Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scarlets 6-9 Glasgow

Finn Russell - pic © Al Ross
Finn Russell - pic © Al Ross

A dreary game played out in dire conditions in which Glasgow were lucky to come away with the result that gets their European campaign back in business.

The writing was on the wall from the very first touch – DTH Van Der Merwe knocking on straight from kick off in the driving Welsh rain. The Scarlets scrum put heavy pressure on Glasgow (as every pack seems capable of this season) but it was Glasgow who came away with the first 3 pointer – Russell knocking over a routine kick after a cynical trip on Tommy Seymour.

Scarlets recovered well from this and spent most of their time in the Glasgow half with a series of impressive kicks pinning Glasgow back. It seemed that whenever the Scarlets looked likely to score they managed to butcher it with a knock on or lost line out, though it must be said that the Glasgow defence was at times brutal, Favaro in particular putting in a number of punishing hits.

Glasgow got another chance to add to the scoreboard as Aled Thomas committed the second cynical offence of the evening, knocking the ball back whilst laying on the floor. He was banished for 10mins and Russell knocked the kick over via the left upright.

Glasgow struggled for possession against the 14 men, and the loss of Johnny Gray at 35 mins for a head injury assessment did not help. The half petered out with much huffing and puffing from both teams but no real quality to speak of.

Half-time: Scarlets 0-6 Glasgow

The second half kicked off in dry conditions, with both teams starting to move the ball around. Even Leone Nakarawa got in on the act with a lovely offload to Lamont. Normal service was resumed however as much ball juggling and fumbling resulted in Mike Blair being absolutely battered by DTH. Blair left the action, replaced by Grayson Hart.

Finally, Glasgow got some territory and after a brilliant mauling effort the penalty went to the Scots. Russell knocked it over with ease and at 9-0 it looked like Glasgow should start to pull away in the final 20 mins.

Unfortunately the issue of indiscipline reared its ugly head again as it has done on a number of occasions this season. First Lamont went to the bin for a silly scoop back whilst on the floor (consistency after the Thomas card in the first half) which resulted in 3 points for the Scarlets.

Only 3 minutes later Favaro found himself being asked to leave for 10 also, although the official’s suggestion of a ‘late hit’ was a bit unjust when he was clearly going for the charge down. A touch clumsy and only a penalty in my mind but down to 13 men, Glasgow had it all to do.

Things got even more perilous for the Scotstoun men when Hart took leave of his auditory senses, ignoring a clear shout from Russell for a high ball and taking a smash in the head for his error of judgement. A clear case for a HIA and whilst this was performed, Lee Jones came on to cover at scrum half.

Glasgow did well to cope as 13 men, with only the initial 3 points from Lamont’s indiscretion being conceded right until Favaro was due to return when the splintering Glasgow scrum gave Thomas the chance of another 3 points.

The Welsh no.10 delivered, making it 6-9 with 13 minutes to play.

Really that was the end of the excitement, with the only noteworthy action coming on 75 mins as Glasgow were penalised for not rolling away. This gave Thomas the opportunity to level the scores but with the rain back his 40m kick sailed wide. Glasgow held on for the final 5 minutes to secure a vital 4 points.

SRBlog Man of the Match – The official MotM was Alex Dunbar, and whilst the centre was a rock in defence, I personally thought Simone Favaro or Fraser Brown deserved the award. Brown was secure in the lineout all night and carried well and Favaro was a monster in defence. His yellow probably swayed the decision against him but an abrasive night from the Italian back row.

Scarlets: Michael Collins; Steffan Evans, Gareth Owen, Hadleigh Parkes, DTH van der Merwe; Aled Thomas, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Emyr Phillips (capt), Samson Lee; Jake Ball, Maselino Paulino; Lewis Rawlins, Jack Condy, Morgan Allen.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, George Earle, Tom Price, Aled Davies, Steve Shingler, Harry Robinson.

Glasgow Warriors: Tommy Seymour; Taqele Naiyaravoro, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Sean Lamont; Finn Russell, Mike Blair; Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Sila Puafisi, Leone Nakarawa, Jonny Gray (capt), Rob Harley, Simone Favaro, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: Shalva Mamukashvili, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Grayson Hart, Duncan Weir, Lee Jones.

10 Responses

  1. Sometimes you have just got to win ugly. Ask Munster or Leicester. They have been doing it for years and never feel the need to apologise for it. Take the points and move on.

