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September 26, 2003

Glasgow Warriors 19 - 30 Connacht

Celtic League match played at Hughenden on Friday September 26th 2003 | No comments
Glasgow had an unbeaten record against Connacht in professional rugby and Connacht had an unbeaten record against the Scottish professional sides before last night’s league encounter.

Something, as they say, had to give.

In the event, resolute tackling and an ability to take the chances on offer meant that it was Connacht who made it a clean sweep of Scottish scalps and ran out comfortable victors despite having less possession and less territorial advantage.

The pattern was set early on. Glasgow started brightly enough but Calvin Howarth missed two relatively simple penalties in front of goal after some promising approach play (including a couple of sweet little breaks of his own).

By contrast Connacht's full back Mark McHugh landed his one solitary opportunity in the first quarter from just inside the Glasgow half.

The best possible answer came almost immediately from Stuart Moffat. The Glasgow full-back found himself in the line with plenty of space on the right and Jon Steel outside him. When he went himself on the outside, the crowd gasped but he justified his self-confidence by beating two men with sheer strength and getting to within a few yards of the line. Andy Hall was on hand to finish the job. Howarth missed the difficult conversion attempt but one felt that order had been restored.

And with Glasgow still playing all the rugby, it looked likely they would be first to score again. They were not. This time Moffat was the goat rather than the hero, juggling with a pass in front of his 22 only to see Mike Walls, the Connacht scrum-half, pinch it from under his very nose and run in unopposed. Predictably McHugh converted and slotted another penalty five minutes later.

Suddenly Connacht got a whiff of the idea that they were not simply here to make up the numbers. Prodded into good field positions by McHugh, they started to win good ball and it was no surprise when some smart passing off the back of a lineout released substitute centre Matt Mostyn on the crash ball under the posts. McHugh was on hand to convert and completed Glasgow's first-half misery with a final penalty on the stroke of half-time leaving the home side 18 points adrift.

Glasgow began the second half more or less as they began with plenty of possession but unable to get over the Irish line. When Connacht finally escaped from this initial onslaught and got a better field position they scored another seven points with a simple kick ahead by fly-half David Hewitt which winger Conor McPhillips got on the end of. McHugh converted this time from way out on the touchline, just for the sake of variety.

Back Glasgow came again - give them credit for trying. Paul Neville, the Connacht flanker was yellow-carded for persistent offending in the desperate defence and finally it was Graeme Morrison, after a powerful short range run who was shoved over, although the referee needed to consult his linesman before the try was awarded. Daniel Parks, their recently arrived Australian stand-off, who had by now replaced the luckless Howarth managed the extra points.

Apart from the scoreline, the game now appeared more evenly matched, Connacht making regular incursions into home territory but Glasgow counter-attacking strongly and only excellent tackling from Connacht keeping them at bay. Eventually the old standby of putting a prop in the line did the damage with big Lee Harrison getting on the scoreboard at short range.

Robert Scott from The Scotsman

Referee Nigel Owens (WAL)
Attendance 3,146
Man of the Match Gareth Maclure
Andrew Kelly
Simon Gunn
Lee Harrison
Andy Hall
Joe Beardshaw
Cammy Mather
Donnie Macfadyen
Roly Reid
Mark McMillan
Calvin Howarth
Gareth Maclure
Alan Bulloch
Graeme Morrison
Jonathan Steel
Stuart Moffat
Euan Murray
Kenny Sinclair
Paul Dearlove
Scott Lawson
Dave Millard
Dan Parks
Nathan Ross
Match Substitutions
Off On
Calvin Howarth Dan Parks
Off On
Roly Reid Paul Dearlove
Off On
Mark McMillan Kenny Sinclair
Off On
Andrew Kelly Euan Murray
Off On
Simon Gunn Scott Lawson
Off On
Graeme Morrison Dave Millard
Joe Beardshaw Try 
Graeme Morrison Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Lee Harrison Try 
Dan Parks Conversion

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