Connacht’s winning run came to an end tonight at the hands of Gregor Townsend’s Glasgow Warriors who are now just one of two unbeaten teams in the league. As well as their fourth successive win, the home side also secured a try bonus point having crossed the line on five occasions.

Pat Lam’s side will be disappointed not to come away with anything from the game having run last year’s finalists close at numerous stages throughout the game and scoring two tries through centre Dave McSharry and full back Darragh Leader as well as a penalty try awarded in the second half. Scrum half Ian Porter, on kicking duties tonight, kicked all three conversions.

There was 18 minutes on the stadium clock before any score at Scotstoun and first blood was drawn by the Warriors’ full back Stuart Hogg who crossed after the ball was passed wide from the scrum. With the wind behind them in the first half, outhalf Duncan Weir kicked his first points of the game with the conversion.

Connacht responded immediately with a great dummy and break from 22-year-old Jack Carty to get his side into the opposition 22 for the first time in the game. His pass was intercepted by Sean Lamont and kicked downfield by Hogg but he over cooked it and the referee brought play back for  a Connacht scrum in the hosts’ 22.

A chip from Carty ricocheted off the covering defence and allowed McSharry to grab Connacht’s opening try in the corner, which Porter skilfully converted from the touchline.

Glasgow pulled ahead again on the half hour mark when Weir slotted home a penalty to make it 10-7.

The Warriors were gifted their second try just before the break when scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos charged down a Leader kick inside the 22, collecting and winning the race to cross over.  Weir added the conversion.

Half time: Glasgow 17 – 10 Connacht

Connacht had the wind behind them in the second half and Lam made one change with Fionn Carr replacing Healy on the wing.

Five minutes after the restart and Glasgow pounded the Connacht line and found space out wide for Hogg to collect and run in under the posts for his second try of the night. Weir missed his only attempt at the sticks.

More replacements came for Connacht with try scorer McSharry making way for Craig Ronaldson while Mick Kearney came on for Michael Swift in the second row.

When Glasgow were penalised for going in off their feet, Carty kicked to touch to set up a five-metre lineout. Connacht worked the ball well and a perfect skip pass from Carty across Robbie Henshaw and Fionn Carr found Leader on the right wing to dive over for the try in the corner. Porter made it two from two with another competent conversion kick to bring his side back within a score.
Glasgow sealed their four-try bonus point when a quick tap and go penalty on the Connacht 22 allowed Pyrgos to release van der Merwe who scored under the posts. Weir’s conversion saw the hosts go 29 – 14 up.

Connacht refused to lie down and kept in touching distance when they pushed for a penalty try on the 68th minute. Porter slotted home the conversion to bring the visitors back to bonus point territory.

However a Weir penalty on 71 minutes inched Glasgow ahead, and shortly afterwards outside centre Bennett finished off the game with the home side’s fifth try of the day after intercepting the ball on his own 22 and dashed 80 metres home. Weir’s conversion made it 39-21.

Despite a final flourish from Connacht and an attempt for a fourth-try bonus point, the scoreline was unchanged and Glasgow climbed to top of the PRO12 table.

Asked on the positives to be taken from tonight’s game, Head Coach Pat Lam said:

“Not many teams will come here and against the best defensive team in the league score three tries. And we also know there’s a few more we could have scored. We know that we were right in that game.

“One thing I said to the boys after the game is that there is absolutely no doubt about the courage and the heart of the Connacht players. They’ll fight right through to the end for each other.”

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Sean Lamont, Mark Bennett, James Downey, DTH van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos; Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur, Euan Murray; Tim Swinson, Al Kellock (capt.), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe.

Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Rossouw de Klerk, Tom Ryder, James Eddie, Murray McConnell, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour.

Connacht: Darragh Leader; Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Ian Porter; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Rodney Ah You; Michael Swift, Aly Muldowney; John Muldoon (capt.), Eoin McKeon, George Naoupu.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt (76 mins for Heffernan), Ronan Loughney (62 mins for Buckley), Nathan White (62 mins for Ah You), Quinn Roux (67 mins for McKeon), Mick Kearney (47 mins for Swift), John Cooney (72 mins for Porter), Craig Ronaldson (51 for McSharry), Fionn Carr (40 mins for Healy)

Referee: Cladio Blessano (FIR, 6th competition game)

Attendance: 5, 821

Man of the Match: Henry Pyrgos, Glasgow Warriors

 

Related

Connacht open European campaign with bonus point win in Geneva