URC: Glasgow Warriors come up short away to Connacht

Franco Smith's side fail to fortify half-time lead but late Jamie Dobie try secures a bonus-point

Jamie Dobie's late try for Glasgow Warriors salvaged a bonus-point away to Connacht. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Jamie Dobie's late try for Glasgow Warriors salvaged a bonus-point away to Connacht. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Connacht 34

Glasgow Warriors 26

JOHN FALLON @ The Sportsground

GLASGOW WARRIORS fought back at the death to salvage a try bonus point but they were chasing this URC clash in Galway for long periods.

Franco Smith’s men recovered from a poor start to lead 19-14 at the break, but Connacht dominated the second-half and had the game in the bag in the final quarter even if they failed to secure a try bonus point.

“I think we went something like 30 phases to get that bonus point try at the end,” said Smith afterwards. “The equipment is there, experience is something you have got to experience. It’s not something I can tell them. I knew it would take a special effort to come and beat Connacht here.

“A lot of teams are going to come here and lose, so I’m not that concerned about the loss. I think there are things that we can adjust and do better and that’s part of the growth of the group.”

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Warriors came into the game with eight of Scotland’s World Cup squad — along with Tongan flanker Sione Vailanu — while Connacht were without their three Irish internationals who featured in France.

Connacht had 62 recent possession in the opening half but went in trailing by three tries to one as Glasgow Warriors made the most of some poor defending from limited opportunities.

It was Connacht who got on top from the outset and three penalties from JJ Hanrahan in the opening 15 minutes eased them into a 9-0 lead and they looked set to pull away.

But from the restart after the third penalty, Cathal Forde, who had started so impressively, failed to control Tom Jordan’s kick and it bounced kindly into the path of Kyle Rowe and the Scottish international crowned his Glasgow debut with a try which George Horne converted on their first visit inside the 22.

Connacht hit back four minutes later and a good break by Tom Daly created the opening and scrum-half Caolin Blade threaded a grubber which Diarmuid Kilgallen chased to score in the left corner.

Glasgow started to build the phases and their second visit to the red zone also yielded a try with referee Adam Jones awarding a penalty and binning Connacht No 8 Jarrad Butler for side-entry as Warriors pounded towards the home line after a line-out penalty to the left corner.

That tied the game at 14-14 and when the Connacht scrum, with centre Forde stepping in for Butler, superbly defended four resets five metres from their line before Glasgow tighthead Zander Fagerson was pinged for wheeling, it seemed they would go in level at the break.

But Connacht conceded a sloppy try before the break when they failed to defend an attacking line-out and out-half Jordan cantered his way through for their third try.

Connacht regained the initiative after the restart and a try from hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin after a few surges from a line-out set them on their way, with Forde converting, taking over the kicking duties after Hanrahan suffered a knee injury landing awkwardly.

Two penalties from the left boot of Forde pushed the lead out to 27-19 after 58 minutes before Kilgallen wrapped up the issue when he intercepted a pass from Jordan inside halfway — although it took a few views from officials before deeming his one-handed touchdown was legitimate. Forde’s conversion made it 34-19 with 19 minutes remaining.

Connacht never looked like getting the try bonus point despite having the game in the bag and it was Glasgow who finished the stronger with Jamie Dobie getting in for a late try to secure a bonus point at the death with their fourth try.


Teams –

Connacht: T O’Halloran; B Ralston, T Farrell, C Forde, D Kilgallen; JJ Hanrahan, C Blade (c); D Buckley, D Tierney-Martin, J Aungier; N Murray, J Joyce; C Prendergast, S Hurley-Langton, J Butler. Replacements: T McElroy, L McNamara, D Robertson-McCoy, O Dowling, P Dooley, D Murray, C Oliver, C Reilly.

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; K Rowe, H Jones, S McDowall, K Steyn (c); T Jordan, G Horne; O Kebble, A Fraser, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, R Gray; G Brown, S Vailanu, H Venter. Replacements: J Dobie, J Matthews, R Darge, N McBeth, L Sordoni, G Peterson, A Miller, D Weir.

Referee: Adam Jones (Wales).


