Glasgow v Perpignan: Warriors make it two from two in Challenge Cup

Only 671 supporters made it along to Murrayfield to see bonus-point win

Glasgow Warriors secured a bonus point win over Perpignan at Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Glasgow Warriors secured a bonus point win over Perpignan at Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Glasgow Warriors 26

Perpignan 18

DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield

ONLY 671 hardy souls made it along the M8 to watch Glasgow pick up a bonus-point win which keeps them on track to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Challenge Cup this season (with nine points collected so far from a possible 10) – so it was a surreal sort of atmosphere at the national stadium, which perhaps contributed to the ‘home’ teams scratchy performance.

There was some really positive aspects in Warriors’ performance, but they were also inaccurate at key moments, and three times they switched off after forcing their way into commanding leads to let their opponents back into the contest. In the final reckoning, however, they were worthy winners and head coach Franco Smith was generally upbeat in his post-match assessment.

“We are very happy with the bonus-point victory, but we know we were inaccurate at times,” he said. “With the changes we made to the team, you could see that a lot of guys need to get out on the field again and play some rugby. They hadn’t played for a while.


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“Especially in the second part of the game, we were inaccurate,” he added. “We maybe overplayed at times. But we are still excited to come away from the game with five points.

“Our DNA is all about playing rugby. That’s understandable. But we maybe just overplayed slightly at times and that led to inaccuracy. That’s definitely a work-on for us.”

Warriors started brightly, playing with tempo to dominate territory and possession, but a lack of precision inside Perpignan’s 22 meant that they failed to make it count on the scoreboard until the 18th minute when Duncan Weir kicked a penalty into the corner rather than go for the posts, and after the line-out drive pulled Perpignan’s defence in, possession was cross field with slick hands for Rufus McLean to go over unchallenged.

Weir fired home the conversion, and Warriors were soon back on the attack, with Richie Gray stealing a line-out just inside enemy territory, and Sione Vailianu and Huw Jones – Glasgow’s two most prominent runners – making good ground, before another ruck penalty was sent to the corner once again.

Glasgow were keen to repeat the trick of a few minutes earlier, but the maul was brought down and when the ball was sent in-field Sione Tuipulotu had to check his stride, but he had the wherewithal to send an excellently weighted chip ahead into the in-goal area, which Jones tracked down to claim his second try in as many weeks since recovering from the back injury which side-lined him for the first three months of the season.

Warriors then lost their focus, falling into the trap of reacting to Perpignan niggling, and they paid a price when Tuipulotu lost possession in contact and visiting captain Mathieu Acebes streaked up the left touchline, collected his own kick ahead, and Jake McIntyre floated through three Warriors tacklers to score a few phases later. The conversion was missed.

The Warriors squad members not in the match-day 23 were enjoying a night out, scooping some beers and making a pretty good fist of bridging the noise gap created by a lack of ticket holders making the 40 mile trip east for the game for most of the first half, but they went very quiet at this point as their team struggled to re-assert themselves on the pitch.

Perpignan narrowed the gap to six points 15 minutes in the second half when centre Dorian Laborde kicked the goal following Vailanu obstruction, and it went from bad to worse for Warriors just two minutes later when Perpignan’s replacement scrum-half Sadek Degmache spotted that there was a numerical mismatch on the short side of a ruck on halfway and scampered clear, before sending a well-time pass to send Lucas Dubois home.

Laborde drilled home the conversion to edge Perpignan into a single-point lead, and that seemed to jolt Warriors out of their slumber.

They powered deep into Perpignan territory and forced their opponents to concede a series of penalties close to their line, before English referee Anthony Woodthorpe lost patience and sent second-rows Tristian Labouteley and Posolo Tuilagi to the sin-bin in quick succession, and with the second of those offences he also rewarded a penalty try for a collapsed maul.

Back in front and with two extra men, Warriors really should have been of increasing their cushion and securing the bonus-point try, but they started playing headless chicken rugby, and a second Laborde penalty made it a three-point game with six-minutes to play.

Fortunately for Glasgow, that’s as close as the French side got, and Warriors once again knuckled down to get that bonus-point when some powerful driving play from the pack followed by good hands from the backline sent Sebastian Cancelliere over.

Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay: S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, H Jones, R McLean; D Weir (T Jordan 67), G Horne (A Price 46); J Bhatti (N McBeth 67), G Turner (J Matthews 67), M Walker (S Berghan 46), L Bean (S Manjezi, 55), R Gray (J du Preez 79)_, M Fagerson, S Vailanu (E Ferrie 79), J Dempsey.

Perpignan: T Tedder (L Dubois 51); G Tilsley (B Goutard 51), A Taumoepeau, D Laborde, M Acebes; J McIntyre, T Ecochard (S Degmache 46); G Tetrashvili (X Chiocci 46), S Lam (M Tradjer, 46), S Halanukonuka (A Joly 40), T Labouteley, P Faasalele (P Tuilagi 46), L Velarte, K Gellatier (L Bachelier 63), G Lemalu.

Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe (England)

Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: McLean, Jones, Penalty Try, Cancelliere; Con: Weir 2.

Perpignan: Tries: McIntyre Dubois; Con: Laborde; Pen: Laborde 2.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 14-5 (h-t) 14-8; 14-13; 14-15; 21-15; 21-18; 26-18.

Yellow cards –

Perpignan: Labouteley (65mins), Tuilagi (67mins)

Attendance: 671


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About David Barnes 3180 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.

8 Comments

  1. Really like John Barclay being on the commentary team – very insightful and not at all one-eyed, which is something that former players usually take several seasons of punditry to overcome.

    @Balls Up – Interesting take on the backrow being 2/3rd of the likely Scotland backrow. I’d say that Fagerson and Dempsey are fighting it out to start at 8, with the other being a very strong bench option. At the moment I would have Ritchie (obviously) starting at 6 and, on current form, Luke Crosbie, being at 7.

    Also, I’m really happy with how Huw Jones is playing and think that he will be pushing Redpath for the 12 jersey. Everyone knows what an attacking threat he is and I think his defence has gone up a level as well.

  2. @Balls Up – backs were indeed too deep. Afraid that’s down to Weir. Much as I love the guy, he can’t play the game Glasgow want to play. His passing was also poor last night, regularly head or shoulder height behind the runner. Horne’s passing wasn’t exactly top notch either. When the half backs aren’t firing……
    Also thought McKay was really poor, Ollie Smith looked far superior for not playing

  3. @Balls Up – backs were indeed too deep. Afraid that’s down to Weir. Much as I love the guy, he can’t play the game Glasgow want to play. His passing was also poor last night, regularly head or shoulder height behind the runner. Horne’s passing wasn’t exactly top notch either. When the half backs aren’t firing……
    Also thought McKay was really poor, Ollie Smith looked far superior for not playing

  4. Wins a Win but we sure made it tough for our selves. I thought 14-15 we were going to blow it , but we managed to come through. Good game from Vailanu deserved MOM , he looks a good signing.

  5. Will take the 5 points but thought wed put 50 points past them after the first 20. Made som any chances only to make so many mistakes.

    Agree with comments about the depth of the back line – they were so deep Horne was struggling to pass the ball far enough. All it means is you can move the ball easily but don’t commit any defenders – don’t understand why were playing this way – is it Weirs style? – it doesnt work.

    And once again we await for a hooker who can actually find his jumpers. I think Turner missed 4 or 5 throws. he had a great game in the loose but this would kill us in the tight games as it did for Edinburgh last week.

  6. Strange game – we won, 5 points in the bag, and when not playing great that is always welcome.

    But…

    We seemed to be trying to force things straight from the “off” and lost structure all too easily making life really difficult for ourselves. Don’t agree that lack of game time was the main issue as many of the 23 last week hadn’t played either. That last 5m continues to hurt our scoreline which is where we must improve in terms of patience and certainty of outcome ie points when we’re in the 22 that our play merits.

    Maybe we did just get sucked down to their level on the day?

    Still, something to build from and as RW claimed in the commentary it probably felt like an away game.

  7. Lesson in how to play poorly against a poor team. 2/3rds of the likely Scotland 6 Nations / World Cup back row and they were anonymous. Lucky to pick up the needed 5 points in a competition Glasgow should at least be semi- finalists in. Also worryingly the backs in stead of going aimlessly side to side like last year are now lying so deep Stevie Wonder would have time to marshal a defence against them. The Warriors need to improve on this performance.

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