Glasgow Warriors V Racing 92
It was another special European Champions Cup evening at Scotstoun on Friday, as Glasgow Warriors produced a memorable performance to record a 23-7 win over Racing 92.
New centurion Josh Strauss, Fraser Brown and Ali Price touched down in a dominant display from the Warriors, with Finn Russell claiming the man-of-the-match award for the second week running as Gregor Townsend’s side did the double over their French opponents.
Glasgow immediately showed they were in the mood to run the ball, and were rewarded with a tremendous early try. Finn Russell’s chip over the top was gathered by the onrushing Tommy Seymour who sprinted clear of the defence.
The winger fed the supporting Stuart Hogg, who stepped inside the last defender and offloaded to Josh Strauss to send the number eight over for a try on his 100th appearance for the club. Russell’s conversion drifted wide, but Glasgow led 5-0 after as many minutes.
The Warriors were on top across the park, with fierce defence paired with an attacking verve and willingness to attack from anywhere. Just moments after Russell was dragged down just inches short of the line, Glasgow had their second try.
A short pass from the Warriors fly-half was taken by a rampaging Fraser Brown, who sprinted over from 15 metres to score. With the conversion added by Russell, the Warriors had a 12-0 advantage.
With the Scotstoun faithful in full voice, Glasgow continued to dominate territory as they pinned their visitors back with some shrewd kicking.
When they were tested, Glasgow’s defence was equal to the threat posed by Racing, Russell and Seymour combining to stop Marc Andreu’s breakaway.
Gregor Townsend’s side were now camped in the Racing 22, with only some desperate defence from the French side denying the Warriors a third try.
They were powerless to stop Russell extending Glasgow’s lead with a penalty, however, as the game ticked towards the half-hour mark.
Another Russell penalty two minutes before the interval took the score to 18-0, and that was how the first half was to finish, despite the best efforts of the visitors – Seymour producing a last-ditch tackle to deny Andreu with the last play of the half.
Glasgow began the second half in the same way they had spent most of the first, as they exerted yet more pressure in Racing’s territory. On 46 minutes, the pressure eventually told.
Spotting a gap around the edge of a ruck, Ali Price darted over out wide to the delight of the Warrior Nation. The scrum-half’s third try in three games took the score to 23-0 in favour of the home side, with Russell’s conversion sailing wide.
The visitors responded with their first spell of prolonged possession in the game as they took play into the Glasgow 22. The Warriors’ defence held firm, though, with Jonny Gray and Tim Swinson combining to produce the crucial turnover.
Racing were looking dangerous, however, and were only denied their first score of the evening by a knock-on over the try-line. Just moments later, another attack was repelled by the Warriors, with Glasgow’s scramble defence keeping the French side at bay.
As the game entered the final quarter, both sides were looking for any opportunity to attack. Racing’s physical attack saw the make yards in midfield, whilst the Warriors were keenly looking for any chance to counter attack as they searched for the try bonus point.
In a frantic final 10 minutes, there was to be a consolation score for Racing. After good work from Dimitri Szarzewski, replacement scrum-half Xavier Chauveau was on hand to touch down. A tricky conversion was added by Benjamin Dambielle from the touchline, reducing the gap to 23-7.
Despite the Warriors regathering the kick-off, there was to be no try bonus-point for Gregor Townsend’s men. They can console themselves, however, with a victory that moves them top of their Champions Cup pool for at least 24 hours, and will go into the Boxing Day clash with Edinburgh full of confidence after a famous night at Scotstoun.