Bath v Glasgow: Warriors start Challenge Cup campaign with impressive win

Head coach praises his players for proving their doubters wrong

Warriors hooker George Turner scores against Bath. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Warriors hooker George Turner scores against Bath. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Bath 19
Glasgow Warriors 22

STUART BATHGATE @ The Recreation Ground

AN INSPIRED performance in both attack and defence got Glasgow’s Challenge Cup campaign off to a winning start in sensational style this afternoon. Head coach Franco Smith had insisted he was not putting out a weakened side despite resting some of his most experienced players – and he was vindicated by a display which saw his squad fight from first to last.

Warriors let a 12-point lead slip in the first half, and the momentum appeared to have swung against them when Bath levelled with the first score of the second 40, bringing the score to 19-19. But then up stepped Duncan Weir, off the bench for his first action at this level in nearly three months, to score the winning penalty. There were still five minutes to go at that point, but the defence held firm in some comfort, bringing the game to a triumphant conclusion.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Smith afterwards. “To have a good team, you must have a good squad and we showed that today. The scoreline apart, the character the players showed and the way they went about their business was what we need in our squad and in our environment, so I was really proud of that.”


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Glasgow began the match brightly, and after a free kick inside the home 22 Lewis Bean opened the scoring, crunching his way through from close range. Domingo Miotti’s conversion attempt went wide.

At the other end, sound defence from the Warriors denied Bath much of an inroad, and the home side’s first real chance to set up an attacking platform was thwarted when Simon Berghan won a scrum penalty against Arthur Cordwell – a late addition to the Bath front row after original selection Valeriy Morozov pulled out through illness.

A penalty award on the edge of the Bath 22 gave the Warriors the chance to stretch their lead to eight points, but they went to touch instead, and their adventure was rewarded when George Turner finished off from the line-out drive. This time Miotti was on target, and after quarter of an hour Glasgow were 12-0 up.

But then Bath steadily got on top in the set piece, with ex-Warrior D’Arcy Rae winning a scrum penalty against Jamie Bhatti. After one false start, the line-out maul got within a metre of the line, and then the ball was fed back to Wesley White, who nipped round the blindside to score in the left corner. Piers Francis missed the conversion.

Another penalty on the other side of the field gave Bath a similar chance. Again the initial drive was held up only for the next attack to cross the line, with Fergus Lee-Warner being the scorer this time. Francis got the two points this time to draw his team level.

But if Bath thought the tide had turned, they were proven wrong in the last minute of the half. Jamie Dobie ran a penalty on the edge of the Bath 22, support runners took it on, and then Huw Jones marked his return to the colours by selling a dummy, going inside two defenders then cutting back outside to evade a third before dotting down his team’s third try. Miotti converted, and the half-time whistle sounded with Glasgow back with a seven-point lead.

 

The visitors came within inches of extending that lead early in the second half, but Rufus McLean then Bean were both held up after a break by Stafford McDowall. Then Jones was just stopped in the left corner but got his pass away to Miotti, who had a foot in touch and then grounded short of the line.

Bean was yellow-carded for straying offside at the breakdown as Bath began to exert more pressure, and within minutes the 15 men made their numerical advantage count, with Matt Gallagher finishing off in the left corner. Francis produced a superb kick from the touchline to make it 19-19.

Again, it appeared that the momentum was firmly with the home side, but the Warriors fought back once more, and with five minutes to go they were awarded a breakdown penalty. From about 30 metres out, Weir curled his kick just inside the posts.

Bath still had five minutes in which to salvage the match, but in truth they could have been given 25 minutes without getting anywhere. Glasgow were not going to let this one get away, and, after going eight months without an away win, have now claimed two in eight days.

Asked afterwards about the impact of Jones at outside centre for the first time this season, Smith made it clear that he viewed this success as a collective effort which underlined the strength of the whole Warriors squad.

“Huw is a good player and a guy that has got to know a little bit more now with his time at Harlequins, but to single out just Huw [would be wrong],” he said. “I think everyone stepped up to the plate today. That’s what we asked – to forget about where we were playing, to play with enthusiasm and belief in our systems. We got that.

