Glasgow v Bath: Warriors do just enough to secure last-16 home tie

Franco Smith's side struggle to reproduce recent form in final Champions Cup pool match

Matt Fagerson
Matt Fagerson in action for Glasgow against Bath. Image:© Craig Watson.

Glasgow 19

Bath 19


THE bottom line is that Glasgow got the result they needed to secure a home draw in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup: they only needed one point from this final Pool A game, they got two, and would have got four had Duncan Weir been on target with a last-gasp penalty.

But, in the context of what had gone before – a winning run of seven games on the bounce, including their previous three in Europe – this was an unsatisfactory result and a below-par performance. If the ideal is to march into the knockout stages in imperious form, the reality at a bitterly cold Scotstoun was that the Warriors did no more than stumble their way into the last 16.

The mood afterwards was best summed up by man-of-the-match Sione Tuipulotu, who said: “I’m not too pleased and I’m sure we’re going to cop it when we go in the sheds. It was no good tonight and we didn’t deserve to win.”

Tennent’s Premiership preview – runners, riders and verdict for 21st January

Nonetheless, the draw was enough to put the Warriors second in the pool for the time being, and to ensure that they will fall no lower than fourth once the pool stage is completed. They now have to wait until Sunday’s final pool games in the Champions Cup to find out who they will meet in the knockout stages – and a defiantly upbeat Franco Smith insisted he did not mind who it would be.

“The important thing is we now have a home game in the knockout stages,” the head coach said. “It’s going to be another team coming here to our place. It doesn’t matter who it is.

“We didn’t lose,” he added. “I definitely don’t see this as a winning run come to an end. We didn’t lose, so it’s now eight games without losing – I’d rather see it that way.

“I just think we were inaccurate – there were a lot of errors, turnovers, and we lost the ball in contact 16 times. These are things we can fix.”

Glasgow went behind when former Edinburgh stand-off Piers Francis was on target with a straightforward penalty, given for an offside decision. But the home side recovered within a minute, as No 8 Matt Fagerson burst through a couple of half-hearted tackles to touch down just to the right of the posts. Tom Jordan converted. 

In the next attack, however, Francis narrowed the gap with a second penalty. But the Warriors steadily got on top towards the mid-point of the half, and Sione Vailanu grabbed their second try from a lineout drive. Jordan’s conversion was on target again to put his side 14-6 ahead.

Bath could have quickly narrowed the gap to five points when awarded a penalty close to halfway, but this time Francis failed to get a clean contact and his kick fell just short. The English club were not to be denied shortly afterwards, though. Awarded a scrum five after Ali Price had not managed to clear his lines, they scored all too easily off second phase. Scotland centre Cameron Redpath carried close to the line before being stopped, and then back-row forward Chris Cloete crashed over between the posts. Francis’ conversion made it a one-point game at the break.


Glasgow resumed play on the offensive, and were given a boost when Francis was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Sione Tuipulotu. They thought they had taken advantage quickly when Johnny Matthews finished off from a lineout and Jordan added two more points with the conversion. But the score was chalked off by French referee Luc Ramos, who ruled that Matthews had not been in control.

That decision only riled the Warriors into redoubling their efforts, and after a ferocious drive through the middle, winger Sebastian Cancelliere scored in the right corner. Jordan’s conversion effort was just short this time.

Bath full-back Orlando Bailey landed a penalty just before the hour to keep his team well in contention at 19-16 down. Then inside the final ten minutes, Glasgow replacement prop Simon Berghan was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing a scrum, and Ben Spencer equalised with the penalty.

The visitors’ Tom Ellis was next to be shown a yellow card, for bringing down a maul, meaning both teams finished the game with 14 men. Weir had that last-gasp chance to win the match, but his penalty was just wide.

  • GLASGOW have completed their disciplinary hearing with Rufus McLean and are now having follow-up discussions. They and Scottish Rugby expect to be able to complete the process and announce the outcome early next week. McLean, who has three Scotland caps, is currently suspended by the Warriors from all club activities after pleading guilty to a domestic-abuse charge.


Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, H Jones, K Steyn (captain); T Jordan (D Weir 66), A Price (G Horne 54); J Bhatti (N McBeth 54), J Mathews (G Turner 54), L Sordoni (S Berghan 54), A Samuel (L Bean 41), R Gray (J du Preez 64), E Ferrie, S Vailanu (T Gordon 77), M Fagerson. 

Bath: O Bailey; M Ojomoh, O Lawrence. C Redpath (J Joseph 70), J Cokanasiga; P Francis (M Gallagher 55), L Schreuder (B Spencer 62); J Schoeman (V Morozov 54), T Dunn (captain, N Annett 63), J Jonker (D Rae 54), W Spencer (T Ellis 65), F Lee-Warner, T Hill, C Cloete, M Reid (R de Carpentier 76). 


Scorers –

Glasgow: Tries: Fagerson, Vailanu, Cancelliere; Cons: Jordan 2.

Bath: Try: Cloete; Con: Francis. Pens: Francis 2, Bailey, Spencer. 

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3; 7-6; 12-6; 14-6; 14-11; 14-13 (h-t) 19-13; 19-16; 19-19.

Referee: L Ramos (France).


Yellow cards –

Bath: Francis, Ellis.

Glasgow: Berghan. 


Attendance: 6,965.

Tennent’s Premiership preview – runners, riders and verdict for 21st January


About Stuart Bathgate 1428 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. Might help Glasgow for the remainder of the season to be brought back down to earth with a minor bump. Will help bring focus back to the basics in training.

    Having seen Edinburgh go well against Saracens there will be some tough calls for the Scotland selectors for the England game.

