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February 18, 2012

Connacht 13 - 13 Glasgow Warriors

GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Sportsground on Saturday February 18th 2012 | No comments

Jon Welsh went over for the Glasgow try
Glasgow had to settle for a draw in Galway after Connacht grabbed a last-minute penalty at the Galway Sportsground.

The Warriors looked set for the win and a boost to their play-off hopes when they led the home side 13-10 going into the final minutes. But afailing to close out the game the Glasgow pack were penalised at a scrum, Connacht had one final shot and stand-off Niall O’Connor took advantage to send his kick over from 30 metres out.

The draw means Glasgow drop below Munster in the table, and, with the top Irish province Leinster to come next week, another tough challenge awaits.

“We are still in control of our own destiny, but it makes it that little bit harder,” said coach Sean Lineen in the Scotsman.

“This is like a loss to us because the guys are working very hard and I cannot speak hard enough of the work ethic and the culture within the group,.

“Our belief is high, but we need to transfer that on to the paddock in terms of patience and maturity. The team effort is outstanding, but there are key individuals who need to learn and we will do that.

“As a team we did enough to win the game. For long periods we were down the right end of the pitch, but it was individual decisions and individual execution. We are learning at the hard end, and we will take the two points – it should have been four.”

In a dour first-half Jon Welsh's second try in as many games gave the Warriors a 7-3 interval lead, the prop charging in under the posts after slack Connacht defending at a ruck.

It had been an error-strewn first half at the Sportsground but play generally improved after that, with a Tiernan O'Halloran try bringing the hosts level.

Duncan Weir, the league's top scorer so far this season, came off the bench to kick the Scots ahead again at 13-10 but O'Connor ensured a stalemate.

O'Connor had missed a difficult opening penalty from the left, amid a spate of scrappy scrums, and although Connacht were the aggressors early on they failed to engineer a score.

Their out-half missed a second penalty at the end of the first quarter, this time from just inside his own half.

Glasgow struggled for territory, but when they made it into the Connacht half their physicality in contact and at the breakdown helped them set up Welsh's 26th-minute effort.

Connacht were left exposed at a ruck in their 22 and Welsh surged through the gap fending off Eoghan Grace's challenge before crashing over under the posts.

Ruaridh Jackson tapped over the conversion and then won a relieving penalty for the Warriors as Connacht were punished for holding on at a ruck after a maul drive had gained good yards.

But Connacht's hard-working forwards got some reward in first-half injury-time when Ryan Wilson infringed at a ruck and O'Connor thumped over the resulting kick from the left.

Jackson cancelled out that penalty with a neat right-footed shot in the 55th minute, but a sin-binning for Glasgow winger Tommy Seymour, who deliberately went offside at a ruck, aided Connacht's comeback.

After the forwards had bashed away at the Glasgow defence, O'Connor hung up a high kick out to the left where it broke for winger O'Halloran to gather and score.

O'Connor added a fine conversion but Weir cancelled that out with a 68th minute penalty which looked like it might be the match-winning score.

Replacement hooker Finlay Gillies was inches away from sealing the deal with a try in the 72nd minute. It took a tremendous tackle from the covering John Muldoon to bundle him into touch in the right corner.

Glasgow should have played out the match in teh Connacht half but gave away possession and penalties with O’Connor taking full advantage.

Referee Peter Allan (Scotland)
Attendance 4,189
Team
1
Ryan Grant
2
Pat MacArthur
3
Jon Welsh
4
Rob Verbakel
5
Tom Ryder
6
Robert Harley
7
Chris Fusaro
8
Ryan Wilson
9
Henry Pyrgos
10
Ruaridh Jackson
11
David Lemi
12
Graeme Morrison
13
Troy Nathan
14
Tommy Seymour
15
Peter Murchie
Sub
Finlay Gillies
Sub
Gordon Reid
Sub
George Hunter
Sub
Nick Campbell
Sub
Duncan Weir
Sub
Alex Dunbar
Sub
Colin Shaw
Sub
Calum Forrester
Match Substitutions
Off On
Pat MacArthur Finlay Gillies
Off On
Ruaridh Jackson Duncan Weir
Off On
Ryan Wilson Calum Forrester
Off On
David Lemi Colin Shaw
Off On
Ryan Grant Gordon Reid
Scorers
Jon Welsh Try 
Ruaridh Jackson Conversion
Ruaridh Jackson Penalty
Duncan Weir Penalty