Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow 31-19 Ospreys

Mike Blair - pic © Al Ross
Mike Blair - pic © Al Ross

It was a fairly error strewn opening 20 minutes at sunny Scotstoun as Gregor Townsend re-integrated chunks of his World Cup players looking to show what they learned on their summer holidays.

Both sides were indisciplined but Dan Biggar had the better of his chances compared to his counterpart Duncan Weir and by nearly the half hour mark the score was stuck at 3-6. The Ospreys back row led by Lydiate and Tipuric stifled much of Glasgow’s attempts at quick ball, frustrating any half chances Mike Blair had to try and get the team moving forward.

It wasn’t for a lack of effort on Glasgow’s part, having sparked their play into life after the first quarter with some nifty offloads – no prizes for guessing which lanky Fijian was at the heart of that. It was Leone Nakarawa who created the first try bang on the half hour, after a jinking run by Tommy Seymour filling in at fullback put Glasgow close to the line. It was spread left and when the offload popped out round the tackler, all Sean Lamont had to do was bump through his defender for a simple try. Weir was unable to convert but Glasgow took the lead.

They almost surrendered it straight as Peter Fitzgibbon awarded a bizarre penalty after Lee Jones was tackled then got up again and was whistled up, the tackle having been completed. Dan Biggar missed that kick but was on the mark at the next time of asking when Glasgow were penalised for offside.

Glasgow charged back trying to recover the lead going into half time and despite some more outrageous play from Nakarawa – his threat is so well known that he can now dummy offload with one hand Glasgow were unable to get another score.

HT Glasgow 8-9 Ospreys

The second half was opened again by an exchange of penalties before Josh Matavesi was sin-binned for cynical play at the breakdown.

Glasgow kicked to the corner and the pack put some phases together before Greg Peterson took the quarterback sneak over for the try. There was a suggestion of a knock on by Jerry Puafisi in the build up but after the TMo took a look the try was awarded. Glasgow almost had another one minutes later as Pete Horne broke free into all sorts of space but rather than backing his pace he held up for support which was ineffective. Glasgow did manage to turn it into a penalty and increase the lead.

Horne then had a further two clean breaks where he should have up the pace rather than looking to create, but at the scrambled ruck that followed Ospreys replacement Ryan Bevington hauled a supporting player back and was sent straight to the bin, giving the Warriors a minute with a two man advantage.

With 20 to go the Ospreys continued their liberal interpretation of the tackle laws giving Fitzgibbon’s whistle plenty to do and Glasgow plenty of attacking territory as the replacements joined the fray.

The Glasgow pack pounded the Ospreys line again with Lamont helping out with some nice hands before Wilson got within inches and then Alex Allan finally heaved the ball down amidst a pile of bodies.

As Glasgow chased a bonus and the Ospreys chased respectability there was plenty of nice offloading rugby culminating in a try for Ospreys replacement back row Dan Baker that brought the visitors within 7 and threatened a tense final ten minutes.

Weir had a pretty good game both kicking and in attack, and a precision kick to touch gave Glasgow an attacking lineout on the 5 metres out. After several barrelling phases it became clear the plan was to draw the Ospreys in until a simple pass to Taqele who battled through 4 defenders to claim the bonus point. A brief cameo for the big man, but much more successful than recent efforts.

Much like Glasgow, who are starting to click again.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Pete Horne was the pick of the outer backs while Ryan Wilson carried hard up front and Leone was magical as always. The nod goes to Duncan Weir who bounced back from being underused in the World Cup to show exactly what he brings and also a hint of what is to come, attacking the line a lot more gamely than he has in the past.

23 Responses

  1. One team turned up and tried to play rugby. The other team turned up and, er, well… That yellow card for Matavesi shouldn’t have been the first of the game. Incredibly entertaining stuff from Glasgow as ever, and they could have won by a few more had the execution been a bit better. In addition to the stand-out players mentioned above, I thought Seymour looked good at fullback; would be interesting to see him get a go there for Scotland, as I always worry what we’ll do if Hogg is ever unavailable.

    1. I thought Maitland was superb at fullback in the World Cup in Hogg’s absence. Seymour looked good today too. I was really impressed with Weir, he can still develop into a quality test FH if not top class like Russell. Horne was fantastic yet again. Glasgow really are spoiled for centres.

  2. Anyone worried that Maitland’s form may dip due to playing for London Irish? I know Cowan played there all last season and was still good, but I do wonder how much better they’d be playing for a team that was more successful.

