Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Connacht 5–41 Glasgow

Stuart Hogg - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Stuart Hogg's class could be key to unlocking Connacht's defence - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

After a busy summer of recruitment, it was a relief to finally get back to league action with Glasgow making the familiar trip across the sea to Galway, hoping to avenge the crushing defeats at the tail end of the previous campaign.

The Glasgow line up saw a debut for Italian international wing Leonardo Sarto, with Corey Flynn and Tjiuee Uanivi waiting in reserve to make their full Warriors debuts from the bench.

Galway was predictably windy, and Glasgow ended up playing with the breeze for the first half so the pressure was on to set a decent target for Connacht to chase in the second 40.

Connacht have lost a couple of key players over the summer, but in Bundee Aki they still retain a human wrecking ball of a 12. Glasgow did well in the opening moments to marshal him but he was ably assisted by other members of his side, with the champions’ free flowing rugby of last season continuing.

It was the Scots who drew first blood, perhaps against the run of play. The Glasgow pack carried very well and created the chance to go wide. Lovely passing from Pete Horne at 10 and Stuart Hogg gave Tommy Seymour his first try of the season, a simple stroll into the corner. A touchline conversion for Henry Pyrgos in the swirling conditions was a massive ask, so it was no surprise it sailed wide. 10 minutes gone, 0-5 Glasgow.

Reigning Champions Connacht don’t lose often at home, and they came roaring back at the Scotstoun men, with searing breaks from Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun causing the scramble defence issues. Big breakdown work from Alex Dunbar was key to surviving, with two key turnovers allowing the Warriors a chance to clear their lines, via the cannon like boot of Hogg. Connacht then conceded a blatant penalty 30m out. If it wasn’t first half of the first game of the season then the odds are it would have been a yellow card, but Pyrgos slotted confidently to stretch the Glasgow lead to 8.

Speaking of yellow, you could have probably had very short odds on who would earn Glasgow’s first 10 minute ‘naughty step’ of the season. Yes – Ryan Wilson! A moronic late hit on the Connacht 10 was lucky to not be further punished, with the playmaker’s knee crumpling under the tackle leading to referee Davies checking whether he had targeted a limb. Wilson had a decent game but ill-discipline continues to be a huge issue for the Warriors.

With 14 on the park for the last ten minutes of the first half, it was almost inevitable Connacht would score. It was a decent try well taken by Adeolokun but you have to say that with a full team the Warriors did not look like they would concede. Jack Carty missed the conversion with 7 minutes of the sin bin period remaining.

Glasgow were in no mood to repeat last year’s mistakes and came right back at Connacht, with Tommy Seymour wriggling over for his and Glasgow’s second try of the day, finishing his try through three Connacht defenders (and Wilson still sitting off). The conversion was missed again, but Glasgow took a 13-5 lead into the dressing room.

HT Connacht 5 – 13 Glasgow

And then came the second half… Glasgow turned up to the party in a big way, with the next 40 minutes of rugby being some of the best I have EVER seen from a Glasgow side. First on 47 minutes Hogg dotted down from a decent set piece move cutting a nice line through the midfield with two more attackers outside him forcing the defence to swither. Henry Pyrgos converted, finally finding his rhythm in the wind.

Then Tim Swinson claimed the bonus point try with a short range dart, again converted. All the swagger and skill of the Glasgow offloading game was evident, and to be honest the breakdown was a massacre with Glasgow turning over so much ball.

On the hour mark Sila Puafasi added try number 5, barrelling over from short range after a brilliant break by Sarto was supported well by Hogg. Pyrgos again added the extra 2 points brining the score to 34-5 with 20 minutes to play.

Sean Lamont had time to come on to become a Warriors centurion, and capped this landmark with the sixth Glasgow try on 71 minutes. The extras were added bringing the score to 41-5 and marking a very successful return to Galway.

The bookies had this one as being anyone’s game, but Glasgow were extremely clinical in the second half and blew Connacht off the park.

An amazing result away to last years’ champions, and a warning to everyone in the league – Glasgow are back.

