Northampton 19 – 15 Glasgow

Glasgow travelled to Franklin Gardens with almost everyone expecting Northampton to ‘maul’ them – literally.

The Glasgow pack knew this but when a team as good at the rolling phalanx as the Saints get going, there is not much that can be done to stop it legally. Glasgow, however, had the first shot at points, with Stuart Hogg stepping up from 50m. His connection was poor and the kick slid wide.

Northampton responded to this with a Hanrahan penalty kicked to touch, 5m out. The maul formed and the Saints rumbled towards the line. Glasgow managed to stop the initial drive but failed to defend the edges of the ensuing breakdown, with the No.8 Harrison sniping for a short range try. JJ Hanrahan added the 2 extras.

Glasgow seemed a more enthusiastic outfit than in previous weeks, and good work by Leone Nakarawa gave Finn Russell an easy 3 point chance. The Scotland 10 hooked the ball right to left, missing. Glasgow were playing most of the rugby, but the usual cry of ‘accuracy’ got a number of outings from the Anderson household. Finally the men in white got on the scoreboard, after a sizzling move involving a lovely delayed pass from Russell to the effective Sam Johnson, making his first start. The Aussie scythed through the Saints defence, finding Hogg in support. The full back was well shackled by former Scotland U19 Lee Dickson but referee Poite gave the Scotstoun men the penalty. This time Finn found his range, making it 7-3 Saints.

Hogg seemed to be at the centre of most of what Glasgow were trying to achieve, and a standard challenge for his own Garry Owen resulted in a very concerning head knock for Northampton wing Tom Collins. Collins exited the game after a lengthy delay, replaced by Harry Mallinder, son of Saints head coach Jim. The youngster was called into immediate action with a few bombs going his way but he seemed to settle well into his role.

Some decent set piece work from Glasgow’s scrum saw a chance to give that ‘maul’ stuff a go themselves. They secured the ball, went nowhere and then proceeded to knock on, with the line at their mercy. Glasgow of last year would have scored this 99.9% of the time but this year’s model continues to splutter and stall at the high pressure moments.

On the plus side Ali Price was having a sensational game for the Scotstoun team, zipping the ball well, kicking accurately and controlling the direction of play. This youngster has a bright future in the game based on his performances these last few weeks.

The next points were to be taken by Glasgow, another simple Russell penalty giving another 3 points. JJ Hanrahan was having a poor game, but was getting plenty of practice kicking to the corner. A scrum penalty on 38mins gave the Saints a last shot to maul Glasgow before halftime. This time it was well defended by Glasgow, and when Saints were told to use it, the ball was intercepted by Russell. The 10 done well to get down to halfway before being hauled down, and that was that.

Half-time: Northampton Saints 7 – 6 Glasgow

Glasgow started the second period well, keeping the ball in hand and looking more like the team of old. Alex Dunbar, making his return from another niggling injury, was having a belter of a game in defence, and secured his second turnover of the evening to give Russell a chance to nudge Glasgow ahead. The young fly half missed this one, but was soon after given a much easier kick, 20m out straight on. No mistakes from this one and 9-7 Glasgow which was thoroughly deserved.

After 50mins I was beginning to finally believe that my ‘Glasgow fail to defend rolling maul’ article template would be redundant. Alas this was not to be the case. A debatable knock on from Russell deep in the Glasgow 22 started the issue, the kick to corner from a technical penalty straight after was true. The maul formed, rolled, rumbled and crossed the line. JJ Hanrahan missed the conversion then was hooked for Stephen Myler, completing a miserable night for the young Irish 10.

Young Zander Fagerson arrived on 53 mins, and promptly destroyed Waller in the scrum. I was critical of Fagerson’s scrummage earlier in the season but the big lad is looking really tight now and must be close to a Scotland squad call tomorrow. The resulting penalty was no problem for Russell, 12-12 with just over 20mins to play.

