First-half blitz wins it for Glasgow
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Glasgow Warriors displayed attacking flair and excellent finishing to secure top spot in the PRO14 Conference A and confirm a home semi-final with a 35-22 win over Connacht Rugby.
A blistering opening period by Dave Rennie’s side saw them run in three tries and open up a 22-point lead over their Irish visitors which they held onto with comfort.
It was their tenth victory from ten at Scotstoun this season and sent another message to their PRO14 rivals ahead of the semi-finals.
Finlay Bealham crashed over in just the second minute to give Connacht the dream opening and hint of a possible upset but Stuart Hogg crossed the whitewash for the hosts almost immediately after the restart, Peter Horne making no mistake with the boot as the home side hit back immediately.
🚨 BONUS-POINT TRY ALERT 🚨— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 13, 2018
A thing of beauty from @GlasgowWarriors as they sweep downfield and Henry Pyrgos rounds off the scintillating move 👏👏 #GLAvCON
📺 Catch the remainder of this clash on @TG4TV and @bbcalba 📺 pic.twitter.com/uahUCQxGi2
Horne then added three penalties as Glasgow stretched their lead to gradually wrestle control of the encounter.
Jack Carty cancelled one of these out on 25 minutes with three points of his own, but again the Warriors roared back and were over through Alex Dunbar moments later, Horne adding the extras in typically clinical fashion.
And the home side dealt another blow to Connacht’s hopes of a comeback in overtime – after a scrappy push for the line, Fraser Brown got the telling movement and Horne’s trusty left boot adding two more to make it 30-8 at the break.
And any danger of Glasgow taking their foot of the gas with such a commanding cushion was put to bed three minutes into the second half.
Henry Pyrgos finished off a flowing break with a desperate dive under pressure, crashing home at the base of the post. Referee Frank Murphy awarded the hosts the bonus-point score after consultation with the TMO.
A spirited Connacht then thought they had found their second score of the night, but TMO again ruled against them as it deemed the ball was not grounded.
Connacht did strike ten minutes from time through Caolin Blade, who finished off following a superb break from Stacey Ili, Carty adding the extras.
And the scoreline was made more respectable when Murphy awarded a penalty try to the visitors four minutes from the end after an infringement at the scrum.
But despite a hugely improved second-half display, it was too little, too late for Connacht as Glasgow secured the victory.
Tries: Hogg, Dunbar, Brown, Pyrgos
Cons: Horne 3
Pens: Horne 3
Tries: Bealham, Blade, Penalty try
Yellow card: Alex Allan (Glasgow, 59)
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (captain), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Alex Allan.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Ali Price, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Niko Matawalu.
Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Jarrad Butler (captain), 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Gavin Thornbury, 20 John Muldoon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Tom Farrell, 23 Stacey Ili.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)