SRBlog Man of the Match: on Sky’s TV coverage Stuart Barnes predictably went for Stuart Hogg, and it’s fair to say the Hawick man has continued his sterling form of last season. Personally I have gone for Alex Dunbar. The defensive side of the Glasgow game went up several notches with Dunbar in action and it is a must that we keep him fit. In the pack Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson and Simone Favaro all went well.

Connacht: Kelleher, Adeolokun, Griffin, Aki, Healy, Carty, Blade, Buckley, McCartney, Bealham, Dillane, Qualter, McKeon, Fox-Matamua, Muldoon.
Glasgow: Hogg, Sarto, Dunbar, Johnson, Seymour, Horne, Pyrgos, Reid, MacArthur, Fagerson, Swinson, Gray, Harley, Favaro, Wilson.,

19 Responses

  1. On the Ryan Wilson yellow card – late tackle, no argument there – but first time I’ve ever seen a ref suggest that tackling round the legs could be seen somehow as ‘dangerous’ – ridiculous TMO referral. There was some bilge about ‘targetting the joint’, but that legistlation surely wasn’t meant to relate to tackling players around the legs?!?

    1. My jaw genuinely dropped when I heard he was checking to see if he’d targeted his knee. If tackles around the legs are now being looked at, why don’t we just play touch rugby. Wilsons tackle was a tad late, he was in the air as the ball was passed, but it was textbook around the thighs with the head, shoulder and arms in the correct position. It wasnt his fault the Connacht 10 was side on and his leg crumpled like paper. I know that “clipping” in the NFL is illegal but this was far from similar. What’s next, no glaring at the oppo before a scrum??

  2. Couldn’t be happier after a very good performance from Glasgow.
    Close in the first half, but the player losses at Connacht appear to have weakened them, particularly at scrum half and lock.
    Sarto was very impressive for Glasgow and seemed to gain an additional 10 meters ‘after’ each tackle. Very strong leg drive and could be a very astute signing.
    Sam Johnson also had a good game, and we seem to have found another decent centre pairing, as long as Dunbar remains injury free.
    The game against Leinster will tell us where Glasgow are currently. Suspect the other Irish provinces will prove stronger this year.
    A great start nonetheless, and Connacht looked shell-shocked by the end of the game.

    1. Many of the comments in web sites are muted over Glasgow’s win and Connacht’s humiliation.

      Glasgow did not just edge it. Connacht should be shell shocked, in fact they should be in therapy.

      I read Connacht’s fan site and we had an interesting comment from a Glasgow fan trying to rationalise the result and console their fans. He made some good points however this was not a bottom 4 club and I have no sympathy.

      The scoreboard never lies and 6 tries away from home ,against the current champions might even be unprecidented and well worth celebrating.

  3. The “intentional targeting of a joint” was a ridiculous call. This has to be stopped, if we let this happen then it will kill rugby as a contact sport.

    When you saw the tackle in real time I didn’t think it was that late.

    1. I agree with the complaints about Wilson’s tackle, it was late, and too late to escape without punishment, but a yellow was harsh. Last season Dunbar was taken out, nowhere near the ball with his knee targeted by Muldoon and no punishment was brought, not even a penalty. Fortunately Carty was able to get up and continue, Dunbar was not and missed the summer tour. We needn’t expect consistency in Pro12 reffing though, unless it’s Nigel to be fair to the man.

    2. For a stamp, absolutely, for a tackle never ever. I think they “”-up. Nobody in their right mind would tackle round the wrist or elbow, which leaves knees or ankles. Which is where most of us were taught to tackle. Another example of referees having no idea about the game. Given their ignorance amazing they didn’t give Wilson a red card. By any measure it was late, and yellow was the correct sanction. Credit to Carty, he got up and got on with it.

    3. He looked up after the pass was given then went through with the tackle. As late as a southern railway train.
      On TV it looked unnecessary and dangerous.
      I don’the know if tackling with intent to cause serious long term injury is a thing in Rugby, but if it is then it needs to be stopped.
      I don’t yhink Wilson is that bright

      1. If Wilson had been a half second quicker it would have been a superb tackle! Backrows have been trying to hit the opposition fly-half since the game was invented, and a more experienced fly-half would have seen him coming. So it’s a late tackle and Carty was unfortunate in that he was side-on. Yellow card seems fair given Wilson could have and should have pulled out. Don’t know what the officials/commentators were talking about “targeting the knee” – we were always told to tackle round the legs!! Ridiculous to even contemplate a red for a late tackle below the waist.

