September 11, 2015
Glasgow Warriors 33 - 32 Connacht
GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Scotstoun on Friday September 11th 2015 | No comments
Glenn Bryce went over for Glasgow's first try Glasgow Warriors grabbed their first win of the new PRO12 campaign with a 33-32 win over Connacht in a thrilling encounter at Scotstoun.
Despite a bright start by the Irish province, as they went into a 3-0 lead via the boot of Jack Carty, the Warriors dominated the rest of the first half.
Rory Clegg kicked three penalties while Glenn Bryce and the impressive Scot Cummings went over for a 23-3 advantage.
Carty's three-pointer just before the half reduced the deficit but Robert Harley's touchdown in the second period gave the hosts a comfortable buffer.
That seemed to seal the win but Connacht came back into the contest with scores from John Cooney, Danie Poolman and a penalty try.
Clegg's late penalty eased the tension for the hosts, although Nepia Fox-Matamua's touchdown gave the away team two deserved bonus-points.
Following Glasgow's opening round 16-10 home defeat to the Scarlets in the PRO12, the defending champions needed to respond. However, they were on the back foot in the early exchanges and Connacht scored first when Carty landed a penalty.
That deficit didn't last long as Gregor Townsend's men hit their stride and successive efforts off the tee from Clegg took the Warriors 6-3 ahead. The stand-off then added another three-pointer before a period of pressure close to the opposition line resulted in Bryce scampering over.
Glasgow were now well on top and a try for Cummings, after further good work from the forwards, characterised their dominance.
A second penalty from Carty - the final act of the half - just about kept the visitors in the contest, but Harley's score minutes into the second period appeared to have extinguished any thoughts of a comeback.
To the Irish province's credit, they continued to fight and Cooney finished off a well worked set-piece move. Glasgow prop Zander Fagerson then received a yellow card and that was to prove crucial as referee Ian Davies subsequently awarded a penalty try.
Pat Lam's side were soon within five points when Poolman latched onto an intelligent grubber through, but they couldn't quite find the decisive score. Instead, the Warriors lifted the intensity once more and Clegg's penalty secured a narrow win.
There was some late panic for the hosts through Fox-Matamua's try but Glasgow managed to hold on.
After the match, Gregor Townsend said: “It was an utterly brilliant performance from the team in the first half. I was pleasantly surprised with the lead we built up; at one stage I would have taken 6-3 considering the conditions.
“To be 30-6 up against a great Connacht side showed how well the players played.
“We have the win which is important but win, lose or draw we are constantly learning and looking to improve. especially with a break coming up.
“When we went down to 14 men we had a lot of the ball and had a good passage of play so it shows the ability and resilience of this squad and to hold out against a team like Connacht is fantastic for us.
“Connacht are a real top team and we had to make sure we were on our game and hold our concentration right to the last minute.”
The next competitive match for the Warriors comes in three weeks time when they travel to Ireland to take on Munster, and Gregor says his side will be ready.
He added: “We have a week off which gives the players some time off but we will be looking ahead to Munster in three weeks time.
“They have worked really hard and when they come back we know we have a really tough game against Munster, so we have to maintain that level of commitment. “
The head coach also thanked the Warrior support as over 6,200 spectators made the trip to Scotstoun to see the Champions.
He said: “The team really responded to the crowd towards the end of the game.
"They got behind the players when they had to dig in deep and having a 6,000 plus crowd tonight even when the game is on the TV just shows the fantastic support we have here at Glasgow Warriors."