Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow Warriors 43-13 Southern Kings

Sam Johnson
Sam Johnson was one of a number of players who impressed - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Glasgow welcomed the South African side to Scotstoun for the first time, on a windy old October night. The Glasgow side had a youthful feel about it, with George Horne and Adam Hastings making their first Warriors starts. In the pack, Fagerson Junior and Senior teamed up with Matt Smith, with Pat MacArthur bringing some much-needed experience to the rave.

This is a fixture that most fans would have been expecting a bonus point victory from, given the Kings poor results thus far and it was no surprise when Glasgow took the lead with their first attack. Sam Johnson, who has been in very sharp form of late, danced through the Kings defence before delaying his pass to send Stuart Hogg over the whitewash for his second try since his return from injury. Adam Hastings couldn’t add the extras, but it marked a very positive start from Glasgow.

The Kings managed to steady the ship well, aided by some lacklustre Glasgow handling and indiscipline. Two Kings penalties took the South African side into the lead, but the Glasgow side did not panic.

George Horne, whose speed of pass and sniping runs impressed all night, got the Glasgow backs moving well but it was the forwards who impressed most, with some serious grunt work gaining hard metres. Near the line it was left to Niko Matalawu to delight the Scotstoun faithful with a lovely opportunist snipe through the Kings defence. Hastings got the conversion this time, and he had another opportunity to add further extras soon afterwards; Nick Grigg celebrating his new 2-year contract with a trademark thundering running line to put some daylight between the sides.

With the conversion the Warriors took a 19-6 lead into the changing rooms despite having been outplayed for a significant chunk of the half.

Half-time: Glasgow 19 – 6 Southern Kings

The second 40 started with Glasgow now playing with the wind, but the errors continued. The players continued to throw the ball about, and ran from their own 22 as often as they could. It was left to some old-fashioned prop play though to secure the bonus point that the East Stand demanded. A lovely 5m lineout, straight off the training paddock, saw Zander Fagerson absolutely muller through the poor Kings scrum-half Rudi van Rooyen to touch down. The young prop had a busy old night and fairly enjoyed his try, with Hastings this time skelping the uprights with the conversion to leave the score 24 – 6.

The fifth try was not far behind, with the rolling maul the weapon of choice for the home pack. Matt Smith was the man in possession when the collective mass of bodies collapsed over the line. Ruaridh Jackson had taken over from Hastings by this point, but the replacement also struck the upright with the conversion, leaving the score 29-6.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, another thunderous Glasgow maul gave the hosts their sixth try. This time it was the smallest player on the park, George Horne, who found himself adding his ‘significant’ bulk to the forward efforts. The scrum-half deserved his score, his first in competitive action for Glasgow. Jackson nailed the conversion to take the score to 36-6.

Glasgow had not looked much like conceding a try for most of the evening, so it was a bit of a surprise when young Stafford McDowell, on his competitive debut, threw a horrible pass inside his own 22 that was gratefully received by Jacques Nel. Too much ambition in the 22 – something that Leinster punished a lot more ruthlessly – finally cost the hosts and Oliver Zono converted.

Glasgow were not done for the evening just yet.

McDowell did his best to redeem himself with a thumping burst to within five metres of the Kings try line. Eventually, the ball was bundled out to Matalawu, who was taken into touch by a very high challenge. Referee Mike Adamson saw nothing in this, the final of a number of strange decisions from the Scottish (formerly of Glasgow Warriors) whistler.

He was thankfully helped out by his team, who reviewed the footage. They still didn’t get it right as it was for me a clear penalty try situation, but Glasgow would not be denied. From the resulting penalty lineout, another maul saw George Turner flop over, getting his first Warriors try. Jackson converted from out wide to leave the score at the final whistle 43-13.

7 tries, 7 out of 7 in the Pro 14, and plenty of exciting young talent coming along the SRU conveyor belt.

Full-time: Glasgow 43 – 13 Southern Kings

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

Attendance: 7,351

SRBlog Man of the Match: Man of the Match went to George Horne, and it is hard to disagree as he was head and shoulders above everyone on the park. The speed of delivery was sensational and the young playmaker can be extremely proud of his first start at Scotstoun. Other honourable mentions to Adam Hastings, who looks a real livewire and Sam Johnson at 12.

21 Responses

  1. Horne fantastic and what impressed me was his work rate off the ball, i could see him overtaking Price next season and price is playing fantastic also, could we see another international class 10 to compliment Russell ? that is the first time ive seen hastings apply his running game against defense , it will be interesting to see how those 2 do against better teams and swapping in and out with russell/price.

    I think matawalu has to be in the 23 against the big teams , yes he makes mistakes but he will break through and find gaps against any team in the world.

    I think the forwards worked well overall as a unit which was encouraging to see , will be interesting to see if those guys can deliver that go forward against the bigger teams.

    Reasonably happy with how harley manages the ref , he seems to get his message across well and put in alot of work off the ball, i reckon he probaly topped tackle stats.

    1. Yes, wee George was top rate tonight for a Glasgow side who only occasionally got out of second gear. I’m a big fan having has him at LS for half a season. He needs plenty of game time and can only get better.