“I think a lot of the players are underestimated and have the wrong perception around them. We wanted to change that and they absolutely bought into that.

“If we look at the game, we’re actually disappointed because we created so many opportunities that weren’t converted. We should have scored at least another once or twice in the first half and then in the second we camped on the line, got held up and were turned over, which was a pity.

“But the way we stuck to our guns when they scored on the other side and it went to 19-all, you could clearly see that the guys were concentrating on what they had to do, not what they wanted to do. That is a key line.

“We’ll take the win, take the way we’ve gone about our business, all the positives around it, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

 

Teams –

Bath: T de Glanville; J Cokanasiga, O Lawrence, C Redpath, M Gallagher (O Bailey 65); P Francis, B Spencer (captain); A Cordwell (L Boyce 27), T Dunn (N Annett 73), D Rae (J Jonker 73), D Attwood (T Ellis 65), F Lee-Warner (W Spencer 65), T Hill, W White (R de Carpentier 73), J Bayliss.

Glasgow: O Smith; K Steyn (captain), H Jones, S McDowall, R McLean; D Miotti (D Weir 57), J Dobie (S Kennedy 57); J Bhatti (N McBeth 75), G Turner (A Fraser 57), S Berghan (L Sordoni 64), L Bean, J du Preez (R Gray 64), R Wilson (W Fifita 79), C Neild, J Mann (E Ferrie 57).

Referee: A Marbot (France).

 

Scorers –

Bath: Tries: White, Lee-Warner, Gallagher; Cons: Francis 2.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Bean, Turner, Jones. Cons: Miotti 2. Pen: Weir.

Scoring sequence (Bath first): 0-5; 0-10; 0-12; 5-12; 10-12; 12-12; 12-17; 12-19 (h-t) 17-19; 19-19; 19-22.

 

Yellow card –

Glasgow Warriors: (Bean 61mins)

 

Attendance: 11,251.


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About David Barnes 3177 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

20 Comments

  1. It strikes me we are at a crossroads with Scottish Rugby. The pressure is on we are seeing the rise of Italy and Georgia. The US pro teams are developing fast. We need a carefully thought out strategy if we are to maintain tier 1 status. We are fortunate that unlike the Welsh and the Premiership we are in a great financial position. Any organization worth its salt would be creating representative groups from all aspects of the game. Players coaches administrators, supporters and working with them all to understand the best way forward. This site could do a great job of being a catalyst for this. We also need to look outside pure rugby – we have some terrific assets – Murrayfield etc how do we maximize revenues? What partnerships should we forge? What can we do on game days to get folks in earlier spending money and keep them after? How do we fund the support to generate more younger players? Technically what do we need to do to improve the performances from a younger age so the U20s start winning. What do we do to improve the performance of the pro clubs and National team. How do we make the coaches better people managers? As with all organizations most answers lie with the people already involved but you have to pull them out and be big enough as an organisation to allow them to suggest the unthinkable. We will never be perfect but we could be much better. And we need to do something soon before we become the next tier 2 nation.

  2. My response to Iain Milne this morning seems to have been delayed for some reason, as it was very similar to Rod Baptie’s comment I’m at a loss to understand why it should be causing one presumes moderation concern. – Perhaps I’ll just copy it on this and see what happens. –
    One of the most telling of your comments “we were marvelling at the depth of talent that now exists in Scottish rugby”: my personal first thought at that was, correct and isn’t it a pity that depth is not being utilised to its full potential, as an instance, recent failure to select players playing in England or elsewhere for the International squad questions policy if not ability, Huw Jones being a case in point and there have been others over the past couple of seasons performing week in week out that seem to be discarded on a whim.
    The obvious agenda with Kinghorn, an excellent player well worth the Jersey but not many feel at Fly-half, Townsend certainly seems to inhabit the same mind set as Dodson of ‘my way or the Highway’.
    I am unsure that your suggestion that there is a coterie of dissidents intent on damning anything that Dodson or Townsend do, rather it’s an amalgam of various individuals with disquiet regarding various different areas of disquiet with the governance of squad players or the URC tail wagging the dog, for instance a drive to ‘coat-tail’ Women’s Teams at the expense of the main attraction, an example of that being financial support in areas that frankly are virtue signalling rather than profiting the International or the Grassroots, areas that come first in the queue for financial support, if there is money to spare utilise it to support an additional Pro team or strengthen the playing squad or Coaching across the board.
    There are many instances of disquiet from various areas, Super6 perhaps having questionable influence, the failure of the U20’s recently, many aspects and then your comment regarding the depth of quality of Scottish players comes back to mind and leads me to quote Johnny Nash as it raises more questions than answers.
    As a Ps. Dogma at 10:04 ask a really good question when he poses would Irish Rugby supporters want to swap their CEO and Coach for ours, no need for Johnny Nash there, the answer would be an emphatic No!

