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European Rugby Challenge Cup: Montpellier 26 – 21 Glasgow Warriors

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Danny Wilson’s first European campaign ended in minor disappointment in Montpellier, as after a bright start some familiar problems prevented the Warriors from defeating their familiar European foes.

Montpellier gifted the Warriors an early shot at goal when a raft of forwards chased Alex Losowski’s kick when standing yards in front of the on loan Saracen, and Adam Hastings made it two from two in French stadiums following on from his 85th minute conversion for the national side last week.

An allegation of foul play against Mohammed Haouas at the ruck was deemed unproven – the home broadcasters somehow able to provide referee Karl Dickson with only one inconclusive camera angle – he had already taken Kebble high before returning to the ruck, whereupon Fraser Brown went down clutching his head.

Losowski and Hastings rolled the scoreboard over to 6-9, Glasgow doing well to quickly respond when the well-stacked Montpellier side had levelled on two occasions, but Glasgow did lose Huw Jones to a head injury with the scores at 6-6.

Ali Price must have had a sense of déjà vu when he had to race after a chip over the top in pursuit of a number 14, and although he pulled Johan Goosen down, Goosen was adjudged to have knocked the ball on first.

The home side did get over the line – and as has been the case far too often for Glasgow this season – right on the cusp of half-time, former France captain Guilhem Guirado spinning off the maul and driving over.

Half-time: Montpellier 13 – 9 Glasgow Warriors

A fantastic try featuring Corbus Reinach, Vincent Rattez and finished by Anthony Boutthier put Montpellier further in the lead, and Glasgow then suffered further blows when Fraser Brown couldn’t quite keep control as he went to ground, and they followed that up by making a hash of a tap and go penalty from 5m.

With Bastian Chalureau in the bin for Montpellier, Glasgow did eventually decide to take a shot at goal and reduced the lead, but that was wiped out courtesy of another recurring problem with Glasgow’s season: their terrible discipline.

TJ Ioane had only replaced the impressive Fotu Lokotui a few minutes earlier when he was shown red for a shoulder to the face, Karl Dickson and TMO Ian Tempest deciding there was no mitigation to reduce the punishment to yellow, so Glasgow would play the last quarter a man down.

Ross Thompson was given a little over 10mins to show what he can do on a European stage and duly got his first three points, but Lozowski wiped that out to leave an 8-point gap between the sides.

Martin Devergie’s yellow card for a dump tackle on George Turner put Montpellier also down to fourteen, so Thompson reduced the gap to within a try, and then Lozowski’s match-clinching attempt stayed right of the posts, giving Glasgow two minutes to try and win it, however, they would have to do so with thirteen, Nick Grigg’s deliberate knock on seeing him join a well-worn naughty step.

A daft penalty by gnarly veteran Bismarck du Plessis let Thompson put the ball into Montpellier’s half, however Montpellier had edged the physical battle – Ioane’s specialty – and stripped the ball away to leave Glasgow frustrated and with a few weeks to fill before the start of the Rainbow Cup.

SRBlog Player of the Match: Kebble and Fagerson did some impressive carrying work, especially in the first half, Nick Grigg made a couple of breaks but didn’t defend so well, Sam Johnson offered some nice running lines, proved hard to put down and stood firmest among the backs.

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU)

4 Responses

  1. I don’t think TJ Ioane has ever actually played a game for Glasgow and not had a yellow card. Glasgow could have won that if we didn’t have such stupid play. Huw Jones was a big loss he looked like he was in fine form.

    1. Yes, Glasgow could have won that match with some better discipline, execution, and decision making. While Hastings’ place kicking was good, his kicking from hand was poor. There were several occasions where his kicking simply handed possession back to Montpellier resulting in points for them shortly thereafter.

    2. I agree on Huw Jones, he was looking a real threat with ball on hand before he went off. I was almost wondering if he might be a shout as a lions bolter but having gone off and Glasgow being knocked out I don’t think has opportunities to win Gatland over now. Although he does have Welsh heritage so you never know!

  2. Performance was very much what has become the norm this year – remain competitive for 50-60 mins, then fall apart in last quarter of the game. Our discipline begins to falter, we hand opposition momentum and then never seem to be able to wrestle it back, we panic, discipline gets worse and so on.

    Not easy to know why our discipline has become such an issue – maybe players don’t properly understand their defensive roles so getting into wrong positions and having to scramble, maybe conditioning is an issue and we start to make poor decisions under pressure when fatigued. These guys haven’t become bad overnight, something simply isn’t clicking for them. COVID can’t really be used as a genuine reason anymore, the performances of both Scottish clubs are some way short of our peers and for me, the buck absolutely must stop with the coaching teams.

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