    2. I think we really need to keep our powder dry for George Horne. I think he looked great at the tail end of last year for the Sevens and at times his explosiveness on Friday was joyful- however, he will surely play in much harder games where he will be behind a retreating pack or playing a team that suffocates you with territory – More game time will undoubtedly prove if he has the minerals, but I think we need caution to allow him (if you will ignore the pun) time to grow and to develop a more rounded game before we throw him in at the deep end – I would echo the same thoughts for Vellacot as well whilest we are at it

  2. I reckon he will get around 8-10 more starts this season and could become a regular of bench, im hoping he will take pyrgos place in the impact or at least start rotating with him.

  3. Their Scrummie will be wishing he had got a bit more practice tackling wilderbeast. Miserable night for him.Horne out shined and Fagerson finished his night with a bang.

  4. If I wasn’t Scottish then I would hate Zander Fagerson in the same way I hate certain English players.

    I love Zander Fagerson.

    Also, George Horne has a big future. There is a Gary Armstrong in there. Who caught him using the dive pass? Classic.

    1. Know what you mean re Zander. There’s definitely a touch of Sinckler in the way he constantly gets involved in afters off the ball. Not really a fan of it though – seems unnecessary and he’s going to end up with a bit rep with referees.

      George Horne was exceptional. Give him a season or two and he could be really special. He was great for Scotland Sevens last year and you can see the influence of that coming through now. Always got his head up and looking to attack.
      Haven’t seen much of Steele or Velacott but if they’re as good as some people have been saying then our scrum half stocks are going to be looking pretty impressive in a couple of years

      1. Fagerson isn’t the finished article yet, he is still learning. He has improved hugely in the last 2 yrs. Has the potential to be one of the best props around. Front row isn’t a tickling competition…there’s a lot of unseen agro going on in there. Its about dominating. Mentally as well as physically.

        G Horne could well overtake Price….and I like Price. Horne has a very sharp rugby brain…quick hands and turn of pace .. gets stuck in despite limited size. Terrific player in the making.

      2. Sickler’s older, a dirty player and a thug. Zander’s just a young hot-head who should focus more on his scrumming than his handbagging.

      3. Harsh there on Sinckler, based on what I’ve seen of him. He only turned 24 this year, and has a lot of positive attributes.

        I’m guessing Zander’s handbags wouldn’t happen so often if he wasn’t trying to compensate for a tough time at a previous scrum. My hope/guess is that as he gets better at the latter, we’ll see less of the former.

      4. The problem he may have at Glasgow is that there isn’t a senior tighthead there to mentor him. He kinda is the senior tighthead now. The Edinburgh lads are probably benefitting from Nel’s experience even when he’s not playing, who’s filling that role at Glasgow – JHumph? Ryan Grant maybe?

      5. there is nothing a a Sinckler about Fagerson. Fagerson has no thug side, and for all he is involved in a a few fracas, I don’t think he has started any – he simply does not take a backwards step. He will need to tread carefully sometimes but he won’t be bullied. A number of incidents in earlier matches were caused by opposition pulling his scrum cap down or off, deliberate provocation and foul play, but if he lets it go the culprit comes back for more, he has to stand his ground.
        And the good news is he is targeted like that precisely because of how good he is in the loose especially

      6. For the record, I’m not saying Zander is in any way a dirty player and Sinckler, who I notice is currently serving a ban for gouging, clearly is. The comparison is due to the way Fagerson tends to be involved every little scuffle now, even when it’s nothing to do with him and seems easily wound up. Teams have noticed this about Sinckler and target him at every opportunity trying to rile him up and give away a penalty.

        Agree that Zander is just a hot-headed youth and his aggression and enthusiasm is great at times (look at his reaction to scoring on Friday). He just needs to control himself more and channel it into his game rather than these off-the-ball scraps.

      7. Agreed, he needs to watch himself, I have never seen him do anything dirty, its just all bluster and handbags, he will get a reputation with Refs though if he doesn’t stop. Sadly the way rugby is going it wont be long till someone dives to the ground writhing in agony and he gets sent off(just have to hope Nige is reffing). I think Andrew McGavin makes a good point that as he gets better at scrumming we will hopefully see less of the retaliatory hand bagging.

  5. Scotland lacks nasty players. To be encouraged until he reaches the WP Nel stage, where nobody dares pull down his scrum cap.

    1. Agree that a bit of fight in the Scotland tight five has been missing since Hines retired. Once Fagerson is old enough to grow a fearsome beard to match his demeanour nobody will mess with him.

  6. Just a wee point of note.The 4 officials were all SRU.I thought the refereeing was ok however I am wondering what the SA fanzines might be making of the PRO14 ref set up.

    1. Like the rest of us, they will think it’s a nonsense. I get really wound up about this.
      There was absolutely no need to put Adamson ( or any other ref of any nationality ) in that sort of invidious no – win position, and it should be mandatory to have a complete team of neutral officials on and off the pitch for every fixture.
      Refs have a hard enough time without that sort of ridiculous policy adding to their pressures. The PRO14 doesn’t help itself sometimes.

  7. I agree chiel , i do not think the refs did anything clearly in favour of one team but their should be no risk at all putting same nationality refs as the team, i wouldnt want nigel owens reffing if it was glasgow or edinburgh vs a welsh team.

    1. Glasgow had Lacey refereeing a game with an Irish side last season. I recall he was generous in Glasgow’s favour. I cannot believe I am saying this , but I felt sorry for him, he was not enjoying his work.

      On the positive side, great to see SRU refs coming through, lets hope he gets more games (but not SRU sides).

      Is this another sign of green shoots in Scottish rugby.

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