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January 19, 2008

Glasgow Warriors 17 - 21 Saracens

Heineken Cup match played at Firhill on Friday January 18th 2008 | 21 comments

Bernardo Stortoni scored Glasgow's only try
Glasgow's Heineken Cup campaign came to an end as they lost out to Saracens at Firhill last night.

Saracens now go on to compete in their first ever Heineken Cup quarter-final.

While victory for the Guinness Premiership side was always going to be enough, the Warriors needed a convincing win to keep alive their quest to reach the last eight of Europe's premier club competition.

But they could not find an answer to the pace, power and guile of the English visitors when it mattered most.

And there was no way back after Saracens, who now have a home tie in the last eight, were awarded a highly dubious try by television judge Brian Fitzgerald.

Glasgow had been rocked by the late withdrawal of former All Blacks hero Daryl Gibson, who failed to respond to treatment for a knee problem, and his place at centre was taken by Scott Barrow.

They made a shaky start with Kelly Brown spilling the kick-off from Glen Jackson but they recovered quickly to set up the first clear-cut chance.

Recalled winger Hefin O'Hare was first to reach his own chip only to put a foot over the touchline a split second before he grounded the ball.

Within seconds, however, the Warriors found themselves behind.

The defence - O'Hare in particular - dithered allowing Richard Haughton to sneak in to win the race to reach Jackson's lob as it trundled across the line.

Irish World Cup referee Alan Lewis awarded the try on the say-so of video assistant Fitzgerald - despite compelling evidence the ball was marginally out of play.

There was then almost another disastrous moment for the hosts as Sarries skipper Neil de Kock broke through a midfield gap but prop Moray Low dashed to the rescue with a brilliant last-gasp tackle.

There was a further scare for Glasgow when lock Opeta Palepoi went down with a leg injury but he was able to resume after lengthy treatment.

Dan Parks eased the jitters two minutes later as he slotted a penalty from in front of the posts.

Jackson restored his side's advantage when Glasgow were guilty of holding on to the ball in contact.

The penalty ping-pong continued at the other end when Parks struck again from close range.

Warriors continued to have the better of the possession battle but Jackson added his second goal before the break to give his team more breathing space.

The half ended in dramatic fashion as first Parks completed his penalty treble, then Sarries pounced for a second try as Jackson plucked Sam Pinder's pass out of the air for a simple interception score which he converted to open up a nine-point gap.

Haughton burst back into the contest with a run over the line after latching on to a Brent Russell feed and this time the video decision rightly went in favour of the home troops as Parks prevented the touchdown.

Glasgow refused to buckle and the tie was back in the balance thanks to a well-worked try by Bernie Stortoni.

Kevin Tkachuk and Thom Evans combined slickly to create the space and time for the Argentinian to finish in style.

Their prospects of a stunning fightback were dashed when Jackson kicked another penalty. Dan Parks added to his tally five minutes from time but the Sarries forwards closed out the game.

Glasgow coach Sean Lineen admitted: "We made it too easy for them. We gifted them two tries, and we crafted ours. That was a schoolboy error from Hefin. It may not have been a try, according to TV replays, but he still should have pressed the ball down.

"I am so proud of the guys though and the way they stuck in after that against a very, very good team. They are really hurting. There was a lot of good from tonight's performance, but mistakes cost us. It was very frustrating. We've got to start winning these games."

Glasgow skipper Alastair Kellock said: "The biggest frustration for us is that we handed Saracens their two tries - and that was the difference.

"In terms of effort and application, I could not have asked for any more from my guys, but we let ourselves down when it came to making mistakes and executing certain decisions.

"Considering what we have put into the campaign physically and mentally, it is hugely disappointing to be eliminated like this."

