Memory Lane | Glasgow's playoff debut

Memory Lane | Glasgow's playoff debut

It's a decade to the day since Glasgow Warriors made their first appearance in the end-of-season playoffs - resident stats supremo Kevin Millar takes a look back on the club's semi-final debut.

It’s been ten years to the day since Glasgow’s very first experience of the reintroduced Celtic League playoffs – a semi-final against the Ospreys. After a campaign of highs - such as a stunning victory at Ravenhill that took the Warriors to the top of the league - and lows like a chastening 30-7 loss at home to Cardiff Blues, it took a late season charge of four wins in a row to keep their season alive. Missed bonus points were to prove costly though and with the Ospreys nicking second place by a single point it meant a trip to the Liberty Stadium was on the cards…

This inaugural trip to the post-season was conclusive evidence of the progress made under Sean Lineen. The Kilted Kiwi’s tenure had started at the very tail end of the 2005/06 campaign, which saw the Warriors finish dead last and barely survive the cull when the Scottish pro sides were cut from three to two. This was version one of the Lineen project, largely based on more experienced players - as can be seen from the fact that two thirds of them are now retired! - imported from outwith the club’s structures. The presence of messrs MacArthur, Weir and Horne on the bench hinted at the direction that would be followed in subsequent seasons and which would form the basis for version two and launch the Warriors towards five consecutive trips to the playoffs.

The game itself was something of an anti-climax for Glasgow fans. Given the depths from which the club had risen, reaching the post-season in itself was a tremendous achievement. The Warriors also had the misfortune of coming up against the Ospreys at the height of the ‘Galacticos’ era. As an example, this was the season of peak Killer B in the back row for Glasgow but they were taking an Os unit containing two All Blacks and a British Lion – the late Jerry Collins, Marty Holah and Ryan Jones – supplemented by the ageless Filo Tiatia off the bench, who still arguably holds the crown of the toughest back rower ever to play in Celtic rugby.

There weren’t too many highlights for the Warriors, although Fergus Thomson played possibly his best game for the club and did his best to drive the team forward at every opportunity. It may have been 80 fruitless minutes of effort but there was no disgrace in losing to an Ospreys’ side that would go on to pull off a stunning victory in the final, toppling Leinster on their own turf at the RDS. Ultimately, this season and the experience gained in reaching and participating in the playoffs was another brick in the foundations that built the 2014/15 Guinness PRO12 winning squad.

Glasgow Warriors squad to face Ospreys, 14 May 2010

1. Ed Kalman
2. Fergus Thomson
3. Moray Low
4. Tim Barker
5. Al Kellock
6. Kelly Brown
7. John Barclay
8. Johnnie Beattie

9. Mark McMillan
10. Dan Parks
11. Rob Dewey
12. Graeme Morrison
13. Hefin O'Hare
14. DTH van der Merwe
15. Bernardo Stortoni

Replacements

16. Pat MacArthur
17. Kevin Tkachuk
18. Dan Turner
19. James Eddie
20. Duncan Weir
21. Pete Horne
22. Colin Shaw


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