Glasgow Warriors V Lyon
Glasgow Warriors continued their pursuit of a place in the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup with a third successive group stage victory, overcoming Lyon by 21-10 at Scotstoun.
Two tries from Niko Matawalu and the boot of Adam Hastings proved decisive against the French side, as some traditional Glasgow winter weather wreaked havoc on any plans for free-flowing rugby.
Making a mockery of the wintry conditions, the Warriors made the ideal start. Fielding a high ball, Hastings broke the line and scampered into the 22 before being hauled down by the covering defence. When the ball was recycled, Stuart Hogg produced a perfectly weighted grubber kick to allow Matawalu to gather and dive over with just 48 seconds on the clock. Hastings pushed the conversion just wide, but the hosts led 5-0.
The Glasgow fly-half didn’t have to wait long to register his first points of the afternoon, though, knocking over a penalty from 40 metres after Lyon found themselves penalised at scrum time.
A second penalty followed on 17 minutes, allowing Hastings to take the score to 11-0 in Glasgow’s favour.
The hosts were dominating in the continuing sleet, and were rewarded with their second try of the afternoon on 21 minutes. Patient build up drew in the Lyon defenders, before Hastings and Hogg combined to send Matawalu over once more for the simplest of finishes. Hastings converted from in front of the posts, and the Warriors had an 18-0 advantage.
Yet Lyon, sitting fourth in the Top14, reminded the Warrior Nation of the attacking prowess with their first real visit to the Glasgow 22. A superb covering tackle from Hogg was required to deny Thibaut Regard on 32 minutes, before the TMO was called into action twice to determine if the ball had been grounded over the try-line by the visitors. Both decisions went the way of the Warriors, but the cost was a yellow card to co-captain Callum Gibbins for an off-the-ball scrap.
The visitors did manage to get themselves on the scoreboard before the half-time whistle, Jean-Marc Doussain kicking a penalty after a lengthy break following injuries to George Turner and Lyon prop Hamza Kabeche to round out the opening period.
With the weather showing no signs of abating, the second half began in a disjointed manner, with both sides finding handling tricky. It was Lyon that adjusted the quicker, putting together a series of phases before centre Pierre-Louis Barassi crashed over in the corner with 51 minutes played. Doussain converted from the touchline, narrowing the gap to just eight points.
In stark contrast to the first half, the hosts were struggling to get their hands on the ball for any prolonged period of time. It took until the hour mark for the Warriors to return to the Lyon 22, where only some desperate try-line defence from the visitors prevented a third Glasgow score of the game.
Glasgow’s first points of the half eventually arrived on 66 minutes, as Hastings once again made no mistake with a penalty from in front of the posts to take the score to 21-10 in his side’s favour.
With 11 minutes to play, referee Ben Whitehouse showed his second card of the afternoon, with Lyon second row Etienne Oosthuizen given a straight red for an elbow to the head of Hastings.
Yet the weather dictated that there would be no further scoring in the match, with the final whistle greeted by cheers from the capacity Scotstoun crowd as another crucial victory in the Heineken Champions Cup was confirmed.