Glasgow Warriors 42
GLASGOW have gone to the top of Champions Cup Pool Three after a hugely impressive bonus-point win in France. That position will change on Sunday if Saracens beat Cardiff Blues, but the Warriors can take great encouragement from a result that keeps them in the chase for a knockout place while effectively eliminating Lyon, who have now lost their first three games.
Saracens are just a point behind Glasgow with that game in hand, and having already won in Scotstoun they remain strong favourites to win the group. But if the Warriors win the return against Lyon next Saturday then get the better of the Blues at home next month, they will at least have kept the outcome of the pool in balance going into the final round of fixtures.
“We’re not going to look too far ahead,” head coach Dave Rennie said after the game. “What we know is if we get it right next week we’ll put ourselves in a strong position heading into the last couple of rounds in January, starting with Cardiff at home. We’re desperate to still be in the mix come the knockouts and we’ve got some tough games coming up.”
Rennie’s side had to fight almost all the way for the win against Lyon, who, having little to lose after being beaten in their first two games, played adventurously throughout. Such a strategy played into Glasgow’s hands, and although it was by no means a perfect performance, it was a richly entertaining one.
The Warriors got off to a lightning start, and opened the scoring with an Adam Hastings penalty after Lyon had killed the ball on the deck. The home team missed their first chance to equalise when Jonathan Pelissie was wide with a penalty, but a few minutes later the scrum-half was on target with his second attempt, like the first awarded for an offence in the lineout.
Another successful kick from Hastings restored Glasgow’s lead midway through the half, then a couple of minutes later George Horne hared through a gap in the Lyon defence to put Adam Ashe in for the first try of the game. The conversion made it 13-3, a lead that seemed just reward for the pressure the Warriors had been putting on their opponents.
Lyon had other ideas, however, and soon closed the gap from 10 points to three. Awarded a scrum well inside the Glasgow 22 after a Pete Horne pass had gone forward, the French side attacked down the right before switching play. Lionel Beauxis found Toby Arnold out wide, and the winger, who had already hinted at his threat with an early break through the middle, crossed for a try which was converted by Pelissie.
The game lost its shape in the later stages of the first half, with the penalty count growing as both teams showed their frustration, but Glasgow got their act together in the last couple of minutes to grab a second try. A lightning break by Nick Grigg set up the attacking position, and eventually George Horne darted over from a couple of metres out. Hastings added the two points, and the Warriors went in at the break 10 points to the good again.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 12)
Glasgow out to press home in second half
Glasgow dominated the early stages of the second 40, and extended their lead with another successful kick by Hastings after Lyon had been penalised for a no-arms tackle. One more score might have settled the outcome of the game at that point, but out of nowhere Lyon got their own second try – undeservedly, it should be said.
When a Warriors attack was broken up, a boot deep downfield was collected by Nick Grigg. The centre was clearly not given time to get to his feet by the chasing Lyon players, but the referee gave a penalty against Grigg for holding on. It was quickly taken and moved left, where Noa Nakaitaci had no trouble in dotting down.
The missed conversion meant that Glasgow were still more than a full score ahead at 15-23, and that was extended a couple of minutes later when Stuart Hogg got their third try. Pete Horne’s grubber was shepherded behind his own line by Charl McLeod, but the bounce deceived the substitute and he failed to touch down. Breathing down his neck, Hogg reacted instantly to get downward pressure and claim the five points.
Hastings missed for the first time in the game with the conversion, but made amends two minutes later with an excellent interception break which put Huw Jones in for the bonus-point try with his first touch after coming off the bench. The stand-off made no mistake with the extra points this time, extending his team’s lead to 20 points just inside the final quarter.
With 15 minutes to go Tim Swinson was sinbinned for not retreating 10 metres and tackling a Lyon player at a penalty. That one was quickly taken and another penalty awarded, then McLeod grabbed his team’s third try. Jean-Marc Doussain’s conversion gave Lyon a glimmer of hope: there was still plenty of time for the two tries that would take them back into the lead, and the open nature of the game – not to mention their numerical advantage – gave them justifiable grounds for optimism.
Glasgow ate up the time well with a series of narrow forward drives, then Hogg was wide with a penalty from inside his own half. Siua Halanukonuka was fortunate not to be sinbinned after head-to-head contact between him and ball-carrier Adrien Seguret, not to mention what looked like a high tackle.
A Hastings drop-goal attempt was off target just before Swinson returned, but three minutes from time Ashe powered over off the back of a scrum to score the Warriors’ fifth try and wrap up an outstanding performance.
Lyon: A Palisson; T Arnold, R Wulf, A Seguret, N Nakaitaci; L Beauxis, J Pélissié; A Buckle, M Ivaldi, H Kaabèche, F Lambey, M Carizza, J Puricelli, L Gill, C Fearns. Subs: V Lacombe, A Menini, K Yaméogo, H Roodt, P Sobela, C McLeod, P Barassi, J Doussain.
Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; T Seymour, N Grigg, P Horne, D van der Merwe; A Hastings, G Horne; O Kebble, F Brown, D Rae, R Harley, J Gray, A Ashe, C Gibbins, M Fagerson. Subs: G Turner, J Bhatti, S Halanukonuka, T Swinson, C Fusaro, A Price, H Jones, N Matawalu.
Scorers: Lyon: Tries: Arnold, Nakaitaci, McLeod. Cons: Pelissie, Doussain. Pen: Pelissie.
Glasgow: Tries: Ashe 2, G Horne, Hogg, Jones. Cons: Hastings 4. Pens: Hastings 3.
Scoring sequence (Lyon first): 0-3, 3-3, 3-6, 3-11, 3-13, 8-13, 10-13, 10-18, 10-20 half-time, 10-23, 15-23, 15-28, 15-33, 15-35, 20-35, 22-35, 22-40, 22-42.
Yellow card: Swinson 65.
Referee: M Carley (England).