Saints had a big opportunity soon after, camping out of the Glasgow line. The Scots defended brilliantly and held their discipline to repeal the saints but the English just kept coming. Another kick to the corner 5m out gave them another maul chance. This one was overthrown, completing a passage of play where the Saints accuracy was lacking.

Fagerson made a big difference when he came on, tackling well and carrying hard but his scrum work was a highlight. Another big shunt gave Hogg another chance at a 50m hoof. This time, for what feels like the first time in eternity, Hogg was accurate with the long kick, splitting the uprights. 15-12 Glasgow with 10mins to play.

Now this wouldn’t be Glasgow this season without stupidity from someone. This week’s villain is Tim Swinson, who lasted all of 8 minutes before seeing fit to punch a Northampton player during a maul right in front of the assistant referee. This sort of action is really being clamped down on by World Rugby and it does take a special type of idiot to think they would get away with it in today’s game with cameras everywhere. Swinson was given a yellow, ruling him out of the remainder of the game.

Even a man down, Glasgow looked comfortable in set defence, but the penalty count was rising and with advantage available, Myler put up a speculative cross field bomb which saw North competing against Russell. The Glasgow 10 competed well but the Welsh giant knocked the ball down to the on rushing support player – none other than young Mallinder. The try was scored, Myler kicked the extras, the fulltime whistle was blown and Glasgow were out of Europe yet again.

There was no great shame in this performance, and a great deal of heart will have been taken from the way Glasgow outplayed their supposedly illustrious opponents for periods of the game. There is always next year…

SRBlog Man of the Match – Hogg, Russell, Dunbar, Johnny Gray and Zander Fagerson all deserve a mention, and on any other day could have been MotM. The main man for Glasgow was however Ali Price. The young scrum half is taking his chance in the team and at this point could be an outside shot for the 3rd scrum half berth in the 6 Nations squad or at the very least hoping to hold down his starting spot come the Six Nations.

Northampton: Foden, Collins, G. Pisi, Burrell, North, Hanrahan, L. Dickson, A. Waller, Hartley, Hill, Lawes, C. Day, Gibson, Wood, Harrison.
Replacements: Mallinder for Collins (25), Myler for Hanrahan (53), Kessell for L. Dickson (74), E. Waller for A. Waller (63), Haywood for Hartley (56), Denman for Hill (72), Fisher for Harrison (56).
Not Used: Paterson.

Glasgow: Hogg, Jones, Dunbar, Johnson, Lamont, Russell, Price, Reid, MacArthur, Puafisi, Nakarawa, Gray, Wilson, Fusaro, Ashe.
Replacements: Weir for Hogg (77), Naiyaravoro for Jones (57), Allan for Reid (64), Mamukashvili for MacArthur (61), Fagerson for Puafisi (53), Favaro for Fusaro (57), Swinson for Fusaro (67)

Originally from the Isle of Bute, John is a Glasgow Warriors fan and retired crash ball specialist. John still enjoys the occasional rugby 'social' with his former team mates at Bute and Bishopton RFC

22 comments on “Northampton 19 – 15 Glasgow

  1. John Mc on

    So, how best to let your team mates down when you’re 15-12 up away in a must win match with six minutes to play and on the front foot in the oppo half with a penalty probably coming your way? I know, you needlessly punch someone in front of the touch judge. The numpty should hang his head in shame. Discipline again, Glasgow.

  2. Mike W on

    Thought Glasgow were very good – outside of the rolling maul.

    Ashe made big yards every time he touched the ball, Gray was immense in defence, repeatedly knocking backward their big ball carriers. Fagerson made such a huge difference when he came on, I think he must be in the squad. I was impressed that MacArthur was actually hooking the ball, giving some route one ball when under pressure first half. Price was really good, he was doing just the right amount of sniping as well as quick ball and keeping his head up.

    All in all (Swinson aside) it was a very good performance. As someone else noted Cotter will be a lot happier than Townsend. All of the SQ players put their hands up.

    • FF on

      Ryan Wilson has become a liability that I’m not sure Scotland or Glasgow can afford. Kebab shop altercation, RWC stamping (which he miraculously escaped punishment for) and now testicle-grabbing (allegedly) – no use to his team mates if he’s sitting out another suspension.

