Wednesday 13 December 2017

Glasgow rue bad luck against star-studded Toulon


Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson during the match between Glasgow Warriors and Toulon
Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson during the match between Glasgow Warriors and Toulon
Gregor Townsend, the Glasgow coach

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend praised the character of his side after seeing them push star-studded Toulon all the way before suffering a loss which ended their slim hopes of qualifying for the Amlin Cup.

A bumper crowd at Scotstoun Stadium braved the wet and cold conditions to watch Townsend's charges hold out for as long as they could against the reigning European champions before eventually falling to five Jonny Wilkinson penalties.

Glasgow got on the scoresheet through a Ruaridh Jackson penalty and a Chris Fusaro try but, despite slipping to a fourth defeat in six Heineken Cup matches to finish bottom of Pool Two, Townsend was able to take away plenty of positives.

"There was a lot of good stuff from the boys," he said. "We gave them a test with some good aspects of the game to take into the RaboDirect Pro12.

"Defensively we were great, the forward pack were excellent, pushing them back and making it very difficult for them to use their attacking power.

"We just didn't make the most of our opportunities when we had them under pressure. The last five minutes was an excellent period for us and the energy of the boys was outstanding we just couldn't find the breakthrough.

"Duncan (Weir)'s kick was unfortunate to go out at the end but we needed something to happen and it was a good attempt."

A heavy pitch contributed to a drop in tempo in the second half but Townsend was overall pleased with the way Glasgow dealt with the Toulon pressure.

He also felt they could even have been celebrating a famous scalp.

"Both teams put in a physical performance with a lot of emotion and if some passes had gone to hands we could have gotten a lot more from the game. Toulon did well in the tackle and made it difficult for us to get quick ball out.

"Some penalties we were unlucky with and for long periods in the second half we controlled the possession and territory. Overall, it was disappointing not to win but we have to look at our continued European improvement. We won one game in the Heineken last year and we have won two this year, with some narrow, avoidable losses.

"We will take this week and last week's performance into training and hope to transfer it to the coming Pro12 games."

While Glasgow's defeat means they will not be involved in the Amlin Cup, big-spending Toulon can look forward to a home quarter-final after finishing top of the pool.

Scorers -- Glasgow: C Fusaro try, R Jackson pen. Toulon: J Wilkinson 5 pens.

Irish Independent

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