A clash of kits and a clash of forwards was the name of the game at Scotstoun stadium this evening, as Glasgow Warriors took on Irish visitors Connacht.
Glasgow took the lead in the opening minutes thanks to the boot of Scott Wight, and Glasgow asserted an early dominance in attack although Connacht were spirited in their resistance, and the packs were very evenly matched.
It took a break from Sean Lamont to end the stalemate in the middle of the pitch, and he crossed the line 17 minutes into the game. Wight failed to add the extras though with his kick from out wide.
The game returned to a melee between the forwards with both sides testing each other’s defensive lines. With both kits looking remarkably similar involving blue and white, telling one side from the other also became something of a battle for onlookers.
25 minutes in Pete Horne broke the line and sprinted forward, passing crisply to Sean Lamont who then slipped the ball out of the back of his hand with perfect timing for the sprinting Peter Murchie to score the Warriors’ second try of the evening. This time Wight’s conversion was successful and the Warriors were 15-0 up with 15 minutes of the half remaining.
Not long to be outdone Connacht responded with a try of their own, a swift kick forward and the loose ball was chased down by left wing Mark McCrea. There were a few minutes of indecision as the TMO was called upon to see whether or not McCrea or Henry Pyrgos grounded the ball first, but the decision went the visitors’ way and fly half Matthew Jarvis added the extras taking the score to 15-7 as the remaining minutes of the half ticked away.
On the stroke of half time Connacht added 3 points to their tally after the Warriors were penalised taking the total for the first half to Glasgow Warriors 15 – 10 Connacht.
A swift half time kit change saw the home side retake the field in white (and blue, still), which certainly eased identification, though not in all cases – Dougie Hall and Adrian Flavian were separated at birth perhaps?
Only 6 minutes into the half, the try scoring machine that is DTH Van Der Merwe swallow dived across the line, and Wight added to his points tally, and the Warriors built themselves a comfortable lead 22-10.
In shock turnaround though, Connacht tighthead prop Nathan White caused confusion all around at Scotstoun as he seized his opportunity seconds later and scored for the visitors. It was such a quick turnaround that no-one was entirely sure what had just happened. But Jarvis added the two points to close the gap to 22-17.
Both sides decided that a game of football was in order, there was plenty of possession being kicked away in an attempt to get the upper hand. A wave of changes for both sides would hopefully inject some life into what had been a fairly dull game.
A 65th minute Glasgow fumble at the line out gave Connacht the chance to really drive forward, but the attempt came to naught but a scrum, following a water and medical break as the war of attrition began to take its toll.
A 69th minute run down the wing by DTH Van Der Merwe earned the home side their fourth try of the night and a bonus point. Substitute fly half Ruaridh Jackson missed his conversion attempt, but the Warriors had a ten point lead going into the final stretch.
Determined not to let Connacht respond, another wave of attacks was launched, with the pack driving down the line, however referee Allain Rolland awarded the visitors the penalty to the disappointment of the home crowd, giving Connacht a respite.
Full time came and the Warriors were able to record their first home win of the season and second victory in a row. Attendance at Scotstoun was 3,646, and the home side will be looking to take their winning streak into next week when they face RaboDirect Pro12 newcomers Zebre.
SRBlog Man of the Match: Sean Lamont – eager for work and his was the one moment of pure class to create the second try. DTH VDM coming up hard on the rails again, coming back from some early knocks to score two tries.