Glasgow Warriors 14-19 Northampton Saints

A youthful Glasgow Warriors side were narrowly denied a victory in Dave Rennie’s first match in charge, as two late tries saw Northampton Saints claim a 19-14 victory at Stirling County.Adam Ashe captained the side

The spectators at Bridgehaugh were treated to an entertaining encounter, with George Horne and Adam Ashe crossing for the home side in front of a crowd of 2,532.

In front of a packed Bridgehaugh, it was Northampton who got proceedings underway, with Warriors captain Ashe having elected to receive the kick-off.

It was the home side who looked the most dangerous in the opening exchanges, with both Rory Hughes and Leonardo Sarto testing the Saints defence.

On 10 minutes, Glasgow’s early pressure paid dividends. A lovely cut-out pass from George Horne found Robbie Nairn, with the winger racing clear down the touchline before drawing the last man and finding Horne on his inside for the first try of the Dave Rennie era. Adam Hastings converted to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead, much to the delight of the Stirling crowd.

The home side were now dominating territory, with Hughes once again finding gaps in the Saints’ defensive line and strong carrying from Matt Fagerson and Scott Cummings making good yardage in the Northampton 22.

Northampton were beginning to find their feet in the game, however, and were beginning to ask questions of their hosts. The Warriors defensive line held firm, though, with Cummings and Matt Smith to the fore.

The visitors were not to be denied an opening score, however. Having spent a significant period of time camped in Glasgow territory, Harry Mallinder’s grubber kick in behind the Warriors defence was touched down by Saints centre Ahsee Tuala. With Mallinder adding the conversion from in front of the posts, the scores were level as referee Mike Adamson blew for half-time.

George Horne scored the opening try at BridgehaughThe Bridgehaugh crowd were almost treated to a try-of-the-season contender just moments into the second half, as Adam Hastings’ cross-field kick on his own 22 was gathered by Lee Jones. The replacement winger sprinted clear, with only good scramble defence from the Saints denying the Scotland international.

The Warriors were showing their intention to run from deep, however, and were rewarded with a scintillating team try on 51 minutes. Paddy Kelly’s break from his own 22 was supported by Fagerson, with his charge only halted by desperate defence from Ben Foden. The Warriors flanker found Sam Johnson on his inside, who helped the ball on to Stafford McDowell via Jones. Whilst the substitute full-back was dragged down just short, captain Ashe was on hand to finish off a tremendous move, with the former Stirling County man scoring under the posts to give Hastings a simple conversion.

Rennie’s men were producing some crowd-pleasing attacking rugby, with Sarto, Hastings and replacement second-row Brian Alain’nuese all offloading to good effect. Defensively, too, the Warriors continued to look solid, as Northampton were kept at bay by some ferocious tackling from the young Glasgow side.

As the game entered its final ten minutes, both sides were looking to play from anywhere as space opened up on the Bridgehaugh pitch. It was to be the Saints that would be the next to cross the whitewash, though, as Alex Mitchell sniped his way over from close-range after prolonged pressure on the Glasgow line. However, Mallinder’s attempted conversion sailed wide, leaving the Warriors with a 14-12 advantage going into the closing stages.

The visitors then grabbed the lead for the first time in the game just moments later, Tom Collins bursting through a gap in midfield to touch down. Mallinder added the extra two points, and the Premiership side had a 19-14 lead.

It would be a lead that the Saints would hold until full-time, despite the best efforts of the home side. The Warrior Nation can take great encouragement from the performances of the club’s youth, however, as attentions now turn to the second match of pre-season against the Dragons in Ebbw Vale this coming Friday.

Highlights of the game will be available at YouTube.com/GlasgowWarriors this evening.

Glasgow Warriors: Rory Hughes, Leonardo Sarto, Paddy Kelly, Sam Johnson, Robbie Nairn, Adam Hastings, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, James Malcolm, D’arcy Rae, Greg Peterson, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Matt Smith, Adam Ashe (capt).

Replacements: Alex Allan, Grant Stewart, Adam Nicol, Brian Alain’nuese, Kiran McDonald, George Stokes, Hamilton Burr, Chris Fusaro, Lewis Wynne, Charlie Shiel, Stafford McDowell, Lee Jones, Robert Beattie.

Northampton Saints: Ben Foden (capt), Jamie Elliott, Ahsee Tuala, Luther Burrell, Juan Pablo Estelles, Piers Francis, Nic Groom; Campese Ma’afu, Charlie Clare, Jamal Ford-Robinson, David Ribbans, James Craig, Jamie Gibson, Lewis Ludlam, Mitch Eadie.

Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Alex Waller, Kieran Brookes, Paul Hill, Michael Paterson, Reece Marshall, Christian Day, Ben Nutley, Teimana Harrison, Alex Mitchell, James Grayson, Rory Hutchinson, Tom Stephenson, Tom Collins, George Furbank, Harry Mallinder.