  3. A super win and bonus point, cant take any more than that from the game.

    Glasgow always looked the better side and good to see TN scoring his first try, lets hope he gets a thirst for becoming a pro12 champion before his eyes turn elsewhere. Glasgow were the fitter side and I am surprised nobody has mentioned the contribution of the front 5.

    Full marks to the boilerhouse, an impressive performance, solid in the scrum, a try for Peterson and a try scoring off load from Leone.

    In the front row Reid got around , Puafisi was solid in the scrum and promises more in the loose. Yes, a lot of grunt and dunt today. Ideal conditions for running rugby.

    The downside and there is always a downside, was the lineout. Lost a few however credit where it is due, the Ospreys were a menace in the lineout. A bit to work on before Glasgow face Edinburgh.

  4. Thought the pack were looking very good at the maul – really threatening. Is this a mark of things to come for Glasgow from the new forwards coach? Like the new signings, Peterson looks a good 6 Nations asset, thought Harley showed a bit more going forward too.

    The biggest worry is no Pyrgos…

  5. Absolutely massive win. Ignited our season – 8 points clear of the team below and just 2 points off 4th.

    Our attack from the lineout has been turned into a real weapon, which is great to see – both the driving maul and the pick and go.

    Ali Price looked really sharp when he came on – his game pace and passing are so much crisper than Hart – he and blair as a combination will be crucial in Pyrgos’ absence. Actually, Lee Jones filled in for Blair a few times in the first half and looked really useful at scrum half – think he’d make a decent 3rd choice.

    Having Seymour, Horne and Nakarawa back made such a difference – where last week we were battering away endlessly, this week we had the ability to get in behind our opposition. Can’t wait for Bennett, Dunbar, Russell and Hogg to return – Game On!

    Really wish there were a few more league games before the European matches to get the full squad clicking especially with the new arrivals. Racing is going to be a massive test.

    1. I suspect Townsend is focussed on Euro Success , It is the missing piece on his CV. It is going to be a tough season, he needs euro success to move him on, the players want Scotland success. The fans want , the whole lot.

      Personally I would prefer to see us defend the pro 12 this year and kick on into European success next year.

      I would hate to be stuck in the middle on all three. However , the squad is so deep and wide, anything could happen.

      1. Glasgow have a big enough squad to challenge on both fronts. From yesterday’s team you’d probably only expect the front row, Leone, Wilson, Blair, Seymour and Horne to start the first game in Europe, and Dunbar, Brown and Prygos will start when they are back to fitness.

        Glasgow’s squad is packed full of test players and their seconds are better than half the league. They should be focused on winning every game and every trophy they can.

      2. I mostly agree with you, I think this is a year too early for a squad that has lost key members. It is a really tough pool, not as bad as pool 5, but we may need to win the pool to get out, so MUST win one of the first two, and we aren’t playing well enough to beat Racing away, love to be proved wrong, so that leaves Northampton at home. Doable as they aren’t at their best either.
        Pro 12 is still within range, a 5 pointer away playing poorly is not to be sniffed at. Minimum 9 points wanted from Treviso, Leinster.
        Scotland success, we shall see. Unlike some of his predecessors Cotter knows strength and weaknesses and won’t give the supporters a load of flannel and will keep his boot firmly up the squad’s khybers. I am hopeful, rather than optimistic, that we will kick on. Which begs the next question – what constitutes a good 6 nations? Time to open debate on that I think!!

      3. Mike: Good summary, It would be good if we could get a balanced discussion without mischievious keyboard warriors.

        Glasgow are a capable side, The pro 12 is still very do able I have never said otherwise , however you cannot get away from the obvious. Glasgow will cotribute more than their fair share of players to the 6N (no other side contributed more players in the RWC than Glasgow)and as a consequence they lost 3 games in the Pro12 so the room for error is less going into the business end of the season.

        The difficulty with putting off for another season is this IMO.

        Our players are actualy professionals and it is their job. So they are looking to advance their careers. They are already pro12 winners, the RWC will have made them visble to a wider audience. A good Euro run will further heighten visability and the 6N to follow provide a further shop window.

        The career men will be looking to see what the market place says their skills are worth.

        Lets consider Gregor Townsend with a Pro 12 already on his CV. If he wins the European cup win he can do no more at Glasgow and he will be highly prized. Will GT want to take the risk of waiting till next year? his players will be on the move again. So , this is a challenging season , with the injurty list creeping up as you would expect after the RWC.

        Now I have never said this is not a good problem to have. A very different problem to Edinburgh for example. But none the less an issue.