      • Andy on

        Yup. If guilty then he should be released from his contract. An absolute liability who could have cost Scotland our qf place in the world cup. He never learns.

  3. pragmatic optomist on

    Another year, another lot of ‘what if’s’.
    Glasgow were the better team on Sunday and played most of the rugby. Northampton seemed to believe they only had to wait for Glasgow mistakes, and that they’d have their chance in the set piece.
    Not far wrong as things turned out.
    The Glasgow scrum was solid throughout, that includes the whole eight, who made a stand after the debacle at Scotstoun. I was also pleased to see MacArthur hooking.
    The line-out was also accurate and I don’t remember them losing any.
    The winning score was typical of Northampton. A kick to a 6′ 5″ winger, who flipped the ball to a 6′ 5″ full back to flop it down.
    If Glasgow want to progress in Europe, they will need to either ‘go large’in the pack, or make their style of rugby work against the behemoths like Clermont, Toulon, Saracens.
    I’d like to see Glasgow try to run the legs off Racing on Saturday, although they are short of many of their creative players.

  4. bulldog on

    I posted concerns about Wilson on the 11th January post ‘weekend warriors’ however no idea he had slumpted to this. Right now the best thing for Glasgow is the 6n. Get the squad out of the way and get a bit of bonding going with the remainder. Something is missing and I think it is off the pitch. It has been a long season for the RWC team and I just think they are burnt out.

  5. coully on

    Wilson and Swinson appear to be special kinds of idiots,..granted a little provocation might have come from a Northampton side known for a bit of nastiness,(see Hartley and the absent calum clark) but punching in view of the touch judge and the cameras…come on !!! as for grabbing someones nuts !!!

    • Cameron on

      Obviously Swinson’s was stupid, but punching people is part of the remit for a good combative second row. Knowing when you can and cannot get more ‘physical’ is part of that though. I’d have hoped that he was experienced enough to know that now.

      As for Wilson, I’ve no idea what it is that people see in him to keep selecting him. Misses tackles, adds little going forward, brings some needle and ‘steel’ to the team maybe? When you combine that with his repeated demonstration that he’s either too stupid, too angry or too vicious to play a contact sport, he can’t have many shots left as part of the Scottish/Glasgow set up.

  6. pragmatic optomist on

    It would appear that the morale majority are coming out to play again. Has anyone seen the ‘nutcracker suite’ or is just the citing officer so far?
    It couldn’t have been that obvious, or they’d have shown constant replays on TV.
    My only issue with it is that it wasn’t Courtney Lawes or Dyl’boy.
    Those moaning about Wilson have short memories. He was one of the best Glasgow players in the run-in last season.

    • FF on

      Yep – but then his performances at the World Cup were limp. His stamp in the Samoa game could have cost us a QF.

      It isn’t about moral judgments but professional players need discipline – otherwise, they cost their team points, games and trophies.

  7. Andy N on

    Would love to think that now that Wilson has been cleared, the Trolls will slink back under their bridges and wait for the next poor unsuspecting target to wander by.

    Wilsons form was excellent before ‘Kebabgate’, and when he came back for the run in last year he was again excellent, and played himself into the RWC squad on form, rather than reputation. He is a combative, unrelenting character who asks for nor gives quarter.

    His penalty count and YC stats are below many of his teammates, which when you consider that as a back row, you are meant to spend most of the game pushing the laws – suggests that he is no where near the penalty machine liability that the haters have tried to paint him as and frankly, I’ve been ashamed at the comments of ‘alleged’ rugby supporters over the past few days, and that includes many on this and the Glasgow forums. Rant over, hopefully Wilson plays on Saturday and sticks it right up them…….actually, maybe that’s not the best turn of phrase, but you know what I mean.

    • Bulldog on

      Bit OTT Andy , I am no troll however in My opinion Ryan Wilson’s performance is barely passable at present.

