Glasgow Warriors 30-25 Ospreys

Glasgow Warriors earned a vital victory under the Friday night lights at Scotstoun, coming from behind to claim a 30-25 win over Conference A rivals the Ospreys when it mattered most.

Tries from Lee Jones, Rufus McLean and Aki Seiuli, coupled with 15 points from the boot of Player of the Match Ross Thompson, ensured it would be the hosts who claimed the crucial result in pursuit of Heineken Champions Cup qualification.

Knowing that a win would secure them third place in the conference, the visitors came roaring out of the blocks in the opening stages. Turning down the kick at goal from an early penalty, the Swansea-based side were rewarded with the game’s opening try with just three minutes on the clock. Morgan Morris was the man to add the finishing touch, with Luke Price’s conversion drifting wide to leave the score at 5-0 to the Ospreys.

The hosts nearly produced the perfect response straight from the restart; a turnover in midfield saw Thompson fling the ball wide to McLean, whose dash for the corner was thwarted only by the covering Dewi Cross.

Yet to the dismay of the home side, the visitors extended their advantage on 13 minutes. After Ollie Smith was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on five metres out, referee Sam Grove-White was left with little option to award a penalty try and sin-bin the Glasgow full-back, giving the Ospreys a 12-0 lead.

Glasgow knew they needed to score next to give themselves a foothold, and score next they did. A dominant shove from the pack allowed Sean Kennedy to race clear and into the 22, and when the Ospreys illegally slowed the ball Thompson converted the penalty from in front of the posts to get the Warriors on the board.

Kennedy then turned try-saver moments later to deny the onrushing Giles, with the Ospreys only able to add a penalty from Price during the sin-bin period.

Instead, it would be the hosts that would finish the half the stronger. A trademark offload from Leone Nakarawa allowed Enrique Pieretto to break into the Ospreys 22, before Kennedy was once again halted illegally by the Ospreys cover defence. Thompson’s boot was unerring again, narrowing the gap on the half-hour mark.

The Glasgow fly-half was on target with his third kick of the half with five minutes to play in the opening stanza, after a high tackle on Nakarawa was spotted by the TMO. From the ten-metre line the kick bisected the uprights, and left the score at 15-9 to the visitors at the interval.

With 40 minutes to keep their Heineken Champions Cup qualification hopes alive, the Warriors made the perfect start to the second half – albeit in unconventional circumstances. A great covering tackle from Smith dislodged the ball from the grasp of Ospreys captain Dan Evans, and when the ball bounced up into the arms of Jones the winger had only open field in front of him. An 85 metre run-in later, and Thompson’s conversion gave the home side the lead for the first time in the match.

Yet the Ospreys weren’t prepared to go down without a fight, and hit back with a try of their own on 48 minutes. It required confirmation from the TMO, but it was eventually deemed that Gareth Evans had grounded the ball after being driven over from close-range, Price converting to hand the Ospreys a 22-16 lead.

The noise was ramping up from the respective benches, and the Warriors replacements were roaring the loudest on 51 minutes after a sublime piece of interplay from two of the club’s young guns. In the face of a solid Ospreys defensive line, Thompson’s pinpoint grubber was perfectly waited for the onrushing McLean for his second score in three matches. From the touchline, Thompson was ice-cool in adding the extras, handing the Warriors a one-point lead.

Glasgow’s set-piece dominance was beginning to tell, as referee Grove-White penalised the Ospreys time and again at the lineout. Repeatedly opting for the touchline instead of the points, the Warriors made their pressure tell just after the hour mark. With advantage in hand, Seiuli sheared off from a close-range maul to barge his way over the line, touching down for the second consecutive home match. The kick from the opposite touchline was dispatched with equal aplomb by Thompson, and Glasgow led 30-22 going into the final quarter.

It was now the turn of the Warriors defence to stand up and be counted, and stand up they did. Led by captain Ryan Wilson, the home side held firm in the face of Ospreys pressure, with one particular hit from Nick Grigg bringing the replacements to their feet.

Yet the hosts were reminded of the finely-balanced nature of the game with nine minutes to play. Morris’ burst up the middle had the Glasgow defence scrambling, and when the Ospreys looked to recycle the ball TJ Ioane’s professional foul earned the Samoan a yellow card. Price kicked the penalty, bringing the Ospreys to within a converted try.

It would be Glasgow that held firm, however. A final touch from Ian Keatley sent the ball into the stands, and made sure that the Warriors’ European qualification hopes were still very much alive.

live commentary 8:00 PM Friday 12 Mar 2021

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Kick-off 8:00 PM

Glasgow Warriors

Ospreys

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