        Now I can just hear the sidewinder coming in here, with all the paper analysis, of who has signed contracts for how long. Well I prefer the smell of the changing room to make my decisions and at the end of this season, we will see how valuable contracts are.

        I think we are in for some great rugby, however these are the off the field issues as I see them.

    2. FF – Good and well behind the keyboard and I hope you are right. I am not saying they will not be focused on winning however I am saying it is a tough ask ,even for this side and I would rather see a focus on winning one of them than winning the lot.

      We have a great mix of scottish and non scots to offset the 6N. I agree we have loads of depth, however lets examine a few facts and the subjective counter arguments:

      The RWC has only cost Glasgow Pyrgos (4 months) and Brown (8 weeks) which is a actually not a bad outcome. Last years 6N was costly and we still do not have a match fit Dunbar, lets hope he can recover form after such a log lay off. I also believe Kevin Bryce and Mark Bennett may have niggles at this time.

      The counter argument will be that we still won the PRO12 despite the injury losses from the 6N and the squad is stronger. However our European ambitions were finished early last year .

      If the depth in the squad is so good why were we only sitting mid table until we got our senior players back this week? We are not in the top 4 (yet). That performance has not supported your confidence in our depth. The table Never lies.

      Last year we lost 5 and drew one. The maximum losses in the top 4 was 6. So a couple of losses to say Edinburgh are likely to put us out of contention by January.

      The counter argument is that all the other sides were missing their senior players to the RWC as well and the 6N may cost them players also.

      So while I want to think, like you , that we could win the lot, we have already lost 50% of our pro 12 games and I envisage toony is focused on Europe.

      Time will tell however the worst of all worlds is stuck in the middle.

      1. Just for clarity (meant to say in that earlier download) right now we have lost 3 games this far. If last years table is a good comparison we could not sustain more than another three losses and make the play offs.

        Either way , with thee and me behind them , what more could they ask for.

      2. Glasgow are only 2pts behind the fourth play off spot, a quarter into the season, and only 8pts behind the leaders who will drop points now that other teams have their RWC players back. Of course Glasgow will put up the best possible defence of their title.

        I expect Toonie to do exactly what he did last year, put out his best possible side in all the European Cup games and rotate the rest of his squad to try to win the league. Until the last round of the group games, Glasgow still had a chance of progressing, so there really isn’t much difference between this year and last, except Glasgow have a little ground to make up in the league.

        The only time he might be called on to sacrifice one for the other is if Glasgow actually make it through to the knock out rounds, but you can’t choose to do that before you get there. Besides which, doing well in Europe is affected by league performance as they dictate your European seedlings. If Glasgow wants another shot next year with a decent group, they need to finish as high up the league as possible.

        Glasgow has the biggest squad in the pro-12 with more internationals than any other team. if they don’t get to the play offs at least it would be a bit of a disaster.

      3. Well facts are we are not in the top 4 and were never out of it last year. The reason Glasgow have such a big squad is not an extravegance it is due to the SRU rules on player rotation.

        We have already lost 3 and who will lose games above us? Munster, Leinster, Ulster, all Euro cup winners and hard nuts to crack. They need to play each other it is impossible for them to keep winning but they are better placd at this time with 25% of the season played.

        The Scarlet’s are up there and have momemtum. However they need to lose more than 6 games to be out of the mix IMO. Not impossible however they will have home advantage on 50% of them and we need to beat them away and Connaaught also for that matter, I hope we only need wins and not wins plus bonus points as that pair will be a menance, especiaslly at home.

        Once we have dismissed Edinburgh we will be better placed, however that is an ask as well.

        I hope I am wrong on all this and you are right BTW but you cannot get away from the facts which are played 6 won 3 ,lost 3 , we made the play offs with 5 losses and a draw last year. These are facts and come the end of the season being 2 points behind the top 4 will be stuck in the middle .

      4. Glasgow have to win their next 3 games. A minimum of 26 points after round 9 is what is needed, judging from previous years (to get to the play-off). But Glasgow will have had 6 home games by Christmas and only 3 away, so 29 is the target.
        As a minimum, two bonus point wins and a losing bonus point, otherwise the play-offs will become almost out of reach by half way!
        Edinburgh are in a slightly better position, having already played 3 away games, but still need 2 wins from the next 3 to stay in contention.
        Sorry for being such a statto but losing at home (as Glasgow did in round 1) and losing to the Italians (as Edinburgh just did) means we are in danger of becoming also-rans unless we can get the win ratio above 60%.

