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December 07, 2008

Bath 35 - 31 Glasgow Warriors

Heineken Cup match played at The Rec on Sunday December 7th 2008 | 18 comments

Ruaridh Jackson almost snatched the game for Glasgow
Bath hung on for a crucial bonus-point Heineken Cup win despite conceding five tries against a spirited Glasgow.

Glasgow wing Thom Evans scored three tries, restricting Bath to a 21-19 lead with almost three-quarters of an entertaining Pool Five encounter gone.

But the Guinness Premiership title contenders dug deep when it really mattered, conjuring quickfire tries for wing Michael Stephenson and substitute centre Shaun Berne midway through the second half.

Stephenson finished with a double, while flanker Andy Beattie also crossed; yet it was fly-half Butch James' goal-kicking that gave Bath breathing space.

The Springboks World Cup-winner slotted six kicks from seven attempts - three penalties and three conversions - to keep the pressure on group leaders Toulouse, who visit Bath next month.

Glasgow find themselves in the familiar position of pondering a pool stage exit - having lost to Bath, Toulouse and Newport Gwent Dragons.

But given the fact they were minus injured half-backs Dan Parks and Mark McMillan, Glasgow gave Bath a surprising amount to think about - and substitute Hefin O'Hare's late try provided a deserved four-try bonus point.

Fly-half Ruaridh Jackson even caused late panic in the Bath ranks by converting his own breakaway touchdown four minutes from time. But the home side prevailed, despite losing out 5-4 on tries and only narrowly thwarting a last-gasp Glasgow break-out.

Glasgow made a storming start, rocking Bath with a sixth-minute try.

The hosts proved slow to react in defence, and slick Glasgow approach work resulted in a try for Evans that scrum-half Colin Gregor converted.

Bath, despite the presence of returning England internationals Matt Stevens and Michael Lipman up front, could not get going as errors abounded.

James opened their account with a 45-metre penalty after 13 minutes. Yet despite the South African's promptings, repeated handling mistakes allowed Glasgow an easier time of things in defence than they might have imagined.

Bath eventually stirred six minutes before half-time when their forwards rumbled Glasgow backwards at a short-range scrum, and Beattie touched down - although referee Alain Rolland required video official confirmation before awarding it.

Any thoughts of Bath taking charge by the interval were set aside when Glasgow stung them with a second Evans try.

Flanker John Barclay, at the heart of a magnificent Glasgow back-row performance, made a telling thrust that proved sufficient to break Bath's defence apart - and Evans finished off in expert fashion.

Gregor slotted the extras - and although James kicked a 38th-minute penalty, Glasgow trooped off deserved 14-11 leaders.

Bath would undoubtedly have received a half-time rocket from head coach Steve Meehan - and they responded by regaining the lead just five minutes into the second period.

Hooker Pieter Dixon spearheaded some relentless work by the Bath forwards, and Stephenson had just enough space to weave his way over in the corner for a try that James improved.

James completed his penalty hat-trick just four minutes later, and Glasgow were suddenly in danger of being run into submission - until Stephenson went from hero to villain and 'gifted' Evans his hat-trick.

The former Newcastle wing could not gather possession under pressure, and his fumble played straight into Evans' hands for a soft try.

Gregor saw his conversion attempt hit the post, but it was another warning to Bath that they risked defeat unless they could consistently raise the tempo.

The unlucky Gregor then had a speculative drop-goal strike rebound off the crossbar - which cued a triple Bath substitution as Lee Mears, Justin Harrison and Jonny Faamatuainu provided reinforcements.

The combined effect was exactly what Meehan wanted as Bath secured a bonus point with two tries inside two minutes from Stephenson and Berne, both converted by James.

The double blast ended Glasgow's brave resistance; yet they still had the final say when O'Hare crossed after a thrilling counter-attack inspired by his fellow wing, Samoan international Lome Fa'atau, before Jackson touched down and converted following his interception of erratic Bath full-back Nick Abendanon's speculative pass.

Report from Sporting Life.

Referee Alain Rolland (IRU)
Attendance 10,600
Man of the Match Thom Evans
Kevin Tkachuk
Dougie Hall
Ed Kalman
Tim Barker
Alastair Kellock
Kelly Brown
John Barclay
John Beattie
Colin Gregor
Ruaridh Jackson
Thom Evans
Andrew Henderson
Max Evans
Lome Fa'atau
Bernardo Stortoni
Eric Milligan
Moray Low
Dan Turner
Richie Vernon
Sam Pinder
Hefin O'Hare
Jose Maria Nunez Piossek
Match Substitutions
Off On
Kevin Tkachuk Moray Low
Off On
Colin Gregor Sam Pinder
Off On
Dougie Hall Eric Milligan
Off On
John Beattie Richie Vernon
Off On
Thom Evans Hefin O'Hare
Off On
Alastair Kellock Dan Turner
Off On
Lome Fa'atau Jose Maria Nunez Piossek
Thom Evans Try 
Colin Gregor Conversion
Thom Evans Try 
Colin Gregor Conversion
Thom Evans Try 
Hefin O'Hare Try 
Ruaridh Jackson Try 
Ruaridh Jackson Conversion
    Video (courtesy of Sky Sports)
    Posted by Osama Bin Hidin on December 7, 2008 08:45 PM | Reply to this comment

    Well... a thoroughly entertaining game, which saw the good people of Bath sweating profusely by the end. It all looked dead and buried at the start of the final quarter, but Glasgow produced a couple of breath-taking sweeps of play to nearly snatch a victory. Bath looked dangerous in the 2nd half. The first half Glasgow were well on top but seemed to lose control just a wee bit in the 2nd.

