December 13, 2014
Glasgow Warriors 9 - 12 Toulouse
Champions Cup match played at Scotstoun on Saturday December 13th 2014 | No comments
Two penalties from Duncan Weir brought Glasgow within reach of Toulouse Glasgow's European Rugby Champions Cup hopes suffered a blow as they were edged out by Toulouse at Scotstoun this afternoon.
The game came down to penalties, with Toulouse scrum-half Nicolas Bezy booting two in the first half and two more after the break.
Finn Russell was not so clinical for Glasgow, spurning a pair of decent chances, and it took a pair of late penalties from replacement Duncan Weir to make it a tense finish.
Following a night when the temperature fell below freezing locally, Glasgow kicked off in front of a sell-out crowd in dry and bright but still cold conditions.
The hosts were the first to establish what was to be the game's best try-scoring position when scrum-half Henry Pyrgos dinked a kick to his left wing - millimetres ahead of the grasp of Tommy Seymour.
Toulouse made more of their first excursion to the home 22, thanks to a chip kick from Bezy. Glasgow won the line-out but made a mess of possession and gave away a penalty that Bezy drove home to open the scoring.
Toulouse put the ball out from the restart to allow Glasgow to mount pressure that ended with a penalty for not releasing, and Russell drove the kick over.
Yet three minutes later the same Warriors man pushed a penalty from the left wide of the posts, and it was soon 6-3 to the Frenchmen as Bezy fired over a simple penalty from in front of the posts. Having repeatedly knocked Toulouse back, Glasgow finally sinned at the ruck.
The cagey play continued with Toulouse having the better of possession, aided by Glasgow continuing to concede penalties both in defence and attack.
Bezy was unable to take advantage of the only penalty within kickable range, after 23 minutes.
Glasgow full-back Stuart Hogg then had the distance but not the accuracy with a long-range effort.
Glasgow did finish the half on the attack, but prop Ryan Grant's hands let him down.
The home side won a Toulouse line-out early in the second half and attacked along the French team's 22 until Joe Tekori was penalised. Again from the left side, Russell made a mess of the kick.
Bezy made no such mistake after 49 minutes when Glasgow were penalised after a line-out.
Playing a straightforward game but with little of their trademark off-loading, Glasgow then had a sustained but fruitless period of pressure.
However, when Toulouse got upfield Bezy kicked his fourth penalty to stretch the lead to 12-3.
Called off the bench, Weir kicked a penalty to raise the crowd's hopes. When he did so again after 72 minutes the atmosphere around the ground changed, but Toulouse mopped up the late pressure thrown at them.
Gregor Townsend felt his side failed to get to grips with the occasion, as they lost to the Frenchmen for a second successive weekend.
Glasgow's head coach said: "The effort was there in a game that never really kicked off. However a mixture of the quality of the opposition, their excellent defence and our errors, particularly handling, left us just short."
Pressed about the on-field decision to kick for goal with what was to be the final penalty with eight minutes remaining, rather than kick to the corner in a quest for a try that would have put Glasgow ahead, Townsend defended the decision of captain Josh Strauss.
"There was still plenty of time to get back into the Toulouse half," Townsend said. "And the way the game was going I sensed there weren't going to be many tries scored."
Toulouse are clear at the top of the pool, with Glasgow battling Bath for second position.
"We have to win the last two games to qualify - that is the challenge ahead," Gregor said. "And now we have to switch the focus quickly to the next league game."