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    • 1 that’s nothing like Rod Baptie’s post

      2 you have nicely proved Iain Milne’s point, a post full of anti everything

      3 and another article hijacked for an agenda, comments nothing to do with the article

      4 and a nice bit of misogyny thrown in

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      • Just because I consider there are priorities it doesn’t justify your assertion of misogyny as for response to Iain Milne he made comments that I had a view on, as regard similarity to Rod Baptie’s post there are similar aspects but of course that is my opinion others views are available.

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  3. I noted with interest one poster’s comment before the game that this was a ‘mickey mouse’ tournament. Well, judging by their team selection Bath didn’t seem to think so. And yet Glasgow’s so-called ‘second string’ performed heroics, including the not-so-usual suspects. Hope this can be seen as a springboard to further success, for there were some huge pluses. Young Smith at full back will hopefully push Hogg to realise that his Scotland selection is by no means guaranteed unless he delivers the goods, while it was great to see Dobie get a rare start. His service is so much faster that Kennedy’s. Huw Jones adds some much-needed bite to the back line and his return home is very welcome. If there were any minuses, it was that inability to come away with points from scrums and lineouts in the red zone that would have made this a much more comfortable victory. The Irish – particularly Leinster – are unerring from this position and it is their grinding intensity and ability to execute that wins them matches. Worrying for Scotland – but pleasing for Glasgow – was Cammy Redpath’s anonymity. I almost forgot he was playing, which is another tribute to the visiting team.

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  4. Behave ..it’s one win in context of women and 20s being whitewashed in last 6n and senior men only getting above 4th once in 22 years in 6n. We are starting down barrel of two successygroup exits at RWC Our development system is a shambles and in 32 years we have one solitary pro 12 victory to point to. Ask Ireland fans if they would swap their CEO and Head Coach for ours then you will have an idea of where we are at.Goid things going on….that’s utterly laughable

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    • What have these comments got to do with the Bath v Glasgow game. Agree with ian on the unduly pessimistic comments from some on this site. Lets savour a super Glasgow win with some young talent getting a chance to show their skills.

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  5. Happy to say I’m not a Smith fan but he nailed that one yesterday. Both SH were right on it (Kennedy has been razor sharp his last couple of games) and Weir was fantastic when he came on. Ollie Smith and McClean were also excellent but Huw Jones was another level. Can we please leave Chris Harris behind and utilise real talent like Jones Hutchison Redpath Bennett etc

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  6. Wins a win and away from home, but that’s a good win, Bath are a good side on the way up. If I have any worry it was the 3 or 4 tries we left out there. It was a good team performance from the old heads and the new guys. First class 50th game from Jones with a try as well. We need to make a serious attempt to win this cup this year.

  7. Sensiball i think you owe Glasgow Warriors an apology for your comments on the previous article, this was clearly a side revved up to win.

    The Coach got the balance correct between 1st choice and blooding new players.

    Time to eat humble pie.

    • You won’t get that. There are certain contributors who are anti everything that goes on in Scottish rugby. I was with some esteemed ex rugby players today and we were marvelling at the depth of talent that now exists in Scottish rugby these days. They won’t be happy until Dodson goes, Townsend’s goes, we have only Scottish born players playing for the pro sides, Murrayfield is half empty but it’s filled with the “ genuine “ rugby supporter! There are so many good things going on these days, enjoy it !

