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October 24, 2004

Glasgow Warriors 9 - 13 Northampton Saints

Heineken Cup match played at Hughenden on Sunday October 24th 2004 | No comments

Jon Petrie was oustanding for Glasgow
The struggling Northampton Saints secured the necessary four points in their opening Heineken Cup tie in Glasgow on Sunday, but they were pushed right to the end by a spirited Glasgow performance in their 13-9 win.

They were frequently thier own enemies as well, as a number of silly and unnecessary penalties scuppered any chances they might have of using their possessional and territorial advantage.

They ran in the game's only try after just two minutes. John Rudd flung a wide pass to the very impressive prop Chris Budgen, who made some quick yards and released Marc Stcherbina.

The Australian centre drew his man well and popped the pass for Ben Cohen to score a welcome try.

Budgen was the star of the Saints for the first 20 minutes. In for Tom Smith who withdrew at the last minute, he was all over the park and instrumental in the Saints' opening drives.

Despite all their dominance going forward, Northampton could not cross the Glasgow line again, and as they have shown in recent Premiership matches, they fell victims to self-induced pressure.

A number of knock-ons were possibly excusable in soggy conditions, but the penalties conceded were not. Darren Fox was lucky to remain on the pitch after a blatant head-butt on Sean Lamont, and twice they were whistled for feeding at the scrum, an offence which is very rarely seen these days.

A penalty count of five to one after 15 minutes showed just why the Saints failed to capitalise on early work, and exemplified the ill-discipline that pervaded their performance.

Glasgow fought well, but lacked the spark that could have carried them through. They used the penalty count to reduce the arrears to 7-6 by the break, but too many times half-breaks went unsupported, and they rarely threatened the Northampton line.

Northampton showed some bright flashes in the dull conditions. Bruce Reihana ran strongly and at good angles, and had good cause to complain after he was taken out late when trying to follow his own chip through after 25 minutes.

Neither side was able to overcome the conditions completely in the first half, which made for an encounter with plenty of industry, but precious little flowing rugby.

The Saints (and the referees) came out in fresh jerseys for the second half, which went much as the first had gone.

Still Northampton had the better of things overall, but while their discipline improved, their execution still fell foul of the wet ball and pitch.

Two penalties by Shane Drahm in the 51st and 55th minutes extended their lead, and they did what should have been enough to make the game safe.

The more they failed to cross the Glasgow line, the more the needless and desperation-born infringements crept in and sapped the territorial advantage away from the East Midlands team.

Their pack was penalised for feeding again, and after Bruce Reihana had made the mistake of knocking-on what should have been the most fieldable of high balls, the pack drove into the scrum too early.

Dan Parks, who had a really good game in the conditions and under pressure, slotted his third to set up a tense finale.

With five minutes to go, Fox again launched his head into a Glasgow player, which went unnoticed by the referees and touch judges but is unlikely to go without punishment.

Glasgow still huffed and puffed, but Northampton kept their line intact, and once the time had passed for a penalty to have sufficed for the Scots to narrow the gap at the end, the result was rarely in doubt.

Man of the Match: Glasgow fly-half Dan Parks had a very good game, keeping handling errors to a minimum and distributing and kicking well all the way through. Northampton prop Chris Budgen was superb at the start of the game, and seemed the only one able to keep his head, when all around him were losing theirs.

Villain of the match: Darren Fox. Two head-butts. not acceptable under any circumstance, but especially if you are winning a tight game.

Report from rugbyrugby.com

Referee E Darriere (France)
Man of the Match Jon Petrie - Jon's led from the front all season and put in another excellent performance today.
Team
1
Kevin Tkachuk
2
Gordon Bulloch
3
Lee Harrison
4
Andy Hall
5
Dan Turner
6
Cammy Mather
7
Donnie Macfadyen
8
Jon Petrie
9
Sam Pinder
10
Dan Parks
11
Kenny Logan
12
Andrew Henderson
13
Graeme Morrison
14
Sean Lamont
15
Rory Kerr
Sub
Scott Lawson
Sub
Andy Kelly
Sub
John Beattie
Sub
Andy Wilson
Sub
Graeme Beveridge
Sub
Calvin Howarth
Sub
Andy Craig
Match Substitutions
Off On
Lee Harrison Andy Kelly
Off On
Rory Kerr Calvin Howarth
Off On
Andy Hall Andy Wilson
Off On
Sam Pinder Graeme Beveridge
Scorers
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
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