Glasgow Warriors 27
GLASGOW Warriors endured the same fate that had befallen Edinburgh earlier in the day when they suffered a painful European Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat. The Scottish outfit battled back from a shaky start to build a two-score lead early in the second half. But the home side stepped on the gas in the closing stages to take the win and set up a home semi final against Wasps.
Warriors knew they had to contain the hosts in the early moments. They failed to do so and were under pressure instantly with knock on from the kick off, and within a minute Lyon earned a penalty which Leo Berdeu stroked over to set the scoreboard ticking.
Warriors were under pressure, but showed their ability to strike on the counterattack when Josh McKay broke from his own half and chipped ahead. Neither Ali Price nor Lyon full-back Toby Arnold could gather the loose ball which bounced nicely for McKay and he raced in for the try. Ross Thompson stroked over the conversion.
McKay was prominent again in the next Warriors attack, but the hosts were soon back on the offensive and Berdeu cut the deficit to a point when he was on target with another penalty.
Warriors thought they had struck again in 19 minutes when Price went head-to-head with his opposite number Baptiste Couilloud in chasing a chip ahead. The pair appeared to reach the ball simultaneously and after consultation with the TMO, the decision went the Frenchman’s way.
The visitors were enjoying their best period of possession and a multi-phase attack yielded a penalty in front of the posts, which Thompson clipped over to take the Warriors’ tally into double figures. And a carbon copy of that effort a few minutes later extended the lead as the clock ticked towards the half-hour mark.
Lyon’s pack had the better up front and that superiority appeared to have paid off when Beka Saginadze blasted his way over. However, the TMO had spotted a neck roll by Felix Lambey on Zander Fagerson and the try was disallowed, although the score did come just a couple of minutes later. A penalty a few metres shy of the Warriors line handed the hosts another chance and Couilloud took a quick tap before diving over and leaving Berdeu a simple conversion to square matters.
The Warriors heads did not go down, though, and just before the break they struck back when Johnny Matthews made a dent down the right wing and the recycled ball was spun left to Sam Johnson whose long pass picked out McKay and he freed Cole Forbes to hurtle over. Thompson’s conversion left Warriors seven points clear at the interval.
Warriors enjoyed the territorial advantage in the early part of the second period and the pressure paid off in 49 minutes. A penalty was despatched into touch and George Turner picked out Richie Gray with the throw and as Warriors drove over, Berdeu halted the move illegally. The referee awarded a penalty try and sent the home stand off to the sin bin.
Lyon responded with an attack that ended with McKay producing a thundering tackle that sent Davit Niniashvili into touch just short of the line. The referee showed Jamie Bhatti a yellow card for coming in from the side, although the offence had occurred too far out to merit a penalty try.
The hosts were enjoying some renewed pressure and they clawed their way back into the game after eventually finding a route through a resolute Warriors defence when Romain Taofifenua crashed over. Jean-Marc Doussin’s conversion left the deficit at seven points.
The gap fell even further just after the hour when Pierre-Louis Barassi freed Niniashvili for a run to the line. Berdeu’s unsuccessful conversion effort meant Warriors still clung to a slender lead. However, the Lyon stand off found his range with his next attempt on goal, a penalty with 10 minutes to play that gave the hosts a single point lead and ensured a tense finale.
And they sealed their ticket to the last four when Doussin sent a clever kick into space behind the Warriors defence, and Niniashvili capped a man-of-the-match performance when he bagged his second score of the match and left Warriors with too much to do.
Lyon: T Arnold; J Tuisova, P Barassi, C Ngatai, D Niniashvili; L Berdeu, B Couilloud; S Taofifenua, Y Charcosset, D Bamba, F Lambey, R Taofifenua, D Cretin, B Saginadze, P Sobela©. Substitutes: M Ivaldi, V Devisme, H Kaabèche, T Mayanavanua, L Goujon, J Doussain, J Kpoku, X Mignot.
Glasgow Warriors: O Smith; J McKay, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson, A Price; J Bhatti, J Matthews, Z Fagerson, R Harley, R Gray, R Wilson©, A Miller, J Dempsey. Substitutes: G Turner, N McBeth, S Berghan, L Bean, K McDonald, G Brown, J Dobie, D Miotti.
Referee: M Carley (RFU) .
Lyon: Tries – Couilloud, Taofifenua, Niniashvili 2, Cons – Berdeu 2, Doussin Pens – Berdeu 3
Glasgow Warriors: Tries – McKay, Forbes, Penalty; Cons – Thompson 2: Pens – Thompson 2 .
Scoring sequence (Lyon first): 3-0, 3-5, 3-7, 6-7, 6-10, 6-13, 11-13, 13-13, 13-18, 13-20 (h-t) 13-27, 18-27, 20-27, 25-27, 28-27, 33-27, 35-27.
Yellow cards: Berdeu (Lyon), Bhatti (Glasgow)
Man-of-the-match: Warriors were well served by Josh McKay, Sam Johnson and Johnny Matthews, but on the basis of his match-winning contribution, the award went to teenage Lyon winger Davit Niniashvili.
Talking point: So near and yet so far for the two Scottish representatives on the European stage.
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