Referee Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Attendance 5,213
Justin Va'a
Fergus Thomson
Moray Low
Opeta Palepoi
Alastair Kellock
Kelly Brown
John Barclay
John Beattie
Sam Pinder
Dan Parks
Hefin O'Hare
Scott Barrow
Colin Gregor
Thom Evans
Bernardo Stortoni
Dougie Hall
Ed Kalman
Kevin Tkachuk
Dan Turner
James Eddie
Graeme Morrison
Colin Shaw
Match Substitutions
Off On
Opeta Palepoi Dan Turner
Off On
Justin Va'a Kevin Tkachuk
Off On
Colin Gregor Graeme Morrison
Off On
Fergus Thomson Dougie Hall
Off On
Moray Low Ed Kalman
Off On
Kelly Brown James Eddie
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Bernardo Stortoni Try 
Dan Parks Penalty
Posted by Alistair on January 19, 2008 11:16 AM | Reply to this comment

There's not getting round it, Gregor was epically gash last night and we looked a much better side when Morrison came on.

This is a shame as I quite like the idea behind the Gergor at Outside Centre approach and what it means for the gameplan.

Posted by bossco85 on January 19, 2008 12:54 PM | Reply to this comment

Yea agreed, Gregor should never of been playing that game, Morrison made a big difference when he came on. Thought the boys played well apart from a couple of moments of madness. All the backs looked dangerous and willing to have a go for the first time this season really, apart from Gregor. OP had a good game in the second row and the back row was just everywhere was always. Gutted to of lost it but we do only have ourselves to blame, we had to try these things, sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Proud to be a warrior all the same!

Posted by RugbyDump on January 19, 2008 01:35 PM | Reply to this comment

What an absolute honker, we need to learn to simply do the basics well and trust in our talent and pace when there is an opportunity to score. If we chuck it about we’ll get punished, I lost count of the number of times passes didn’t go to hand (the wind must have been all over the place down on the pitch) but we can’t afford to be so casual if we want to win against better teams.

Good to see OP getting a run and Wheels did well, very surprised to see wee Budgie still on after the break although G-Dog and T-Bone seemed to settle it a bit. Was hoping Alan Lewis might have had a better game (did anyone notice their fullback had a foot over the 22 when he called for the mark in the first half?). Any road up, well done to Sarries the better team on the night me thinks - That is all.

Posted by A True Warrior on January 20, 2008 11:34 PM | Reply to this comment

Was talking about the game after my game on Saturday afternoon with my games ref and a couple of more experienced players and apparently (unknown to me) you can call the mark with one foot in and one foot out the 22!! Also they reckoned whether Sarries first try was or wasn't a try with video ref that in a club game a lot of refs would have given it!!

Posted by hannah on January 19, 2008 03:25 PM | Reply to this comment

amazing crowd and yes colin was a bit gash...but they did have minutes of good play. evans was brilliant with that try set up and hopefully hadden was watching him and low cause they were both good. proud of all the guys tho!

Posted by Envy on January 19, 2008 03:53 PM | Reply to this comment

I don't think Gregor had the only poor performance to be fair. The backs where again awful it has to be said regardless of the classy finish they put on for the try.

First off everyone of them where at fault for the poor passing. I don't know how many times Parks threw it wide without actually looking to see where it was going. The running lines where terrible too. On three seperate occasions the midfield ran into each other! Also whilst he did finish well and he is excellent under the high ball Stortoni shows little else. His positioning, particularly when Sarries where making a break, was baffling. This sort of casual approach to rugby results has to be eradicated. We should demand more from professionals.

Also Lineen has to really look at the way we support any runner. Beattie's break could have lead to a more positive finish if the guys had switched on to help him.

Finally the forwards showed some real bite out there and I think they are the real division that has improved over the season but we must learn to properly defend the drive and scrummage better. Lets get rid of the silly penalties as well.

Sorry just one more thing but having been to the match and watched it on the television today I can't fathom some of deicions made or missed by the ref. I like Lewis as a ref as I see him quite fair but perhaps he was suffering sun stroke from the tanning salon because a few of the calls where howlers.