  2. Seriously worried about tight head position with 6N imminent. Fagerson & Walker out. What are we left with. WP won’t let us down but are we really reliant on a 36 year old who will play 40/45 minutes per game maximum. After him, Sebastian. Far from convinced. And Bath made Berghan look very foolish. Telling how badly the Glasgow scrum went after D’Arcy Rae came on for Bath. This is an area Scotland’s opponents will target. I can foresee successive scrum penalties marching us back towards our own line. A glaring weakness that needs addressing quickly.

    • personnel wise, can’t address the tight problem quickly. Can focus on scrum practice however of thats what you mean.
      Anyway Fagerson senior is in the squad because he is expected to be fit.
      And we can bring in Rae who is going well and a tough scrummager

      Longer term yes it needs addressing. Edibnirgh need to step or be instructed to. As it stands Glasgow could lose 3 tight heads to Scotland, while Edinburgh only have Nel as SQ and if rumour is true are about to sign yet another Bok prop.

  3. Set piece was awful they dominated the scrum and the lineout. Some throws warranted Nigel Owens famous comment ‘I’m straighter than that was!’
    The maul was the only good feature 16 balls lost in contact. Yes it was very cold but this was very poor – have coaches figured out our gameplan?

    • It’s the aggressive physical defence that is employ against Scottish teams (especially SA and Ireland) to spoil nullify dominate. It forces the backs to play from areas they shouldn’t be playing from and/or making mistakes.
      Lack of a kicking game last night was evident. Price was poor and Turner (for all his explosiveness) should be nowhere near the Scotland 23.

    • I think it’s fair to attribute it to the conditions, as both teams dropped the ball. It’s a pity, as it made Glasgow’s running game far less potent, but that’s rugby in January.

  4. It just wasn’t quite clicking last night and somebody – Price and/or Jordan – should have seen that and changed the game plan.

    Virtually all of Bath’s points were from cheap penalties in or around the Glasgow 22.
    Bound to happen when you insist on playing in your own half.

    No damage done in the end. Let’s hope the lesson is learned.

    Thought Fagerson, Tuipulotu and Jones looked really good again though.

  5. Not sure what to make of that game. The scrum weakness yet again possibly almost cost us the game, we lost way to many penalties which gave Bath great territorial gains. Luckily the defense held up. Lovely try from Fagerson, but we miss his brother in the scrum. I don’t think we got the game balance correct tonight, some poor performances , lack of aggression, some careless handling, poor line outs and some pretty aimless passing across the field. It might have been cruel if Weir had kicked the last minute penalty on Bath, but I thought Horne was a better bet for the kick, but it’s done. We have a home 1/4 but we will need to be a lot better, interesting to see who we get in he 1/4’s.

  6. Every team will have a bad game every so often and this was scruffy, with the usual willingness to run with ball in hand undermined by sloppy handling mistakes. Some pragmatic variation in tactics might also have been appropriate, for it became too predictable to defend against. Got the required point, but really they were shunted all over the park in the scrum – which is worrying, as is the seeming inability to throw the ball in straight to the line. Glasgow will beat much better teams than this and will seldom draw with one as poor as Bath.

  7. Yes, a poor display from Glasgow, with one or two decent performances, but undone with mistakes in all facets of the game.

    I hope Finn Russell wasn’t watching, geez Bath are a very poor side, that’s not rugby, it’s old school grunt, nothing else, he’d better get a set of warmers and his best kicking boots on, because that’s all he’s going to be doing. Mind you he’ll have plenty time to count from 1 to a Million as the Bath forwards meander up the field, and him with his hands in his pockets 🙂

  8. It looked absolutely baltic……. rather doesn’t excuse the multiple unforced errors, George Rurner is a good player but his throwing last night was a real momentum killer to Glasgow.
    Trying to go fast and wide at every play sometimes doesn’t work, especially against a belligerent defence.
    Price exerted no control over proceedings with one attempted pass to McKay a real shocker.
    Glasgow tried to play but it didn’t work last night, Tuipulotu and Fagerson played well (Redpath looked in decent nick). Again no 50-22s attempted.

  9. Not a good performance by any means, but still a draw.

    A good time to have an off day if there is such a thing in that we only (thankfully) needed a single point to get that home game.

    Needed more control…. Getting repeatedly turned over in our own 22 when it would have been safer to kick exit? Why go for the most complicated line out ever when they had been going wrong all night, and Bath were on a warning? – keep it simple, they pull it down, and they’re a man down with about 10 to go??

    Strange game… inconsistent ref, but we didn’t play him well at all. Perhaps the warning at the right time that they’re not there yet, help keep their feet on the ground, and drive them on to better things.

    Gotta feel a bit sorry for Francis having to suffer the indignity of being yellow carded and carried off at same time…..not that he’ll remember it.

  10. The high tempo, run the ball from everywhere tactics unravelled tonight. A bit of balance is needed, at times it was too high risk and way too many mistakes were made. Sometimes Glasgow lie so deep in an effort to get the ball wide that the inside backs don’t really commit any defenders who can drift across the pitch – end result being that there is no overlap created. The good sides will read them so need a bit of variety – sometimes it’s ok to kick. Anyway still get a home tie in the knock outs.

    • That referee was somethings else.. for both sides and the game in general. Awful.

      Glasgow were not in the right mindset today, needed to take it up the guts more and dominate bath physically before going wide.

      Price and Berghan were truly terrible.

      Fagerson, Tuipolotu did well. Hopefully thats the worst we will see Glasgow on a bad day.

      • Bergan bore the brunt of poor officials and a loose head who was boring in. One pen Bergan appears to lose his feet but watching the replay its because he is pulled down by a hinging Morosov


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