Monday 20 November 2017

Elwood hails troops despite below-par end to campaign

Glasgow Warriors 24 Connacht 3

If motivation was the key factor in this final match of the Pro12 league at Firhill on Saturday then Glasgow, in front of a buoyant support, played this card to great effect to secure their first win over Connacht in five games.

The prize for Glasgow was a place in the play-offs and a semi-final clash against Leinster at the RDS, whereas Connacht were simply playing for pride.

Even so, visiting coach Eric Elwood believed that he could add to his string of good results over Glasgow. He ended up disappointed, but still satisfied with the campaign.

He said: "We've got mixed emotions. We came here to win and perhaps did not play as well as we might have. But to finish eighth with this bunch of players is still a great achievement.

"We've made an improvement from last year when we finished ninth. So again it's another step up. It's Connacht's best season in the Rabo.

respect

"When you're playing in a league like ours, that's demanding the whole year round, we can't be too disappointed. We weren't good against Glasgow but you have to respect the lads for the effort they've put in."

At the end of a tight first half Connacht were still in touch, trailing 11-3. The westerners had threatened to pierce the tight Glasgow defence several times in the first period, with good driving play from the forwards and clever use of the chip ahead behind the scrum.

Two penalties by Glasgow out-half Duncan Weir to one by his opposite number Miah Nikora had the hosts just ahead.

Nikora's kick, however, was to be his side's only score of the match as Glasgow gradually took a grip of the game, scoring a try early in the second quarter by their Canada wing DTH van der Merwe.

Then in the second half, as key refereeing decisions seemed to go against Connacht, Weir added two more penalties before the Warriors, taking advantage of the sin-binning of replacement scrum-half Paul O'Donohoe, delivered the coup de grace with a pushover try credited to No 8 John Barclay.

Connacht pushed for a consolation try and looked to have got their reward when George Naoupu forced his way over, only for the TMO to rule no try, leaving the visitors empty-handed but happier with the bigger picture.

GLASGOW WARRIORS -- S Hogg; F Aramburu (capt), A Dunbar, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe (C Shaw 60) D Weir(R Jackson 60) H Pyrgos (C Cusiter 60); J Welsh (R Grant 51), D Hall (P MacArthur 51), M Low (M Cusak 60); T Ryder, R Gray (A Kellock 60); R Harley, C Fusaro (C Forrester 70), J Barclay.

CONNACHT -- G Duffy (capt); K Tonetti, E Griffin, H Fa'afili, T O'Halloran; M Nikora (M Jarvis 55), F Murphy (P O'Donohoe 51); D Buckley (R Ah You 51), A Flavin, R Loughney (S Maguire 65); M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, J O'Connor (R Ofisa 53), G Naoupu.

Ref -- P Fitzgibbon (Ireland).

Irish Independent

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