Fair play to Sarries though as they showed nothing but rarely made any mistakes unlike us.

Posted by Gordon on January 19, 2008 05:21 PM | Reply to this comment

Can't agree with the comments on Stortoni offering little in attack. He's one of the few backs we have who consistently makes ground with the ball.

Posted by Envy on January 20, 2008 02:28 AM | Reply to this comment

Perhaps you;ve seen more of him this season than I but I still maintain that on any occasion that I have watched him play he has stuttered attacks with his poor awareness. I respect his ability under the high ball which is at time extraordinary but in my opinion he offers little threat in offence.

Still it's all about opinions.

Posted by gonesouth on January 19, 2008 03:59 PM | Reply to this comment

The mark was good because he had one foot in the 22.
Law 18 Definition To make a mark, a player must be on or behind that player's 22-metre line. A player with one foot on the 22 metre line or behind it is considered to be ‘in the 22’. The player must make a clean catch direct from an opponent’s kick and at the same time shout “Mark!”.

Posted by RugbyDump on January 19, 2008 05:39 PM | Reply to this comment

Thanks for clearing the up the point 'gonesouth'. I'm just a forward so all these laws and stuff don't really impact on my game. - Still think the ref had a bit of a stinker, either way excited to see Fergus and young JB making some ground with the ball in hand.

Posted by hambo on January 19, 2008 04:40 PM | Reply to this comment

Totally miserable evening, backs looked to be in panic every time they got the ball, had no ideas and rarely crossed the gain line. Number of knock-ons were shocking from backs and forwards alike. As with most times we've played them, the hardest part to take is that Saracens didn't exactly look great themselves, a few dodgy ref decisions but in the end boiled down to crossing the gain line, staying calm and


Posted by mediumsizedal on January 19, 2008 05:54 PM | Reply to this comment

Agree with most comments. Thought we played pretty well for the most part. Yes there were a lot of handling errors but the backs had to try to run Saracens around-pity the wind didn't help the game plan. Thought before the start Gregor was a mistake. Over the last couple of years he has looked a sound, tidy player-don't know what's happened to him this session-he looked like a startled rabbit every time the ball came near him-shame,but hopefully he will bounce back. Wheels did well as always & so did the rest of the backs apart from rash passes, but I can understand what they were trying to do. Don't agree with the negative comment on Stortoni-every game he does well-doesn't drop much,stays on his feet,makes breaks and scores tries-what more do you want!! Forwards did well-don't remember the celebrated Sarries pack being given such a difficult game recently-their back row were nowhere & we pinched a couple of their throws. We just didn't have enough good possession in their 22 for long enough periods-yes the more efficient 'better' team won. Yes-thought the ref (and the TMO) had a shocker-Sarries usually seemed to get any benefit of the doubt, but that's probably cause I'm a Glasgow supporter!! Still, the boys gave their all-you can't ask for any more.

Posted by Envy on January 20, 2008 12:14 PM | Reply to this comment

Lsten its about opinions. I don't think he his as sound offensively as yourself. My issue is his lack of awareness and inbility to release the runner next to him.

You see something different. Thats fine as I perviously mentioned it is all about opinions.

Posted by Moody Blue on January 20, 2008 01:35 AM | Reply to this comment

1. Tactically a bit naieve. From the start we seemed to be going for 4 tries, Saracens were just interested in winning. If we had concentrated on playing winning rugby, then we might have been in a position to push for tries towards the end

2. The midfield was poor but it is harsh to criticise - there was a howling wind that made Dan's long miss passes very difficult to carry out accurately; Scott Barrow was brought in at the 11th hour; Colin Gregor was a gamble at 13 - presumably either because G-Dog was not considered fit enough yet to play 80 minutes, or the plan was to use his creativity beside Gibson to open up defence. I doubt that midfield 3 had ever played together before, even in practice, and doubt if they will ever do so again. These things happen, sometimes.

