Glasgow 17 – 19 Connacht
Sorry for the lack of appearances from the Scottish Rugby Blog’s Glasgow correspondent but in my return to competitive rugby I have done far more nursing my injuries than pounding keys. Warriors have got off to an awful start this season, showing sparks but looking confused and missing that killer instinct that a Parks , Beattie or a T. Evans may provide, or the tireless work ethic of a Kelly Brown. This is all as their Glasgow neighbours, just a stones throw away from Firhill at Old Anniesland are impressing against all comers with the creativity of Mikey Adamson and the unique pace and instinct of the Gossman brothers. The two have swapped roles in the Glasgow rugby world, while we used to ask what happened to the once dominant Hawks team, Glasgow rugby fans now ask what is happening to its only professional team.
On Friday evening the Firhill fans attempted to mislead themselves into thinking the referee was screwing them over once again, but Glasgow had plenty of opportunities to put the visitors away. The enduring factor from the first half was that Jackson’s place kicking ranges from confusing to awful. His one impressive kick came when he kicked the ball out for half time, rendering it completely pointless. Glasgow repeatedly broke but when it came down to it, the only answer they had was to give it to Max Evans who just couldn’t dodge his way past the Connacht defenders. His partner in midfield Graeme Morrisson continued his great form from last season and he was one of the few Glasgow players to look impressive in attack, grabbing the first try following Jackson’s early penalty. But in defence Glasgow looked pathetic as both DTH and Gregor palmed at Fionn Carr as he narrowed the home side’s lead. The teams then exchanged penalties going into half time.
Poor kicking continued to be the order of the day by Jackson. The saying in American football is that Quarterback-ing is 80% presence and confidence. If Stand off is the QB of the rugby pitch then Jackson is indeed, at the moment, showing himself to be 80% of nothingness. Glasgow got themselves into positions where they could go wide but constantly, numbers 1,2 and 3 were waiting in the wings, rendering any overlap useless. Finally a useful Jackson grubber showed some effectiveness off his boot and it set up Hefin O’Hare for an almost certain try, however, as is the rugby league convert’s want, he popped the crowd’s anticipation with a pin that was an almighty fumble. It was all unfinished business from Glasgow, lovely defensive work by Max Evans forcing a knock on ended in nothing from the resulting scrum, a lovely break from Colin Gregor ended in Gregor waiting for the opposition to catch up and a terrible pass killing all of his earlier invention, and the Glasgow fan behind me ended each minute with a joke about the referee’s wearing specsavers as a sponsor. Connacht continued to kick to Hefin O’Hare whenever they had the opportunity but when Glasgow had the ball there was a change in urgency mid way through the second half when Jackson was replaced by Weir.
Duncan Weir dump tackles everybody without a shred of bias, kicks with complete arrogance and spreads the ball with pace that changed the way Glasgow were able to attack. It was disappointing that after such a strong performance by the stand in stand off, the game ended with a drop goal attempt that he failed to knock between the posts. It was a game of penalties and neither side showcased what they could do in attack. In fairness to Glasgow, they are a side still finding their feet after losing a significant amount of their most influential players. Connacht were not exceptionally talented, but were exceptionally organised and Glasgow are a side who continue to chop and change and are still looking to find their best line up.
A year or two ago it would have been doubtful whether the Firhill faithful would be mourning the loss of Kelly Brown and Dan Parks so it is entirely possible, if not likely that a new Parks and Brown will come to the forefront. What is unlikely however is whether a new Beattie will come to the forefront and Glasgow are unfortunate to be missing their most talented player for such a large chunk of the season. But fans from the (Western -ed.) heart of Scotland were soon buoyed following the Warriors loss by a terrific win by the Hawks against Ayr… so it’s not all bad.