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      • One of the most telling of your comments “we were marvelling at the depth of talent that now exists in Scottish rugby”: my personal first thought at that was, correct and isn’t it a pity that depth is not being utilised to its full potential, as an instance, recent failure to select players playing in England or elsewhere for the International squad questions policy if not ability, Huw Jones being a case in point and there have been others over the past couple of seasons performing week in week out that seem to be discarded on a whim.
        The obvious agenda with Kinghorn, an excellent player well worth the Jersey but not many feel at Fly-half, Townsend certainly seems to inhabit the same mind set as Dodson of ‘my way or the Highway’.
        I am unsure that your suggestion that there is a coterie of dissidents intent on damning anything that Dodson or Townsend do, rather it’s an amalgam of various individuals with disquiet regarding various different areas of disquiet with the governance of squad players or the URC tail wagging the dog, for instance a drive to ‘coat-tail’ Women’s Teams at the expense of the main attraction, an example of that being financial support in areas that frankly are virtue signalling rather than profiting the International or the Grassroots, areas that come first in the queue for financial support, if there is money to spare utilise it to support an additional Pro team or strengthen the playing squad or Coaching across the board.
        There are many instances of disquiet from various areas, Super6 perhaps having questionable influence, the failure of the U20’s recently, many aspects and then your comment regarding the depth of quality of Scottish players comes back to mind and leads me to quote Johnny Nash as it raises more questions than answers.
        As a Ps. Dogma at 10:04 ask a really good question when he poses would Irish Rugby supporters want to swap their CEO and Coach for ours, no need for Johnny Nash there, the answer would be an emphatic No!

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      • It concerns me that you have to be either for or against everything and to be critical is to be against everything. Has Dodson done an awesome job financially absolutely! Look at the mess in Wales and in the Premiership. Also how the SRU gained so much money under the terms they did from the Scottish Government is amazing. Do we have more strength in depth – yes. as good as Ireland or Wales, countries of a similar size or smaller – no. Should we be worried about the U20s performance and the fact countries like Italy are making amazing strides at that level – yes. Do we have a manager who is a dreadful person manager in GT yes. Are we unlikely to progress from the group stages because of the dire performances in the last World cup – yes. Apologies being critical of GT means I am critical of everything. We need a balanced view it is not all good or all bad, there are some of both. The youngsters standing up to be counted yesterday were awesome, the fact Huw Jones may finally get a fair crack of the whip is great. The performance of the national team worrying, the performance of the U20s very worrying, the fact we are financially very stable is awesome. Will Super 6 succeed I hope so but far too few players seem to be transitioning from Super 6 to the pro teams. Should we be studying and learning from Ireland and Italy in terms of player development – absolutely. It’s not all bad but it certainly is not all great. The only way an organization moves forward is to be critical of itself recognise the weaknesses and understand how to fix them. We need all sides coming together leaving the baggage at the door and engaging in an honest debate on the way forward.

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      • And Iain their are certain contributors who seem to employ childish strawmen arguments to try to make their points!

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  8. They surely should have gone for goal from easy spots when 7 ahead to make it a 2 score game. Howeve, it made for a dramatic finish!

  9. Didn’t see the game but based on the report thats quite a performance. With all the injuries they have and then the decision to rest a few others this was a long fway rom from the top Glasgow team so all credit to the players. As Smith says perhaps some of these back up players are underestimated. I’ve never been sure about Lewis Bean – he’s a big physical specimen but wasn’t sure he used it to good effect so good to hear him in the thick of the action and scoring a try. Also good to have Huw Jones back and Dobie is a class player for a 3rd choice.

  10. Should have, could have won by two more scores, but it was the manner of the performance, and closing the game out the way they did that really matters. Sets up some real competition for places, Dobie and Shuggie looked back on form, Smith improving all the time, and Mann took the step up from Super 6 very well…. Although he looked as though he was on different planet when he left the pitch, hope he’s ok. Roll on next week at Scotstoun.

  11. Got to say that I was one of the doubters who thought Warriors coaching had given up on the Challenge Cup before it even begun. But it was an impressive performance by many of the fringe players. Not perfect by any means (and they left a number of scores out there) but really very good and lots of energy. Great to see Huw Jones back with a Glasgow jersey on and carving up defences.

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