    Some fine displays on show today. Barclay, Brown and Beattie did so well. Beattie showed some fine handling skills at the back of the scrum and some excellent pick and drives led to at least one of Glasgow's tries. Added to this was a nice wee steal from one of Bath's line-outs. Barclay and Brown were combative. Jackson was superb. Evans on the wing was awesome. Stortoni was excellent. Henderson had a couple of good, thumping charges.

    Bath did take control of the 2nd half of the game though. Glasgow failed to cope with their speed of delivery from hand and their pace of attack.

    Mind you, we thoroughly deserved our tries and, while Bath could probably have rightfully felt slightly hard done by had they lost, nobody in the Glasgow team needs hang their head in shame.

    That's the 2nd Bath game I've been to and I think Bath will have just a wee bit more respect for us after today. I really think Glasgow aren't that far away from a regular chance of winning some of these games against the bigger teams. Stick with it boys, it's coming.

    I have to say, if there was one really, really good thing that came out of that game - Jackson - man, was he good today. What a bright hope for the future!

    I have to say, too - the Bath supporters were fantastic - the guy I sat beside shook me warmly by the hand after the game as he brushed a bead of sweat from his brow.

    It was good to be there today - a great game - great entertainment with lots of excitement, and the chance to watch it with really, really nice people all around you.

    That's what rugby is all about.

    Osama, Laird of N16 (Dubya and Barack will never think of looking for me here), salutes you - and apologises in advance for not being there next weekend.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!

    Yours aye
    The Tartan Taliban

    Posted by jm on December 8, 2008 02:09 AM | Reply to this comment

    what on earth

    Posted by jinky on December 8, 2008 08:58 AM | Reply to this comment

    Congratulations to Rudi Jackson on a magnificent performance and if Colin Gregor had kicked as well as he played Glasgow would have had an historic victory.I also thought the pack was brilliant.

    Posted by ballinj on December 8, 2008 10:30 AM | Reply to this comment

    Listened to the game on the radio, incredibly biased commentary but interesting to hear the Bath perspective on it.

    The 1st half was apparently the worst performance by a bath team this season but in fairness they were drooling over the Killer B's - ever 5 minutes talking about how great they were. The biggest disappointment was that Glasgow weren't further ahead at half time.

    Mind you a feeling of deju vu as 3 years ago we went to Bath were unlucky to lose and then got stuffed at Firhill by Bath playing with the ball stuck up their jumpers.

    Can't see that happening this year but will still be a difficult game this weekend

    Posted by weebaw on December 8, 2008 12:17 PM | Reply to this comment

    Best game I've seen for years but we still lost!

    We need to get nasty. Not dirty just more streetwise.
    Lineen and the players needs to start playing the ref before and during the game as other teams do. He was a real 'homer' with every decision going against us and I was raging when the Irish commentator suggested a yellow card for our persistent infringing. In particular, the award of a 5 m scrum when it clearly came off the Bath guy and a penalty for taking out their guy when Evans just tried to hack the ball on. Then they werent penalised for exactly the same.

    However Sean should be proud of a really promising team with loads of talent and heart and he,s got them playing great rugby. If we could only keep the stars and continue to bring through more Jacksons(why has he not been playing 10 all season?), Barclays,Beatties etc we could be a real force in Europe but you just know some are going to disappear after this exposure.

    I wonder if Hadden watched the game .If so surely even he finally must have noticed that 2 of the B's should be automatic for Scotland and the other on the bench and that Max is a far better bet than present incumbent(s).Cairns at 12 may be the answer if Morrison is still out becausr Da Luca is like a wee boy in that company.

    Also nice to have Pinder back.Same team next week please, Sean!Keep the 3's on the front foot!

    Posted by garyipa on December 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Reply to this comment

    Did see AR at the Game

    Posted by gnasher on December 8, 2008 04:17 PM | Reply to this comment

    That will have given him a few concerns for the Inter City head to head.

    Posted by jimc on December 8, 2008 04:34 PM | Reply to this comment

    didn't see AR at the game, but a few of us were speaking to him at Bristol Airport Sat morn and he said he would be there.

