Glasgow Warriors v Connacht
Glasgow had to work hard for their inaugural success at their new Scotstoun home on Friday night against a typically dogged Connacht side but there was much to enjoy as five RaboDirect PRO12 points were gathered to follow up last week’s win against reigning champions Ospreys.
For the most part, the Warriors managed the scoreboard well, keeping it ticking over and played sensible territorial rugby, raising the tempo when it was needed in the final quarter. RaboDirect Man of the match DTH van der Merwe continued his prolific form with a brace of tries to replicate his feat from Swansea, while Sean Lamont and Peter Murchie also crossed the whitewash.
Glasgow thus go into next Friday's Scotstoun date with Zebre in great heart.
Melrosian Scott Wight, making his first home start given a knee knock to Duncan Weir, put early points on the board for the Warriors with a breakdown penalty in the second minute. He miscued from further out and a more troublesome angle on the right three minutes later but, still, it had been an encouraging opening salvo for the hosts.
A scrum free-kick saw Wight hoist a high ball, which the Connacht defence guddled. The Irish did retrieve but the clearance kick was charged down for Glasgow to regather and work ball right for Sean Lamont to dot down for the game’s first try. Wight missed the conversion.
Better followed in the 25th minute. Van der Merwe pouched a kick just outside his 22 and countered. From the ruck there was commendably swift transference right and Lamont did well before triggering Murchie who stormed in for try number two from half-way, courtesy of a sweet dummy. Wight’s conversion stretched the home advantage to 15-0.
Connacht did pull back one score when Matthew Jarvis stabbed a kick through and though it appeared the action was being played out in slow motion, the TV replay showed that left-wing Mark McCrea had got the touch just ahead of the frantically covering Henry Pyrgos. Jarvis converted.
Alex Dunbar made an important saving tackle on James Loxton as Connacht found space but a Wight miscue with a high kick saw Warriors pinged for offside and Jarvis ended the half with his first penalty and a lead for the Warriors of 15-10.
HALF-TIME: GLASGOW WARRIORS 15-10 CONNACHT
Glasgow looked to be profiting from playing simple territory as from a Wight Garryowen with Lamont challenging the ball squirted out of Connacht’s grasp for van Der Merwe to collect and bolt in for his first try of the evening.
Wight converted but two Glasgow players failed to gather the restart and prop Nathan White gladly accepted the largesse. Jarvis converted and, without doing much, Connacht were back in the game at 22-17.
Glasgow gave themselves some breathing space and collected a four try bonus point in the 69th minute and the score owed much to Ruaridh Jackson who had been introduced ten minutes earlier.
Jackson displayed that precious commodity of aeons of time on the ball as he made a cut right, off-loaded to Peter Murchie and although the pass left Van der Merwe with a bit to do the Canadian did not disappoint and, ultimately, the 3,646 crowd went home happy.
Warriors were forced into two team changes for the game. Weir took a bump to his knee and was replaced at stand-off by Wight, with Ruaridh Jackson providing cover on the bench.
Tom Ryder, meanwhile, was sick and as such Tim Swinson made his competitive debut at lock. Adam Ashe came onto the bench.
Full-time: Warriors 27 Connacht 17
Glasgow Warriors: Peter Murchie; Sean Lamont, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, DTH Van Der Merwe; Scott Wight, Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Alastair Kellock captain, James Eddie, John Barclay, Ryan Wilson.
Subs: Finlay Gillies for Hall (58 mins), Mike Cusack for Low (68 mins), Gordon Reid for Grant (68 mins), Angus Macdonald for Swinson (58 mins), Adam Ashe, Sean Kennedy, Ruaridh Jackson for Wight (58 mins), Troy Nathan for Horne (72 mins)
Connacht: Gavin Duffy; James Loxton, Robbie Henshaw, Dave McSharry, Mark McCrea; Matthew Jarvis, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Nathan White, George Naoupu, Dave Gannon, Johnny O’Connor, Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon.
Subs: Kevin O’Byrne, Dennis Buckley for Wilkinson (61 mins), Rodney Ah You for White (68mins), Michael Swift for O’Connor (57 mins), Mick Kearney, Dave Moore for Marmion (66 mins), Jack Carty for Duffy (27 mins), Mata Fifita for McCrea (57 mins).
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland