Glasgow Warriors V Northampton Saints
Glasgow Warriors slipped to a defeat in their first European Rugby Champions Cup match of the season, as Northampton Saints came away from Scotstoun with a 26-15 victory.
The Warriors were outscored by three tries to two by their visitors, who go top of Pool 3 in Europe’s premier club competition.
With a 6800 capacity crowd making themselves heard, the home side opened the scoring after six minutes, Finn Russell making no mistake with a penalty to put Glasgow in front.
However, it was Northampton who scored the first try of the game, as Stephen Myler’s high kick wasn’t dealt with by the Warriors defence, allowing George Pisi to gather and touch down. Myler added the extras for a 7-3 lead.
Shalva Mamukashvili replaced the injured Pat MacArthur after eight minutes, the Georgian hooker making his debut for the club.
Myler extended Northampton’s lead with a penalty on 16 minutes, with Glasgow penalised at the scrum, before referee Pascal Gauzere sent Ryan Grant to the sin bin just moments later following another penalty going against the home side at the set-piece.
Another penalty from Myler made it 13-3 to Northampton, as Glasgow struggled to find their rhythm.
With Grant waiting to come back onto the pitch, Northampton crossed for their second try. Good handling by the Saints backline saw Ahsee Tuala go over in the corner to give the Premiership side an 18-3 lead, Myler missing the conversion.
Glasgow, back to 15 men, responded immediately. Northampton were pressured into conceding a scrum five metres from their own try-line after Russell’s kick at goal had ricocheted off the upright, and from the resulting set-piece Peter Horne was able to beat the efforts of the Saints defence to touch down. Russell converted to reduce the gap to eight points.
With the last kick of the half, Myler added his third penalty of the evening, making it 21-10 to the visitors at the break.
With Gregor Townsend’s side looking for a good start to the second half, Glasgow started strongly, with a series of lineouts in the Northampton 22 getting them to within five metres.
However, resolute defence from the English side saw them preserve their half-time advantage.
Indeed, it was the visitors who scored next, as a break by Ben Foden saw the Saints make inroads into Glasgow’s 22, before the ball was recycled to allow Tuala to cross for his second try of the game. Myler’s conversion hit the upright, but his side led 26-10.
Glasgow responded by exerting pressure on the Northampton defence, before repeated infringements saw referee Gauzere send Saints centre Luther Burrell to the sin bin on 57 minutes. From the resulting penalty, Josh Strauss drove over for Glasgow’s second try, with
Russell’s missed conversion leaving the scores at 26-15 to Northampton.
With Glasgow camped in the Northampton half, the home side were looking dangerous as they searched for another score. Despite their efforts, though, a lineout steal by the Saints saw Townsend’s men leave the 22 empty-handed.
The Warriors were now throwing everything at the Northampton defence, running penalties from their own 22 as they looked to narrow the gap with time running out. The Saints defence held firm, however, and the Aviva Premiership side held on to record their second win in the European Rugby Champions Cup this season. Glasgow, meanwhile, will look to regroup ahead of their next match, against Treviso at Scotstoun on Friday night.