Glasgow Warriors V Scarlets
Glasgow Warriors slipped to their first home defeat in the league in nearly two years, as a late fightback wasn’t enough to stop the Scarlets claiming a 16-10 victory. Adam Ashe
The Welsh side scored two tries with Aaron Shingler and Hadleigh Parkes crossing for the Scarlets, while Mike Cusack and Glenn Bryce notched for the Warriors in the second period.
Gregor Townsend handed a first start to 18-year-old lock Scott Cummings who was joined in the line-up by fellow debutant Grayson Hart.
After missing out on World Cup selection, John Barclay packed down at number eight for Scarlets.
Prop Phil John and three-quarter Michael Tagicakibau passed late fitness tests, and took their places in the starting line-up.
Before the match kicked-off, the near sell-out crowd were treated to a GUINNESS PRO12 flag unfurling after former captain Al Kellock presented the match ball.
Although Scotstoun was in full voice, the Scarlets started brighter and scored a try after four minutes when Aaron Shingler bull-dozed his way over the line.
Dan Jones missed the kick but nevertheless, the visitors continued to batter and bruise the Warriors and soon doubled their lead when captain Hadleigh Parkes touched down in the corner after a good break by Regan King. Dan Jones missed a difficult conversion from out wide.
The match will go down in history for Robbie Fergusson after the former Ayr Rugby Club centre came on for the injured Rory Hughes to make his first appearance for the Warriors.
The champions were left frustrated as Scarlets defensive line impressed, and they had to-do without scrum-half Hart for ten minutes, after he was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Jones did manage his first successful kick of the night soon after, as a straightforward penalty in front of the posts increased the Welsh side’s lead to 13-0 at the break.
Glasgow started the second half much more positively, and were rewarded after 46 minutes as prop Mike Cusack burrowed his way over in the corner after some good build-up play. Scott Wight was unable to add the extras, but the Warriors had a foothold in the game.
Alex Allan made his return to action after a period out with injury, as he replaced Jerry Yanuyanutawa, and he was soon joined by Mike Blair and Rory Clegg as they made their competitive debuts for Glasgow after signing during the summer.
Jones scored Scarlets first points of the second half after 54 minutes, as a long-range penalty took the score to 16-5, with the 6526-strong crowd looking to raise the team.
Fergus Scott came off the bench to make his Warriors debut, as he replaced Kevin Bryce at hooker, with Gregor Townsend also bolstering his front-row with Zander Fagerson, with the 19-year old coming on for try-scorer Cusack.
A much-improved Warriors were now hammering away at the Scarlets, with impressive carries from Strauss, Ashe, Allan and Cummings in the Welsh side’s 22. However, Wayne Pivac’s men were able to withstand Glasgow’s efforts, as the defence held firm.
The impressive Cummings was replaced by fellow debutant Kieran Low for the final 10 minutes, as Glasgow pressed for a way through.
A series of penalties in the Scarlets’ 22 eventually saw Wales international prop Rob Evans sent to the sin bin, with Glasgow keeping the pressure on at scrum time.
However, despite repeated pleas from the Scotstoun faithful, no penalty try was awarded, despite Scarlets losing another player to the bin, flanker James Davies being shown the yellow card.
Glasgow’s pressure eventually told, as Glenn Bryce collected a looping pass from Clegg to dive over for the try. After a lengthy delay to allow treatment to an injured Scarlets player, the former Newcastle Falcon was unable to add the extra two points, leaving the scores at 10-16.
With the clock deep into injury time, Townsend’s men attacked from deep, making significant yardage. Barclay became the third Scarlet to be shown a yellow card, as he cynically slowed the ball down on the edge of the 22.
It wasn’t to be for Glasgow. A knock-on saw the referee call time on the game, leaving the Warriors just short in their attempts to take all four points. A losing bonus point, however, gave the defending champions a consolation, as thoughts now turn to Friday’s game against Connacht at Scotstoun.