in the run-up to and then in the Tests. Yet he is an excellent footballer who on form in my book deserves a place at 10 or 12 against New Zealand, as playmaker as well as kicker. At a stretch, could see even him at 13.

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