    The big games are coming thick and fast now. At least we know now that we can play much better than that on a dry track. We just need a bit more luck with the weather.

    1. Don’t think anything else was on the cards given the conditions. Not sure why Reid started on the bench, still the coaches see the guys in training all week long. Favaro has added some real edge in the back row, a plus. On the minus, discipline, not good enough enough and the referees are getting more ruthless, so there has to be a tightening up in that department.

      That said, a good away win. Now, the conundrum – how to beat Racing92.

  2. On the positive it was a win at a ground that had only conceded 1 win in 2 years

    On the negative the protection of the ball in contact was woeful. the number of turnovers by both sides was ridiculous and a lot of them by feet getting in the way after the ball had been presented

    The scrum is a continued problem with the first half being bad but improvement coming after half time. Can afford to have a half like that under pressure in the tight

    Yellow cards – Some real silliness there and Glasgow is getting far too many of them this season

    Kicks in open play – far far too many going straight to a defender and not finding space

    To sum up it was a win and Europe is still in their sights as a result and a big victory at a ground that has been a fortress for the Scarlets so that is huge and I am going to hope that is the worst we play all season :)

  3. The Scarlets had nothing to play for (dangerous), except their home record, which they lost (excellent) could not happen to a nicer bunch of chaps. Every win against a welsh side is to be clebrated.

    Favoro stands out, consistently , by far the best of the back rows on show again and it is a good job JB did not show his face. They must be saving him as international cover ( oh I know he is injured – aye right)

    It was never going to be a thriller on such a night, DTH was getting stuck in to prove a point, it was ugly, it was costly.

    With the Pro12 double header looming, Blair and Gray are concussed.Rob Harley went to the infirmary after the match.

    I think the Favaro yellow was a 50/50 call and Glasgow did well to stay composed.

    I suspect Reid is being saved for the Edinburgh matches where it will be a tough gig for our front 5 , tougher now without Gray, however, Tim Swinston is on form and with Fraser Brown back, there is a silver lining.

    What a showdown awaits , SHC vs Grayson Hart. Both loose cannons , both young pretenders.

  4. Favaro is some player isn’t he? He reminds me so much of jacques burger. At the start of the season i thought john hardie was the new burger, but now i think favaro is even closer. What all three share is what appears to be a complete disregard for their own bodies and personal safety. They all fly out of the line and smash anything thats in front of them, no matter the cost. The samson lee – favaro head clash was an indicator, was sickening but showed what both players are made of. One thing i would say about all 3 players, and forgive me if I’m wrong, I’ve only been following the game for about 6 years and never played myself, but all 3 are clearly natural 7s, but don’t seem to win a lot of turnovers, or even compete too much in fact. Is this a new class of open side? or has it existed for some time? anyhoo, I’m enjoying watching both hardie and favaro this season, will be at the 1872 next week, could be a brutal open side clash!!

    1. If you’re doing the tackling it’s very difficult that you can also be doing the turning over. Favaro and Hardie look eager to get involved in taking the player to ground as opposed to a Michael Hooper or a Sam Warburton who will just stand 3-4 yards back and be in there quick as a flash when the player is taken to ground.

      1. Thats why Pocock is head and shoulders above any other 7. His tackling technique is spot on – instead of smashing a player he almost drags them down and at the same time move s into position to compete for the ball – reminds me of a Lion taking down its prey!!

  5. Nice to see a Glasgow article, as I was beginning to think the editors had done a ‘moonlight flit’.
    The Glasgow scrum is a real worry with matches against Edinburgh, Racing and Northampton coming up. Glasgow are at their best while running and off-loading, but these sides will keep it tight and arm wrstle against them. The set piece is a real weakness at the moment, and there in’t a lot of time to fix it. Time for McFarland to show what he’s made of.
    Agree with the comments about Favoro and Brown. In those wet and windy conditions Brown did very well with his darts. If Favoro can link up the play as well as he can smash people in the tackle, he’ll be a great signing.
    Interesting that the Pro 12 teams are not playing very well, while the English teams have ‘come out the traps’ like sprinters. Hope it doesn’t last or it’ll be a very long season.

    1. English players had a longer break, Aviva didn’t start until world cup was nearly the England internationals had..ahem…a “shorter” world cup than the Celtic countries. Stands to reason they’d be slightly fresher. No breaks for them now though..see how fresh they are come six nations time.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion