Friday 24 March 2017

Gallant Connacht gain two bonus points as Glasgow fight-back falls agonisingly short

Kieran Marmion, Connacht, is tackled by Mike Blair, Glasgow Warriors. Guinness PRO12, Round 2, Glasgow Warriors v Connacht, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland. Picture credit: Paul Devlin / SPORTSFILE
Kieran Marmion, Connacht, is tackled by Mike Blair, Glasgow Warriors. Guinness PRO12, Round 2, Glasgow Warriors v Connacht, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland. Picture credit: Paul Devlin / SPORTSFILE
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Glasgow Warriors made up for their opening defeat to Scarlets by winning a thriller at home against Connacht in the Guinness PRO12.

Last year's champions prevailed 33-32 after tries from Glenn Bryce, Scott Cummings and Rob Harley and invaluable points from the boot of Rory Clegg.

Connacht were well worth their two bonus points, fighting back to almost win the game and in so doing produce a superb climax to the match for the 6,267 at Scotstoun.

Glasgow reached the break with a 23-6 lead, and Harley dotted down to make the outcome appear a foregone conclusion, yet tries from John Cooney and Danie Poolman dramatically changed the complexion of the contest, and Nepia Fox-Matamua was driven over with four minutes left on the clock to guaranteed the late tension.

Following a prolonged dry spell in the west of Scotland, Connacht kicked off in perfect underfoot conditions with first use of the downfield wind.

Both sides made use of the conditions to produce running rugby, however the opening points came from penalties.

Jack Carty put the visitors ahead after seven minutes following a scrum where referee Ian Davies penalised Glasgow.

Two minutes later, after Glasgow had got into the visitors' 22 with Harley prominent, stand-off Clegg kicked a penalty awarded for offside.

Glasgow then had a slice of luck when Connacht inter-passing seemed to have opened up a way to the line, only for a foot to be put in touch.

Glasgow were disrupted when captain and centre Peter Murchie had to be replaced by Hugh Blake, nominally a flanker. It made little difference to the hosts who proceeded to run in 20 points without reply.

Connacht got on the wrong side of referee Davies and Glasgow's Clegg pushed his side ahead with a couple of penalties.

Glasgow found their stride and ran in two tries, both converted by Clegg.

Full-back Glenn Bryce was the man to finally break the Connacht line. The second try came from a line-out when Cummings drove over.

There was just time before the break for Carty to add a long-range penalty, widening the lead to 17 points.

The third Glasgow try came two minutes into the second half, with Harley's effort converted by Clegg.

Connacht pulled back a try five minutes later when their powerful pack pushed Glasgow off the ball at a set scrum before scrum-half John Cooney touched down, with Carty converting.

Connacht scored seven more points, through a penalty try awarded after 57 minutes and converted by Carty. It followed a series of penalties taken as scrums in the Glasgow 22, and in the process Glasgow replacement prop Zander Fagerson was sent to the sin bin.

Three minutes later Connacht winger Poolman chipped ahead, gathered and touched down for an unconverted try, cutting Glasgow's lead to 30-25.

Glasgow phases produced an easy penalty for Clegg after 69 minutes but back came Connacht driving over from a line-out with four minutes left, Fox-Matamua touching down and Carty converting from touch to cut Glasgow's lead - and eventual winning margin - to one point.

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