      2. I can’t agree with you at on any of that. Whether something “looked” dangerous is no reason to punish. It either was or wasn’t dangerous. The “look” of it is immaterial. Also, Wilson was committed to the tackle just as the ten passed. How on earth could he have time to look up and pull out of the tackle in the milliseconds he had? It was fractionally late but there was no intent to injure. It’s a physical contact sport and these things are inevitable. Get used to it.

  4. Wilson’s tackle was late, a fraction of a second late! Ridiculous decision, ridiculous performance by Glasgow, Bravo!
    Connacht are a class outfit and demonstrated good grace at the end of a game which must have hurt on many levels. So many good performances, delighted to see Sam Johnson get a run out and fulfilling his undoubted potential. Swinson, Dunbar, Sarto, Hogg et al were magnificent. However, you don’t win a game like that without a magnificent all-round team performance such as was delivered with aplomb.

  5. So where does this leave us then with those chop tackles that seem to be all the rage now, with players diving into knees, shins and anlkles? On the basis of Davis’ comments to TMO, they are a red card waiting to happen.

    Trying to give ref benefit of doubt, and see the Wilson incident from his perspective. He’s arguably not looking right at the incident, but gut instinct is that there has been a late hit and you’ve got the 10 going down in a crumpled heap. So he asked TMO to review – fair ’nuff. Hit looks late in slo mo, less so in real time, but ref seem to very quickly decide it’s late – so his starting point is a yellow card. I’ll gloss over the fact that in second half Connacht were penalised for a late tackle (on Horne I think) but no yellow card.

    In my opinion, any additional review to consider upgrading from yellow should focus only on whether his arms were used in the tackle – I simply don’t see how it’s relevant where his shoulder contacted the 10’s legs – clearly arms were used, so that should be it, end of story…..but no, Davis seems to be looking for an excuse to call it dangerous and red Wilson. It’s clear that if his shoulder had contacted 3 or 4 inches lower, Wilson would have been facing a red, which it totally bonkers.

    1. We all seem to be in agreement on here but thought he got off lightly with an “insanely late and nasty tackle”. Tom English and Rob Robertson on twitter seemed to agree immediately after the incident, although they may have changed their minds once they realise that attempting to tackle round the legs is what you’re supposed to do. Rugby onslaught agreed and wondered what Shane Horgan was on about it being dangerous.
      Essentially – if you looking to the laws of rugby – you should ask yourself “if it wasn’t late, would it have been a penalty at all?”.

      1. Bingo! The only people whining about this are Irish!! What s surprise. I can imagine Alan “I don’t like the Scots” Quinlan was probably demanding the death penalty for Wilson.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only decent ref in the Pro12 is Ben Whitehouse. All the others, and I include Nigel “I love me” Owens,are appallingly bad officials.

  6. Shame that the comments here are generally focused on a decision that the referee eventually got right, even if he went a meandering way to get there. Late-tackle, yellow card, no problem.

    I’d rather dwell a little longer on the total shellacking Glasgow gave the defending champions. Roll on Leinster!

  7. What a performance from Glasgow. Some Irish commentators were making a lot of the fact that Connacht had only one pre-season game and we’re struggling because of it. As far as I’m aware Hogg, Sarto and Seymour didn’t feature in any pre-season games but managed 3 tries between them.

    Glasgow simply looked hungrier and sharper than the defending champions and the result shows this. Will anyone else score 6 tries in Galway? Great start to the season!

    1. Don’t disagree with any of the main points. Mr P. Dant would point out he saw Sarto playing and scoring in the Quins game.

  8. OK,looking forward – why, oh why, do we have John Lacey refereeing this? Answers on the back of a postage stamp.

You might also like these:

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.
Scotland came up frustratingly short in their final Six Nations match against Ireland, losing out on a place in WXV1 in the dying minutes. It was a disappointing end to what has been a very good, if not spectacular, tournament from Scotland. Eleanor has the talking points.
Scotland's Womens Six Nations came to a frustrating end with an eminently achievable third place slipping out of their fingers in the final minutes. Skye rates the players.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion