Glasgow Warriors 23-7 Racing 92

Racing could not have been more obvious in their game plan in coming over to Scotstoun. A pack weighing in at 952kg – an increase on 70 odd kilos from last week. Even Ronan O’Gara confirmed as much pre-match – “We need to be a bit more North-South” highlighting the French desire to straighten up and grind the Scotstoun side into submission.

Gregor Townsend also commented that he believed this was the biggest ever pack a team coached by him had faced. A simple plan, playing to the traditional ‘French’ strengths of the Racing globetrotters, but what happens if Glasgow match up to the supposed area of strength?

Well the simple answer to that quandary is that Glasgow then proceeded to blow away their opposition, similar to the Leicester game.

Just 5 minutes in a sublime chip through on halfway, over the onrushing Racing defence, from Finn Russell was well picked up by Seymour who went most of the way to the Racing line. He managed the pass inside to Hogg who was caught as well, but again the support play was outstanding and Josh Strauss, on his 100th Warriors cap, barged over to give the Scotstoun crowd an early Christmas gift. Russell missed the extras but the Racing defence would be very concerned with how easy it was for Glasgow to slice them open.

Especially as it kept happening.

The game was all Glasgow in the opening period, with the usual suspects carrying hard, making breaks and generally outplaying their illustrious opponents. Russell, like last week, was at the heart of everything, and it was the Scotland 10 who got an assist for try number 2.

Much is often made of Peter Horne’s passing game, but Russell I would argue is just as good, evidenced by the way he was hurling the ball around with control and accuracy. He found Fraser Brown in space about 10m out, and the hooker did the rest, bouncing through three Racing tacklers to down. Russell added the extras, and with 15 minutes gone Glasgow had a 12-point lead.

Racing eventually got some ball, but Glasgow were forcing them into errors, particularly in the red zone. In the first half alone I counted 3 key errors coming from good defensive play by the home side that cost Racing near certain tries.

Russell continued to keep the scoreboard moving, punishing indiscipline from the French as well as deploying his full range of smart kicking tricks, ensuring Glasgow played their rugby in the right areas. Two further penalties stretched the Glasgow advantage to 18, and the Scotstoun crowd could barely believe the ease at which this advantage was achieved. Massive plaudits for an incredible effort by the pack who dominated the scrum and maul areas, totally nullifying the Racing strengths going into the game.

HT Glasgow 18 – 0 Racing

The second half kicked off with the Racing game plan firmly consigned to the bin after the battering it took in the 1st half.

A hefty batch of front row subs took the field immediately, but Glasgow calmly continued with their business undeterred.

It was no surprise when Ali Price scored Glasgow’s third try, again created by a darting run from Russell. Price beat two defenders, showing a bit of power in that scrum half’s build to get his score. Russell again missed the extras, but it was 23 – 0 and Glasgow were one try away from the bonus point.

To this point (and actually in both games against Racing) I have not mentioned the referees. George Clancy was absolutely excellent, as was JP Doyle last time out. This will come as quite the surprise as I have on many occasions questioned Clancy’s competence, but credit where it is due – he did a good job.

Racing continued to prod at the Glasgow defence, but the Scots seemed very comfortable, even when scrambling on the 5 metre line.

When Dan Carter departed after 60mins  with zero carries (and therefore also zero metres gained, defenders beaten and line breaks), it was clear that the game was up.

Racing finally managed a try of their own on 79 minutes, but really the only relief for the Parisians is that they denied Glasgow the four try bonus, which could yet play a part in this very close group. Had you offered any Glasgow fan 8 points from the Racing double header just a couple of weeks ago, they would have offered up their granny in return for your generosity!

Glasgow finally have a platform to get out of the Champions Cup group stages for the first time. Trips to Welford Road, and a return leg against old foes Munster is looking very tasty indeed.

FT Glasgow 23 – 7 Racing 92

SR Blog Man of the Match: As per last week, you could pretty much pick a Warrior out of a hat and be not far off. Tighthead Zander Fagerson’s reputation will have escalated significantly after these 2 games, the usual core of Hogg, Seymour, Gray, Wilson and Strauss had massive games, but my Man of the Match is of course Finn Russell. The Bandaged One has been electric in these 2 games, playing Carter off the pitch (literally) and looking more composed, calm and creative than ever. This is a young man who I believe typifies all that is good about our current young crop of internationals, not scared to make mistakes, not scared to enjoy their beloved game of rugby. He plays the game with a smile on his face, and he (and his Warriors teammates) certainly brought a smile to mine.