    Posted by Moody Blue on December 8, 2008 02:01 PM | Reply to this comment

    Credit where credit's due, guys.
    It was a promising performance.
    But maybe Sean got it exactly right bringing Jackson in for this game - he's had a few games off the bench to get the pace. Any earlier might have been too early. By my reckoning he only played 6 games at 10 for the Hawks last year and 6 for Scotland Under 20.
    Before that he was playing 10 for Cartha! Its not a lot of game time at 10, and he is only 20!
    As for the Killer B's - yes they are good, really good, but so are White, Taylor, Hogg, Strokosch, Callam, Rennie...we happen to have a really good pool of back row forwards just now and competition is fierce so all this chat about automatic choices for Scotland can't be true for any back row forward.
    Max is good, really good, but so is Cairns - potentially Lions material, and they both happen to play best at outside centre. Let's not start moving them around to get them both in the team - good competition for the place will do them both good & we might just have the best chance of an international class 13 for a long long time.

    Posted by ZsaZsa on December 8, 2008 04:06 PM | Reply to this comment

    Cairns potentially Lions material!?!?!?!?!

    Eh??? You're having laugh, right?

    re: The Killer Bs, Scotland always tends to have a decent glut of back row forwards at any given time. Just a shame the same doesn't apply to other positions.

    As far as yesterday's game goes, I thought we were exceptional and really rattled Bath and actually think we deserved to win as they were arrogant enough to think they had it in the bag. I disagree that the ref was a homer but a fair amount of off the ball action was missed, or rather, turned a blind eye to. I did have to turn down the volume though so I didn't have to put up with the duff Sky commentary.

    Posted by gnasher on December 8, 2008 04:24 PM | Reply to this comment

    Given the stage, I thought Jackson's performance was superb. If they're good enough they're old enough. Let's hope Sean doesn't fall into the Chris Paterson pitfall of protecting him by playing him anywhere but his natural position. The Magners' League is ideal to turn him into a class player.

    Posted by Alan on December 8, 2008 08:44 PM | Reply to this comment

    Well said, gnasher.. and I don't think Sean will do that.. he's a better coach (although the programme at Bath had some doubts as to the real Sean Lineen!)
    Anyone else see the Oz 15 at 18yr? Jackson should have had a second half or at least last 20min at 10 ages ago! He should have played at Connacht when Dan was taken off injured. Cannot praise him highly enough for his maturity in a game when everyone said Butch James would have him for breakfast.. Bath fans sure changed their mind!

    Posted by rossco on December 9, 2008 12:54 AM | Reply to this comment

    Oh calm the beans folks! Jackson had a superb game at No. 10 but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Once he's turned it for half a season then maybe we can talk about him challenging Parks and Godman for the fly half role with Scotland.

    As for our back row, well their up against a hell of a lot of international calibre player's, one swallow (or a few Sky commentators admittedly) don't make a swallow as they say. The Lions are so far in the future it's not even worth considering. As much as anything it will be down to who's left standing come May.

    Finally here's hoping the boy's can keep this fine run going through into what's out bread and butter, the Magners League and maybe's, aye just maybe's take the crown this year?

    Posted by Alan on December 9, 2008 09:23 PM | Reply to this comment

    Take the crown this year?? .. who needs calming now Rossco?
    Nothing wrong with giving Ruaridh the praise he is due!

    Posted by manattheback on December 11, 2008 02:22 PM | Reply to this comment

    And how is Ruaraidh supposed to play half a season if he isn't given game time? He did very little wrong and a helluva lot right so keep him in!!

    Posted by The Briar on December 13, 2008 09:19 AM | Reply to this comment

    manattheback must be a big fan of change. Yes he had a good game, Yes he did very little wrong, but you cant just expect him to walk in to the team infront of a player that has got Glasgow to be second on the table in the Magners League. The team is starting to work well together so lets keep the younger guys learning off the experience and Glasgow will be in a very strong position in the years to come. Dont push the players to early. Dan has still got some great years in him even if some people do not believe it. Some people think he had nothing to offer when he first arrived. He is a bigger man than anyone could ever be in his position so give him the credit he is due.

    Posted by manattheback on December 13, 2008 02:12 PM | Reply to this comment

    Briar, a lot of other postings have said the same thing - Jackson needs game time and NOW is the opportunity to give him that time. The HC is a dead duck, he would still get experience against top quality opposition and he could play with no fear. Too often we hang on to players and 'protect' them by letting them play in meaningless 7's tourneys when what they really need is high intensity rugby which very few (if any) of our youngsters are subjected to. No, I'm not a member of DP's fan club (you are obviously the founder member) but from a positive point of view we have a good young player who needs to play. Why do you think the Aussies brought across young James O'Connor on tour at 18yo?

    Posted by manattheback on December 13, 2008 02:15 PM | Reply to this comment

    And also I would imagine the rest of DP's team mates would find it slightly derogatory that you imagine it is he and he alone who has got Glasgow to where they currently stand. I've thoroughly enjoyed my 40 years in the game because it is a TEAM sport!!!

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