Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors suffered defeat at the Liberty Stadium this evening, as a stifling Ospreys defence saw Danny Wilson’s side go down 23-15 in Swansea.

Despite first-half scores from Huw Jones and George Turner, the Warriors ultimately leave Wales empty-handed after being denied even a losing bonus-point for their efforts.

It was the Warriors who opened the game firing on all cylinders, some slick handling making a mockery of the monsoon conditions in Swansea. It took just three minutes for early possession to be converted into points; Jamie Dobie and Jones combined to release Nick Grigg through the middle, with the centre’s break stopped just five metres short. A couple of phases with the pack later, and the ball was spun wide for Jones to take advantage of a four-on-one and cross for the opening try. The conversion drifted wide, but Glasgow led 5-0.

The hosts immediately cut the deficit to two points, as a mistake from the kick-off saw Mat Protheroe slalom into the Glasgow 22. When the Warriors went offside in defence, Stephen Myler made no mistake from the tee to get the Ospreys on the board.

Yet it was the Warriors who continued to look the stronger in the opening quarter, and they were rewarded with a second try on 16 minutes. Repeated penalties saw the Warriors kick to the corner, allowing Turner to find debutant Hamish Bain with the five-metre lineout. The hooker then tucked himself away at the back of the maul to dive over the whitewash, Pete Horne converting for a 12-3 lead.

There was almost a second score for Turner just moments later, as a Jones break into the 22 saw the hooker pick the ball up and sprint for the line. A despairing tackle from Dan Evans saw the Glasgow man stopped agonisingly short, though, and the score remained unchanged.

It was a tackle that seemed to galvanise the home side, as the Ospreys grew into the match. Superb defence from Sam Johnson prevented Kieran Williams from crossing on the half-hour mark, before TJ Ioane – another making his first appearance in a Glasgow shirt – claimed a vital turnover in the shadow of his own posts.

Still the Ospreys came forward, and went ever closer with five minutes to play in the half. Indeed, had Richie Gray been 6’9” instead of 6’10”, there would have been a score for Reuben Morgan-Williams, the Ospreys scrum-half denied by try-saving tackle from the British and Irish Lion and the work of Dobie and Jones in holding the ball up.

There would be no denying Morgan-Williams from the resulting scrum, though, producing a classic scrum-half snipe to go over under the posts. The conversion was simple for Myler, and Glasgow’s lead stood at 12-10 at the half-time break.

Myler was the man to nose the Ospreys in front just 90 seconds after the restart, as the veteran fly-half punished an offside in midfield by the Warriors with a successful penalty from 40 metres.

Opposite number Horne responded in kind just three minutes later, after the Ospreys were penalised for an illegal entry to the ruck following Turner’s break from the maul. The kick nudged Glasgow back in front by two points, as the game suddenly sparked into life.

In a back-and-forth third quarter, it was the home side that were next to threaten. An interception from Evans saw the Ospreys race into the Glasgow half, before Tommy Seymour prevented a try by defusing a cross-kick at the expense of a lineout.

Once more, however, the Welshmen were not to be denied for long. Despite resolute maul defence from the Glasgow pack, the ball was recycled to allowed Kieran Williams to slide over in the corner for the score. Myler’s conversion was pinpoint from the touchline, and the Ospreys lead 20-15.

A five-point lead became an eight-point lead on 66 minutes; after Chirs Fusaro was penalised for not rolling away at a ruck, Myler was once again on hand to convert the penalty and extend the Ospreys lead to 23-15 as the game approached the closing stages.

Needing to score next, the Warriors began to press once more. Some dazzling footwork and acceleration from Jones saw the full-back break fully 50 metres, Niko Matawalu just beaten to the kick ahead by Ospreys winger Luke Morgan.

Replacement hooker Grant Stewart was the next to go close, as the Scotland international pounced on an Ospreys overthrow and raced to within five metres of the Ospreys line. An illegal intervention from Adam Beard saw the Ospreys second-rower sent to the sin-bin for the remainder of the match, but the whitewash remained intact.

Instead it was left to the Ospreys to see the match out, as Glasgow’s efforts proved in vain. Wilson’s men now have nine days to prepare for their next outing, before welcoming Leinster to Scotstoun in round four.

live commentary 5:30 PM Saturday 24 Oct 2020

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