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Keane laments Connacht's failure to 'play smart'

Connacht 12 Glasgow 18

Tom McCartney displays the scars of battle in Connacht’s defeat to Glasgow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Tom McCartney displays the scars of battle in Connacht’s defeat to Glasgow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

John Fallon

New Connacht coach Kieran Keane is looking for an immediate response from his men when they entertain the Southern Kings next weekend after failing to master the weather and an understrength Glasgow side at the Sportsground on Saturday night.

The dreadful weather made running rugby impossible but as Keane pointed out, the conditions were the same for both sides and Glasgow handled them a bit better.

Cian Kelleher of Connacht Rugby is tackled by Zander Fagerson of Glasgow Warriors. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cian Kelleher of Connacht Rugby is tackled by Zander Fagerson of Glasgow Warriors. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Connacht's failure to score a try was disappointing but at least unlike last year's opening-night drubbing to same opposition, they salvaged a bonus point this time.

"We didn't handle that wind terribly well, we didn't play that smart if I am critical about it," said Keane.

"And we lacked a little bit of direction in that first half. We spilled a lot of ball and coughed up a lot of possession and a lot of opportunities that might have existed.

"When I say we probably got what we deserved it was around our ball maintenance, possibly around our body height into contact, little things like that cost us on the night."

Tom McCartney displays the scars of battle in Connacht’s defeat to Glasgow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Tom McCartney displays the scars of battle in Connacht’s defeat to Glasgow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Both Glasgow tries came off scrums which were conceded when wingers Cian Kelleher and Matt Healy both dropped clearances under minimal pressure.

Three Jack Carty penalties was not enough reward for Connacht's efforts in the opening half but their scrum and lineout were both struggling and that allowed Glasgow saturate a lot of pressure.

The extent of the conditions was apparent in Peter Horne's first penalty attempt after ten minutes from little more than 15 metres which failed to reach the posts before swirling back out.

The Glasgow out-half then cancelled Carty's second minute effort.

Ali Price of Glasgow Warriors scores a try against Connacht Rugby despite the tackle of Cian Kelleher. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ali Price of Glasgow Warriors scores a try against Connacht Rugby despite the tackle of Cian Kelleher. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

From there on Connacht enjoyed the bulk of possession but a TMO decision went against new flanker Jarrad Butler.

Then captain John Muldoon was whistled back when he tapped and dived over.

Glasgow wasted little time in hitting the front after the restart, with a Horne penalty narrowing the gap and then scrum-half Ali Price was put through by Horne after a good move off a scrum to put the visitors ahead by 13-9 after 49 minutes.

Carty did well to pull back a penalty into the teeth of the wind to leave a point between the sides going into the final quarter, but another mistake was ruthlessly punished when Price's crossfield kick was fed back inside by Leo Sarto for Lee Jones to get the clinching score.

"They played a fair bit smarter and they got good reward - a couple of soft tries. We have got to look at things," added Keane, after losing to his former Chiefs colleague Dave Rennie.

Cian Kelleher of Connacht Rugby is tackled by Leonardo Sarto and Zander Fagerson of Glasgow Warriors. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Cian Kelleher of Connacht Rugby is tackled by Leonardo Sarto and Zander Fagerson of Glasgow Warriors. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

"We have a bit of work to do. We will have to pick the boys up again. They have been really good throughout the fortnight that we have been playing pre-season.

"There has been a good buzz but now they will be a little bit down. We have to pick them up first."

Connacht - D Leader; C Kelleher, E Griffin (T Farrell 50), B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham (C Carey 56); U Dillane, J Cannon; E Masterson (S O'Brien 50), J Butler, J Muldoon.

Glasgow Warriors - R Jackson; L Masaga, A Dunbar, S Johnson (A Hastings 8) (L Sarto 58), L Jones; P Horne, A Price (H Pyrgos 73); J Bhatti (O Kebble 38-40, 46), G Turner (J Malcolm 73), Z Fagerson; T Swinson (G Peterson 73), S Cummings; R Wilson, M Smith (M Fagerson 61), A Ashe.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU).

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