      5. Merlot -Aligned to my thinking as well, thanks for this analitical feedback.

        Today is windy and wet in Cardiff. This should / needs to be a full 5 pointer however with the weather it may be a leveller. The warriors looked in good spirits at the airport yesterday afternoon, Gordon Reid entertaining all as usual , so still hoping, however the weather conditions today just underline that concern that we have very limited reserves if we are to make the top 4

        Time will tell.

      6. Bulldog – Glasgow are now only 6 points behind the league leaders, and Connacht have had probably the easiest set of 6 games to date. Your suggestion that Glasgow were already so far behind the title pace we should focus on Europe rather than go full tilt for Europe and the league is barking mad – there is no reason Glasgow shouldn’t put in a proper defence of their title. Glasgow will roll out their best XV available XV for their Eruopean games just like they did last year.

      7. FF – Thank you for your criticism, which is always welcome, often well intended and conceived which I will respond to courteously, politely and promptly, as always.

        I never make ‘suggestions’, I am explicit in my posts and endeavour to provide a balanced opinion with counter arguments and facts supporting my basis. Whether you agree or not is entirely the purpose of the posts.

        However you must read all in context. I can only take it that you cannot disagree with any of the other points or the facts.

        You have misinterpreting what was stated, that is quite acceptable. To ignore the entire context, and comment (inaccurately) on only one aspect out of context is naughty. It is unjust to communicate your misunderstanding as being my stated point.

        I am not going to go over any of the posts again. We could respond week on week if necessary however I have no intentions of doing so, like you I am right behind Glasgow.

        Your post changes nothing, the table will change week on week, however the table never lies, we have lost 3 to date, and that is off the pace in comparison to last year. That is a concern, it has to be, surely ?

      8. Bulldog- what you have to remember is that,although Glasgow have lost some games they have always tried their best and these were close run games they could have won. They give 100% unlike Edinburgh who look rubbish so far this season. So I guess you should cut them some slack. The second half of the season will be more important. Trust me, Glasgow have enough strength in depth to compete in all of the competitions they take part it.

      9. Tam kite – smells like . Good one. you sound a bit like FF’s rescuer, a bit like JK Rowling and R Galbraith. I take the victimisation as a compliment by the way so get back to the papers before lights out.

  6. Surprised not to see anyone calling out Favaro – an absolute menace all over the pitch yesterday, and throwing himself into contact with absolutely no regard for his own safety. Also most of our good mauling work from line outs had him steering and dictating from the back – I think a bit of the Italian technique rubbing off on the other guys – great to see.

    I think that’s Big T’s second try in 3 outings (one off the bench) so not too bad but I’m sure Toony is working on ways to bring him onto the ball at pace – perhaps keeping his powder dry for the Euro campaign.

  7. Decent performance yesterday, particularly second half. I still think there’s way more to come from this team mind you. Can’t understate the importance of this win, especially given the disappointing nature of the games we’ve lost/thrown away this season. Pete Horne was outstanding yesterday and really should have got MoM IMO. Big Leone had a good game, as did Peterson who looks a find. McFarland’s influence on the maul is definitely showing through and I think his influence on our pack is beginning to tell, we’re definitely making more of the hard yards under his tutelage. Once we get a few more of our big guns back behind the scrum we should take some beating. That said we need both Weir and Russell to step up off the tee, particularly in Europe. Duncy has left quite a few points out on the pitch in the last 2 games, and missed penalties on Finn’s behalf cost us in Europe last year against Toulouse at home. Small margins but they make all the difference at the top level.

  8. Agree with the comments tht the pack and the front 5 were good against Ospreys. Agree about Favaro steering from the back. A good signing and takes the pressure of Fusaro a bit.
    Interesting to see McFarlanes influence on the team. Not sure what that is yet, but they looked a bit more like forwards and less like backs in the second half. Scrum rock solid, line out good apart from a couple of steals. More players to return and not too far behind in the league, so looking good.
    Hopefully a better run in Europe this year. Racing 92 are at the top end of the league and look good. Away game first will be a 10 pointer.
    Northampton signing Picamoles gave me a bit of a shock, until I heard he wouldn’t be arriving until next year.
    A great signing for them.

You might also like these:

Gregor Townsend has named a largely experimental squad for the summer tour of the Americas. It's not a question of who misses out, but rather who is actually going, writes Rory.
Iain is joined by Jonny and John to discuss the penultimate round of URC fixtures as well as the recent Scottish Rugby Writers' Awards
Craig is joined by John on the injured reserve list to have a wee look at the URC action from the weekend.
World Rugby has taken steps to ban Dupont's Law amongst three new law changes to be brought in in July.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion