As the sun set on Scotstoun and the slightly makeshift Glasgow and Ospreys teams, a big home crowd expected much from Al Kellock’s Warriors. After all, they may have led the league all season but Edinburgh had beaten them the week before…
It started well with Ali Price ensuring quick ball from the base of the ruck and Niko Matawalu hotstepping and jinking through the Ospreys defence to set the tone for Glasgow’s offloading game.
He had another chance soon after as Glasgow put together several phases of careful possession then Pete Horne – filling in at 10 this week – ghosted through a gap. The pass was timed about right, but Niko had overrun it slightly and it came to nothing. Glasgow looked confident, and won’t have been unduly overcome either by the Ospreys losing two men to injury in the opening 11 minutes.
Glasgow were looking to counter-attack quickly and often. With the power and pace of Murchie, Vernon and DTH (set to move to Scarlets at the end of the season) they made good ground in the wide channels.
It was from the set piece that the first score came however, as Glasgow splintered a scrum then Ryan Grant – mysteriously no longer bound to the scrum but standing in midfield – took the ball up. Matawalu at first receiver then put MacArthur into space to dive over in the corner. Horne converted to put Glasgow in the driving seat.
Meanwhile Sam Davies, filling in for Dan Biggar, had a poor start missing two from the tee as George Clancy saw fit to punish Glaswegian indiscretions – mostly not rolling away. With the amount Glasgow were giving away though (there’s that Scots indiscipline again) Davies got one on target soon enough to get the Ospreys going, and then a second just after the half hour mark to close the gap to a point.
With the ball Glasgow were in control, without it they were giving Clancy repetitive strain injury in his shoulder.
Tyrone Holmes went off injured allowing Will Bordill a chance to face down the impressive Justin Tipuric as Ospreys were in the ascendancy, but Horne woke Glasgow up again with a penalty just before half time.
Glasgow had not pushed on to fulfil their early promise. Would it be the same story as we saw at BT Murrayfield the night before?
Half-time: Glasgow 10-6 Ospreys
Horne had an early chance to stretch the lead as Glasgow started the half at the same high tempo as we saw in the first. He missed that one, but slotted a second attempt a few moments later as the Ospreys fell foul of the ref this time.
The second try was againt from a set piece move but this time from the Ospreys, who took full advantage of Clancy’s positioning by scything round from the back of a lineout using him as a screen. Tom Grabham sprinted the short distance for the try and evening things up at 13-13 after the conversion. Training ground stuff that would not have pleased Townsend.
The Ospreys were handed further opportunities by Glasgow that resulted in a scrum penalty for Davies who was made to wait an age as Clancy and the TMO deliberated as to whether or not Nakarawa had done some
nasty at the scrum. It seemed he hadn’t, but the pause did nothing to help Glasgow’s cause as they went through a rudderless phase coinciding with losing the lead for the first time.
As young Ali Price (who played well) went off and Niko moved to 9, Glasgow put together a huge scrum again disintegrating the Ospreys front 5 with Alex Allan, Kevin Bryce and on-loan lock Fraser Mackenzie in behind an unfamiliar combination but no less effective.
Glasgow moved up the park and earned another penalty, Horne slotted it and things were all square. Glasgow kept their intensity up with a great run from Van Der Merwe almost finding a way to put Rory Hughes free. Glasgow couldn’t get anything from the ensuing scrum but Kellock very nearly scored a try at short range and they earned another scrum right in front of the posts, which they turned into three points with more effective work from the front row.
It wasn’t the enterprising attacking performance that the opening moments of each half had suggested we might see but it was a win, secured when Clancy blew up for a penalty just inside the Ospreys half. Glasgow
did nothing so rash as to tap and go to try and deny the Ospreys a losing bonus point. Unlike Edinburgh the night before, Al Kellock made the correct decision and the ball was booted into the stand securing a crucial win to keep them top of the table.
SRBlog Man of the Match – not really that kind of game (hence why they gave it to Al Kellock but for me it was great to see Ryan Grant put in a hugely impressive shift in the first half. Ali Price and Fraser Lyall also played well on their home debuts and Richie Vernon was probably the pick of the Glasgow backs in a second half when they had far less to do.