Despite an inspiring second half comeback that saw Connacht score 26 points, PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors held on to secure a one-point win in front of their home crowd at Scotstoun tonight.

Pat Lam’s men were 30 – 6 down at one stage but fought their way back into the game and got the four-try bonus point through second half scores from John Cooney, Danie Poolman, Nepia Fox-Matamua and a penalty try.

Outhalf Jack Carty put in another impressive performance from the tee, kicking 12 points with two first-half penalties and three from four conversions after the break.

Connacht drew first blood with a Carty penalty after seven minutes when the hosts were penalised for collapsing the scrum but their outhalf Rory Clegg, on his Glasgow debut, levelled matters just three minutes later. He kicked his side into the lead after 23 minutes with another on-target shot at the posts.

With ten minutes left until half-time, fullback Glenn Bryce side stepped just outside the 22, hit a gap and crossed the line to score the first try of the evening, while Clegg maintained his 100% record and kicked the conversion clear albeit off the right post.

Then just five minutes later, 18-year-old Scott Cummings scored his first try for the Warriors, with the second row debutant getting low to wriggle over the tryline from seven metres out.

Clegg added the extras while Carty closed out the half with a penalty of his own from the 10-metre line.

Half time: Glasgow 23 -6 Connacht

The defending champions came out firing in the second half and instantly got over for a third score when an attempted clearance kick was spilled allowing captain Rob Harley to cross and Clegg convert.

But Pat Lam’s men didn’t drop their heads despite the 30 – 6 scoreline and Cooney pounced when the Connacht pack drove the Glasgow scrum backwards into their 22, the scrum half finishing the move and Carty converting to make it 30 – 13.

Connacht continued their second half dominance at scrum time and the Warriors were repeatedly warned about collapsing. The referee was left with no choice but first to sin-bin prop Zander Fagerson, and then award a penalty try to bring Connacht to within ten points.

It quickly became 30-25 as Academy centre Rory Parata, off another dominant scrum, put a kick in behind and winger Poolman timed his run perfectly to make it 19 unanswered points.

The momentum swung again as Warriors’ number eight Adam Ashe was held up above the try line, and the resulting pressure led to a penalty for now 15-man Glasgow in front of the posts for an eight-point lead.

However, it was a brief respite, as seven solid minutes of pressure were finally rewarded, flanker Fox-Matamua spinning off the back of a maul brilliantly to touch down.

And Carty produced a perfect touchline conversion to move Connacht to within just one point of the Warriors.

In the end though, it wasn’t quite enough, and Connacht were left with two PRO12 points as the only consolation from the trip to Scotstoun.

Glasgow: G Bryce; J Bulumakau, P Murchie, F Lyle, L Jones; R Clegg, M Blair; A Allan, P MacArthur, M Cusack, S Cummings, K Low, R Harley, C Fusaro, A Ashe. Replacements: S Wight for Bulumakau (40 mins), H Blake for Murchie (15 mins), Z Fagerson for Cusack, P MacArthur for Bryce, J Yanuyanutawa for Allan (all 48 mins), T Holmes for Fusaro (52 mins), G Hart for Blair (67 mins).

Connacht: T O’Halloran (C Ronaldson 78); D Poolman, R Parata, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, J Cooney; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, Q Roux, A Browne, J Muldoon, N Fox-Matamua, E Masterton. Replacements: K Marmion for Cooney (48 mins), B Marshall for Roux (50 mins), F Bealham for Ah You (64 mins), S O’Leary for Parata (72 mins), C Ronaldson for O’Halloran (78 mins).

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

Man of the Match: Mike Blair, Glasgow

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