OSPREYS 6-47 GLASGOW WARRIORS
@ the Liberty Stadium
GLASGOW Warriors’ line-up was much changed for this PRO14 clash, but the outcome was the same as in their other league games so far this season as they made it nine wins in a row against a hapless Ospreys side.
The home team, bottom of Conference A with just two wins to their name, looked more and more off the pace as the game went on. They were only 14-6 down at half-time, but steadily succumbed after the break, conceding several scores to interceptions as they tried to force their way back into the contest.
Like Glasgow, the Swansea-based team were without their leading internationals, even if they did have the likes of Scott Baldwin and James Hook to call on from the bench. Unlike Glasgow, however, their inexperienced stand-ins were unable to rise to the occasion.
Stand-off Adam Hastings ran proceedings for the Warriors, ending up with a try and six excellent conversions to his name. His half-back partner George Horne touched down twice, while the other Glasgow tries came from Scott Cummings, George Turner, Brandon Thomson and Leonardo Sarto.
The best that could be said of the Ospreys was that they began brightly enough, taking an early lead with a Sam Davies penalty. They then came close to stretching their advantage with a try after Joe Thomas and Hanno Dirksen combined well at the end of a cleverly orchestrated move which almost saw the latter touch down, only for Sarto to intercept just before the try line.
That incident occurred when Warriors hooker Pat MacArthur was being treated for an injury, and when they were back to their full complement Dave Rennie’s side soon got on top. Hastings put them ahead with a converted try, and then, after the Ospreys had dealt with an injury of their own as skipper Paul James made way for Gareth Thomas, Horne stretched their lead with an excellent score, again converted by Hastings. Sarto was at the heart of every good move from the conference leaders throughout the first 40, not only defending well but also creating a number of chances thanks to his pace and vision.
Leading by a dozen points at the break, the visitors emerged with an aggression and a drive that Steve Tandy’s side simply could not match. The confidence of having won eight from eight was clear to see, as Horne was quick to capitalise on a number of errors to score again. Cummings then added his name to the scoresheet, before George Turner also got in on the act and Horne scored his second.
The introduction of Baldwin and Hook did little to ease the pressure as Glasgow continued to press forward with intent. Although winger Jeff Hassler lived up to his surname and provided a number of good runs and efforts, none came to fruition in what must surely be one of the Ospreys’ worst home defeats in many years – one that was compounded by two interception tries, from Thomson and Sarto, in the final three minutes.
Full-back Ruaridh Jackson looked fresh and fit after his cameo appearance for Scotland against Australia on Saturday, while debutant Kiran McDonald impressed at lock throughout. Rennie, linked by some media outlets in recent days as a possible Wales head coach when Warren Gatland moves on in 2019, was diplomatically understated in assessing his team’s performance.
“It was well beyond our expectations,” the Glasgow coach said. “We had a good look at Ospreys recently: they were going really well against Edinburgh the other week for 40 minutes. But we fronted today, and that was important.”
Ospreys: D Evans; H Dirksen, J Thomas, A Beck, J Hassler; S Davies, T Habberfield; P James, S Parry, D Arhip, L Ashley, B Davies, O Cracknell, G Mercer, J King. Substitutes: S Baldwin, G Thomas, M Fia, R McCusker, W Jones, R Morgan-Williams, J Hook, D Howells.
Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; L Masaga, N Grigg, S Johnson, L Sarto; A Hastings, G Horne; A Allan, P MacArthur, D Rae, K McDonald, S Cummings, C Gibbins, M Smith, S Vunisa. Substitutes: G Turner, R Grant, S Halanukonuka, H Burr, L Wynne, K Barreto, B Thomson, L Jones.
Scorers: Ospreys: Penalties: S Davies 2.
Glasgow: Tries: Hastings, Horne 2, Cummings, Turner, Thomson, Sarto. Conversions: Hastings 6.
Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-7, 3-14, 6-14 half-time, 6-19, 6-26, 6-33, 6-40, 6-47.
Referee: I Davies (Wales).