3. Munster have reached the QF 10 years in a row but look at their side - Stringer, O'Gara, Hayes, Horan, O'Callaghan, Foley, Wallace- have all been there for 8,9,10 of those years...amazing. On our side people like Fergus, Moray, even Kelly B were probably playing in a big winner takes all match for the first time in their career. You can't buy that kind of experience - you need to earn it. The encouraging thing is guys like Fergus, Kelly and John Barclay never hide and take responsibility.

Posted by gonesouth on January 20, 2008 11:22 AM | Reply to this comment

I was speaking to one of the match officials at Bristol airport at the luggage carousel yesterday. Two of them are assisting at Bath and Bristol today. I asked him about the first try and he said that after looking at it on TV he thinks it wasn't a try - but hey them is the breaks. I think Sarries deserved the win overall. I just hope that we don't draw them next time. Not because I don't think we'll beat them I just fancy a year without going to Watford.

Posted by neilmacd74 on January 20, 2008 08:24 PM | Reply to this comment

Henderson was a huge miss for this game.
Combined with Gibson's absence it left us probably a bit lacking in guile in the centre.
Parks didn't have his best game and seems to be going off the boil at the wrong time for the national squad.
A new scrum half for next season is probably essential given the performance of both O'young and Pinder this season.

Absolutely gutted on Friday night but for gifting Sarries 12 points we could have won.

On a positive note it is a very young team we have and if they keep developing over the next couple of years it will be an outstanding team we'll all be watching.

Posted by ailie on January 21, 2008 10:25 AM | Reply to this comment

The reason Parks might be going off the boil, is probably due to the amount of games he played last year. Taking into consideration he played in all the World Cup Games and since returning to Glasgow has played the full 80 minutes of every game, the only other player to do this in the squad i think is Barclay. Lets be grateful there is no game this weekend so he can get a rest before the 6nations start.

Posted by neilmacd74 on January 21, 2008 11:39 AM | Reply to this comment

Fair comment about Parks, hopefully the rest between now and the 6nations will do him some good. Hopefully Hadden won't give him even more rest by picking Godman.
I think O'Hare has done well over the piece and everyone can have an off game like he did on Friday night.

Posted by A True Warrior on January 20, 2008 11:52 PM | Reply to this comment

Agree with the majority of comments, but while we did give away 12 points we got two massive breaks!! Firstly Brent Russel some how managed to drop the ball when crossing the try line and secondly when it looked easier for Haughton to go around Parks he decided he could run over him!! O'Hare and Pinders mistakes shouldn't be used to cover over what really lost us the game and I worry that they will be/are being.

Posted by Scott on January 21, 2008 12:22 PM | Reply to this comment

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get to the game on Friday, but it was always looking like too stiff a task to get a 5-pointer against such a tight team as Sarries. The boys obviously gave it their all and we've got a team to be proud of.

The talk of who to replace in the squad is a little premature, particularly as we've got half a season to go, however, it is obvious that we need a talented 10 to give us some back up for Parks, and we need a genuine 13. That doesn't imply any of our existing players are gash, it's just areas where we don't have the right guys for those positions. We have a few excellents players with Austin Healey syndrome - very versatile, and excellent footballers, but shifted around so they don't become outstanding in a single position (Budgie, Barrow, and Hef....).

Anyway, the key thing is the league - it was the key thing before Friday's game, and it still is! I found Al Kellock's comment last week a bit naive when he suggested it would be nice to see Edinburgh win the league and Glasgow get into the next round in Europe. It would be nice if Edinburgh were SECOND in the league, because WE should be trying to win it! Bread and butter comes first always - you can't live on the promise of a bite of cake.

Let's attack the league Glasgow - onwards and upwards!!

Posted by Tom on January 24, 2008 08:44 PM | Reply to this comment

With such a marvellous crowd on Friday night, why do they not come out every home game and get behind the team. I feel the occasion got to the players more than anything but if we could get crowds like that every game it would really boost the the team and coaching staff alike

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