      If his penalty count is down, perhaps you could link it to effort and see if there is a similar downward trend? You need to be there to be commiting an offence. I expect more from him.

      If he is commiting thuggery on the pitch , there is no justification. Before anyone says he was not reprimanded formally , that is not the same as it never happened. Rugby is a tough enough game without the need for this action.

      The private schools in Glasgow are under some pressure from fee paying parents who want to see them play football rather than rugby. Football is seen as a game with large purses for the successfull and Rugby as a lessser salaried game where their offspring are likely to be maimed and scarred.

      If he cannot conduct himself in the appropriate manner , he needs to look for a team that will appreciate his talents.

      Parents are unlikely to encourage their kids to play rugby when the city’s rolemodels are a bunch of testical grabbing, punchy hotheads. Is this kind of thuggery likely to further the development of the game or hinder it in Glasgow?

      • Matto on

        I agree that the testiculation and daft offenses need to be cut out. Bad for business in every sense. However, it’s worth mentioning that, on the whole, I think rugby trumps football by some way in terms of role-models.

      • Andy N on

        But you see there you go again Bulldog, despite him being innocent and the citing being dismissed, you still see him as guilty as charged – mental!

        For what it’s worth, my view of his performances is total opposite, we clearly must be going to watch different games. I think he’s filling the 6 role well, making the big hits, doing the dirty work, carrying well and generally making a bloody nuisance of himself – absolutely delighted he’ll be around during the 6 nations.

        I’ve absolutely no problem with differing views on player performance, without it boards like this would be very dull places, but I think the character assasination stuff is misplaced and out of order.

      • bulldog on

        Ah now we know who the troll is. ‘Innocent’ you mean it never happened or it was just not enough evidence to prove it. I already pointed that out in my earlier post.

        I notice you completely ignored the point about Glasgow’s catchment being under pressure to play football and this kind of play or publicity is unwelcome for the development of the game in the west of Scotland.

        As for Wilson’s past performances , well Ryan Grant was once a Lion and is struggling today, so past performance is not working for me either .

        You are only as good as your last game and you are right , we must be watching the wrong game however I will concede, perhaps my values of leadership skew my views as I personally could never engender a good team, performance when the lads knew they had a liability in their ranks. He is a Jona in the boat to use a nautical term.

        Bring on the 6N and we can off load his unique skill set and allow you to remove the rose tinted spectacles.

  8. Andy N on

    Ach, don’t be like that – I personally don’t think he did it, neither did the citing panel – clearly you disagree with that – end of story.

    I’ve got no experience of parents of kids at Glasgow fee paying schools, so don’t really know what the reasons might be for parents wanting their kids to play football – it could well be the increased profile tha head injuries have quite rightly had in rugby over the past couple of years, perhaps also the fact that common thinking these days is that kids should be given the opportunity to play as broad a range of sports as possible, rather than specialising at the expense of all other sports.

    Fee paying schools artificially propped up Scottish Rugby for years, whilst at the same time doing a great deal of damage to Scottish youngsters who’s sporting aspirations lay outside of the rugby/hockey field, but that’s probably an argument for another day. We now see more youngsters coming to rugby from mixed backgrounds, therefore if we are also seeing more kids from fee paying schools turning to other sports (including footy), surely thats a positive – I’m not parochial enough to think that my sport is the only one worthy of a kids affections.

    • Bulldog on

      Well go right ahead and cut of the community that prop up Glasgow rugby , why not. I doubt the changing room at Warriors will agree with or the Glasgow clubs which have had to amalgamate to stay viable already, however I keep an open mind, what will be will be.

      Oh they are pushing as they object to facial injuries and football pays more.

      What I dont get is if you want to see the game from mixed backgrounds , why want cut off the fee paying community?

      • Andy N on

        Sorry bulldog – totally fail to see how by sticking up for Ryan Wilson (who incidentally has been confirmed by the ‘alleged’ victim as totally innocent) i’m somehow wanting to cut fee paying schools out of rugby – this thread has gotten far too surreal for me I’m afraid.

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