January 25, 2019
Glasgow Warriors 9 - 3 Ospreys
GUINNESS PRO14 match played at Scotstoun on Friday January 25th 2019 | No comments
Brandon Thomson kicked Warriors to a vital win Glasgow Warriors edged out Ospreys 9-3 in difficult conditions at Scotstoun this evening.
Sam Davies missed two first-half penalties for the Welsh side, which would end up proving costly as Glasgow's Brandon Thomson finished with a perfect record from the tee to guide them to victory.
A scrappy opening ten minutes set the tone for the rest of the game, as both sides kicked the ball away and struggled under the high ball in wet and windy conditions.
Glasgow defied the wind in their faces at Scotstoun to have most of the early pressure, while Ospreys continued to kick the ball long into the opposition half.
When they finally did run from deep, flank Sam Cross crashed through a tackle and set Tom Habberfield free, but he was wrapped up just metres short of the line by a great tackle from opposite number Nick Frisby.
Ospreys' Davies had the first chance to put points on the board but his kick slid past the left-hand post.
With his second chance Davies finally opened the scoring to make it 3-0 to the visitors on 31 minutes.
Davies, captaining the Ospreys for the first time on the night, had another chance before the break but this time pulled it wide right.
It took the hosts just 90 seconds after the break to win a penalty deep in the Welsh outfit's half, with Brandon Thomson's successful kick at goal drawing Glasgow level.
The Scottish side continued to pile on the pressure after the break, they went through more than a dozen phases but as they got inside the five-metre line, they turned the ball over and Ospreys cleared.
Glasgow continued to rely on tight phase play, as they dominated territory in the second period. It eventually told on the scoreboard as Thomson notched another kick to edge his side 6-3 in front.
Thomson added another a few minutes later, as he made the most of the wind behind him to notch a kick from 55 metres.
Ospreys sprung into life once the Scottish outfit extended their lead to six points and they were buoyed for the final ten minute as Nikola Matawalu was sent to the sinbin for foul play.
The visitors looked like they could make the most of the man advantage with two minutes on the clock, but blindside Olly Cracknell was penalised for taking the man out at the ruck when his side were going through the phases a few metres from the line.
The Welsh outfit had threatened to score from the attack but the back-rower's error proved costly, with no other chances before the game ended.
"It was a tough game," said acting head coach Kenny Murray after the game.
"The wind was pretty much straight up and down the park. We won the toss, so I had a chat with the half-backs about whether we played with or against the wind first. I felt that if we could defuse their kicking game in the first half, they'd have to play from deep and we'd gain an advantage.
"They kick quite a lot, so we felt that if we could defend well and get a bit of territory after the break we'd be on track. They defended really well, though - they came with a defensive strategy and it worked for them."
With the victory opening up an eight-point cushion over their conference rivals, Murray believes the result could prove to be the catalyst for Glasgow in their pursuit of a home semi-final.
"We spoke as a group about the need for the four points tonight," he said.
"The context this year is massively different to last season - this time last year we were 20 points clear, this year it's obviously a lot closer.
"We've got big games coming up against Cardiff Blues and Connacht, too, so this period for me could be the defining point in our season."
Murray will return to his role as assistant coach for Glasgow's trip to Cardiff Blues in three weeks' time, with Dave Rennie set to return following his son's wedding in New Zealand.
"Dave sent his congratulations in the coaches WhatsApp group after the full-time whistle," added Murray.
"He'd been watching on in New Zealand - his son's wedding is later on today, so his day is watch our game, then get ready for the wedding.
"The main thing for me is the relief that I didn't ruin his day!"