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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

39 comments on “Glasgow Warriors 23-7 Racing 92

  1. Doddies Trews on

    Bloody fantastic

    As an aside I have to say I am a Ryan Wilson convert. I never used to like him; seemed a bit too lightweight for 6 or 8, too much of a card/pen magnet, and a prat after the kebab shop incident. However, since the Italy 6N match he has been superb for both club and country. Long may it continue.

  2. Grahame on

    How good was that. I actually worried that the occasion would get to the Warriors, as it did last time we were in with a shout of qualification then surrendered tamely to Toulouse at home.

    Not a bit of it, losing that match did not appear to be on anyone’s mind as they just blew Racing away. We just played them off the park playing the Glasgow way, high tempo but still structured rugby. Some of the big lumps in the Racing pack were blowing hard after 20 mins and were clearly done by half time.

    Easy to plan but hard to execute especially against a side as good as Racing. We have just got to keep telling ourselves that we have not qualified yet and we need to play like this for the next two games. The lose against Munster in Limerick was excusable in the circumstances, but we have shown what we can do now and the next two games are winnable. I think we may need them both to qualify!

  3. Andy N on

    Excellent result and we were awesome for about 50 mins. With hindsight, Price came the off far too early – we seemed to lose momentum when Pyrgos came on which is a shame as a bonus point was there for the taking.

    • Scott McCall on

      I thought the exact same thing, Prices speed of thought and ability to dart around the fringes kept Racing honest. Pyrgos can control a game well in an arm wrestle but that was exactly what we didn’t want to have against Racing. No offence to Pyrgos who is a quality player, horses for courses.

  4. pragmatic optomist on

    Another top notch performance.
    Glasgow were sharp and precise and ran them ragged. The entire pack were very good and some players are coming into great form (Price, Russell, entire front row, Strauss, Wilson, Dunbar, Hogg)
    I keep hearing lots of permutations about the group, when I thought
    it was fairly simple.
    1 – Beat Munster and it’s on (espec. if Munster lose to Leicester today)
    2 – Beat Munster and Leicester. through to QF.
    The game against Munster will be a firecracker.
    I also read that Scotstoun doesn’t meet the criteria for a QF stadium, which should have be a minimum 15,000 capacity. Can anyone confirm?

    • Andy N on

      I think big downside for us is that Racing will now effectively lie down to Munster (x2) and Leicester, Rog pretty much admitted that on the TV interview last night. I think best case scenario is Munster finish on 23 points. If Glasgow take 5 point win over Munster and Tigers, we tie on 23 points – so would go to the head to head record, and that’s going to be tough to beat after the 5 tries to 2 humping they gave us a Thomond. So were already hunting for a runners up spot I reckon.

      • FF on

        Obviously Racing are going to prioritise the T-14 now but French clubs hate to lose at home and when you have assembled a team as expensive as Racing, club owners don’t tend to look kindly on a P6 W0 record in the highest status tournament in Europe. So there is still a chance they will take points off Munster in Paris, particularly as Munster will not challenge them with the pace they play at like Glasgow did. Racing’s coaches need to start winning games domestically and in Europe to save their jobs.

      • Mikelinds on

        I think irrespective of whether Racing lie down or not, Glasgow are in a good place. If you had said to GT before the competition started, that after round four Glasgow would be sure to go through if they won their last two games, he would have said – “Done”. Glasgow won’t necessarily win the pool, but they will be certain of a runner up spot regardless of other results. If they win one out of the two and get a bonus point, then they are likely still in a good spot. Pool 2 are virtually certain to provide one runner up spot, but pools 3, 4 and 5 are not well placed in relation to Glasgow. All to play for!

  5. JP on

    I don’t think two teams are going to get thru out of this group, as wonderful as it was missing out on the bonus point could cost them a QF. I’d expect them to take Leicester but Munster I don’t know, I guess today’s match will tell us a lot regarding Munster on the road. Also Racing won’t turn up now so I’d expect anyone who plays them now to get a BP win. ROG as good as admitted it in his post match interview.

  6. bulldog on

    Wont it be just great to beat Munster, qualify or not. The way Earls complained about the red card did it for me. Call me old fachioned , but as far as I am concerned , there is bad blood now.

  7. billy mitchell on

    Lets be posiive ,Munster At Scotstoun wecan do them,They will be concerned.The we can deal with the last game.

  8. Ade on

    Slightly off topic, but I can’t help but imagine the conversation taking place as that picture at the top was taken…..

    ZF – Jonny, Jonny, gaunie haud ma hand?

    JG – Naw! Tellt ye, ahm no haudin’ yir hand!

    ZF – but Ryan’s haudin ma hand! How come you dinnae want to haud ma hand? *sniff*

    RW (leaning behind Zander, whispering) – Come on Jonny, it’ll keep the wee man quiet, and Big Rob’s no’ lookin…

    • Ade on

      As for last night – what an all round performance. It was an absolute joy to watch. Controlled, precise and Racing couldn’t live with it. That Carter was hooked so early after doing so little summed it up perfectly.

      And although Edinburgh don’t have the same control, they are similarly placed after 4 games. Who would have imagined that both Scots sides would still be in the mix for Europe come Christmas? Great stuff!

      Oh, and sorry about the picture nonsense :0)

  9. MK on

    Experience playing against the scrummaging units of Agentina and Georgia has done wonders for Fagerson. Excelent display from the young man.

    • Mikelinds on

      I cannot agree more. Fagerson is a baby at this level, but what belief these Autumn international games must have given him. Now he produces the goods in a top level European game. ????????

  10. Alanyst on

    Don’t want to put a downer on it…the win was great to watch…but looking past the big names Racing are just not that great..8th in top14 one spot above SF, haven’t won a game in champions cup.

    Good to see Munster got beat, but very much doubt Racing will do the same in Jan….sure to be another emotional experience though.

  11. john martin on

    Re Price – its his ability to keep the opposition defence honest that is priceless, from a Scotland perspective Laidlaw is a good player/captain but doesn’t have that attacking threat that holds the other back row’s attention.

    In the 1st 6N game we really need Heaslip O’Brien, Stander, Van Der Flier, O’Mahoney to be kept honest & on the back foot, Price suits the game we need to play to.

  12. JohnMc on

    Whatever happens for Glasgow in the Euro Cup – and I really hope they get to the knock-out stage – they really must bring these performances into the Pro 12 as well to ensure qualification for next year’s top Euro competition. They’re 10 points off the leaders at the moment. Meaning they still can still qualify, but I do worry about how the forthcoming losses to the national side will affect their results. Sadly, as an Embra fan, I think it’s too late for the Gunners to make it to a Champs Cup spot through the Pro 12, but I remain hopeful of turning over Quins on 12 Jan to keep Challenge hopes alive.

    • MK on

      Will they not qualify by virture of being the highest ranked Scottish team, irrespective of making top 6? Ie Zebre are in the Champions cup

      • Mikelinds on

        No. Both Embra and Glasgow will qualify if in top 6. If one is in top 6 and not the other, then the top 6 side qualifies. If neither in top 6 then higher ranked side qualifies.

  13. Alexander Coldwell on

    Glasgow are building tremendous momentum and the concomitant self-belief. Edinburgh are capable of playing outstanding rugby but are let down by inconsistency. A correspondent referred recently to Edinburgh as one of the prime rugby centres in Europe……..but at least with reference to its support, how can this be the case when a paltry 4,055 (which must have included a fair number of SF fans) turned up at Murrayfield to witness rugby at the highest level sub-test? Edinburgh are let down by the potential support that stays at home. The Borderers claim to be rugby aficionados but their main enthusiasm seems to be confined to parochial local rivalries. If they were true lovers of the game, they should be turning up in numbers to support Edinburgh, along with the trickle from the city, and to enjoy a high level of rugby — the increased support would also improve the morale of the players, which in turn would enhance their performance, resulting in the virtuous circle we see at Glasgow.

    • JohnMc on

      Edinburgh a prime centre of rugby in Europe? Who on earth would have the evidence to say that? Let’s be frank and accept that outside the Borders rugby is still very much a middle-class game and plays second fiddle to football. Not criticising football – that’s just the way it is in Scotland. And though I wasn’t there, I’d be surprised if Stade Francais fans turned out in large numbers. I was at Murrayfield for the QF against Toulouse a few years ago, and you could count the Toulouse supporters on the fingers of two hands. Funnily enough, it’s a fact that rugby is such a minority sport in such a small country like ours that makes it all the sweeter when the national side does well.

      • Marcus Halberstam on

        I can see why people think Edinburgh has the potential to be a big rugby city. Quite a big catchment area; affluent city; a ton of private schools, Borders close by; no other successful sports teams to steal limelight. Certainly more going for it on paper than Glasgow has.

    • Andy on

      Edinburgh has a woeful sporting following though. Both football clubs and the rugby side getting a combined average of about 40,000 a game, compared to close to 115,000 for the Glasgow equivalent. It’s a shame how the rugby side’s following has dropped off in the last few years. I remember being at the game against Toulouse a few years ago in the HC QF and there were close to 40,000 there.

      • FF on

        The Edinburgh match experience is dire and we’ve been rubbish since Robinson led us to 2nd in the table. That QF shows there is a huge potential support for Edinburgh in the city but we need 3 or 4 years of winning games and getting better. If Glasgow can build support through the unique formula of winning matches and playing good rugby, there is nothing to stop us form doing it. We need to get a quality, ambitious coach though – I worry we’re gearing up to hire Hodge…

      • WestCountryTartanArmy on

        Really? You can’t compare Glasgow and Edinburgh, particularly bringing football into it. I don’t think that the relevant size of the Old Firm can in any way be used as a stick to beat Edinburgh! Old Firm supporters come from all over Scotland (particularly the West) not to mention Ireland and the rest of the UK (both Rangers and Celtic shirts are pretty common down here even). If you compare Edinburgh with somewhere like Bristol (large city, two relatively unsuccessful football clubs – as in, not regularly winning titles, with a fairly strong rugby pedigree) it’s probably not far off in terms of crowds. Rugby is a minority sport in Scotland (as it is in most of the UK).

  14. The Chiel on

    7 Warriors in my English paper’s ERC team of the round, and Finn Russell as their outstanding player. The Times they are a changing . . .

    • Mikelinds on

      Interesting as Planet Rugby gives four. Gray, Strauss, Russell & Hogg.

      Saw the Times selection.

      Very, very seldom if ever has the wider punditry game recognised there are some pretty decent players in Scotland.

      Now, a couple of decent showings in the Pro 12, then the BIG one. Munster at home.

      I am sure the guys will be much readier than we were for the away game.

      • Rory on

        I am pleasantly surprised to see Fagerson popping up in a few lists now. If Nel isn’t fit for the 1872 Cup showdown, the Six Nations is probably 50/50 who gets the nod at tighthead…

  15. WestCountryTartanArmy on

    Not sure Glasgow need to win both.
    Currently on 13 points.
    18 should be enough to qualify, 19 almost certainly.
    i.e. a win, and a bonus point defeat at worst, should be enough. A bonus point win and a bonus defeat absolutely.
    Again, real shame not to get the bonus Saturday as I think that would put Glasgow within 1 win (of any sort) of likely qualification.

  16. Alexander Coldwell on

    Apathy towards public events in general pervades the Scottish psyche — so it is especially difficult for our two professional clubs, which lack the long, strong tradition of the Irish provinces, to build up their support. There are cores of devoted supporters for both Glasgow and Edinburgh but for most rugby “fans” in Scotland their interest is only aroused by the 6N. I remember when the now-defunct South, comprised almost entirely of Borderers, was playing against some exotic team, I think Toulouse. Yet in this supposed area of devoted rugby followers the stand was only half-filled and a sparse additional crowd lined the touchlines. Incredible!
    Many work very hard behind the scenes to attract more support but their efforts, sadly, are often vilified. Glasgow has succeeded in enlarging its fan-base through a happy combination of attractive rugby and real success, allied to its sterling efforts to engage with the public at large.

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