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.