Scorers –

Connacht: Tries: Kilgallen 2, Tierney-Martin; Cons: Forde 2; Pens: Hanrahan 3, Forde 2.

Glasgow Warriors: Rowe, Penalty Try, Jordan, Dobie; Cons: Jordan 2.

Scoring sequence (Connacht first): 3-0; 6-0; 9-0; 9-5; 9-7; 14-7; 14-12; 14-17; 14-19 (h-t) 19-19; 21-19; 24-19; 27-19; 32-19; 34-19; 34-24; 34-26.


Yellow cards –

Connacht: Butler (24 mins)

Premiership: clinical Edinburgh Accies punish error-strewn Currie Chieftains


About David Barnes 3821 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.


  1. Our kicking game was weak last year, and we squeezed through without it. Smith at fullback would improve that, and Thomson if he can replace Jordan, who does provide solid attack and defence but has a poor kicking range.

  2. gifted them a start with 3 stupid pens
    no kicking game from 10 so defences can rush knowing no kick will happen. No real kicking game from 15 either, so hemmed in more than should be. Horne is a great counter attacker and bench player. This showed exactly why he doesn’t
    get started too often. No control, poor kicking game from hand
    Very similar to last season’s opener , and too much of the season before that

    • Spot on – absence of kicking game was clearly evident towards end of last season, rendering out attack predictable – are we really going to persist Blairswitch Mk2?!

  3. Some shockingly poor coach-killing errors prevented what could otherwise have been a hard-fought victory. Glasgow did it to themselves unfortunately. What’s the first thing your rugby coach tells you as a kid? Look where you’re passing the ball. Don’t imagine many will win away at Connacht this season, especially when the likes of Aki and Hansen make their return. that bonus point may come in handly when the chips are down.

  4. Back down to earth with a bump. We were 9 – 0 down within the first 1/4 from penalties and from there on through the game it was the same, it’s just sloppy play. Five converted penalties 15 points lost. Good game from Rowe and Venter. We still do not have a big go forward guy or two maybe Venter might fill the roll. Was it my imagination or did the last bit of the game look better with Weir on the field including the last try. Can we also stop playing Horne or Dobie on the wing.

    • Agree about Dobie on the wing. I know he’s fast but he’s got to be given game time at scrum half to reach his potential otherwise he’s in danger of becoming a bit part player who hardly plays at his primary position. Im not sure what the solution is with him, Horne and Price all on the books.

      Your comments about Weir may have some validity although he has had many chances over the years but as per earlier comments its all a bit frantic with Horne and Jordan together with too many wild passes and interceptions between them. I do like them both and so hopefully they can develop to be a bit more careful and vary their game management.

  5. Ouch. Horne had a proper stinker there but wasn’t the only one. Agree on the line out. Right now I can’t think of another nation whose teams are less likely to retain possession from their own lineouts. Do Scottish teams bit practice them?? Kept hearing in pre season about how much game time the youngsters would get….not even on the bench. Would rather have seen Samuel out there getting stuck in and gaining experience and just maybe he would have been a better target for the hookers. Ref was also shocking albeit for both sides. Genuinely dont think he knew the laws of the game and was guessing for the most part. Always a sign of a dodgy ref when the team going forward in scrum is penalised.

  6. Have the opposition figured out Franco? 5 (or was it more) intercepts in one game! Players from Connaught blocking the way to the outside channels. Where were the grubbers where was plan B? A very very poor Glasgow performance.

    • Exactly, and that’s what the Irish commentators on TG4 were saying. Connaught had done their homework and were lying in wait for when Warriors went wide too early. Bizarre that the most phases they put together was after 80 minutes! Overall a very poor performance with some terrible passing especially from Jordan, yet somehow they managed 4 tries, though they hardly deserved the bonus point.

  7. Only managed to watch the first half and the main surprise was that Glasgow were somehow ahead having played pretty poorly. Connacht played most of the rugby and I thought the Glasgow backs really lacked any fluency. The passes out the back were missing their mark and far too many turnovers and poor passes killed any continuity. I thought perhaps playing badly they might somehow win but it must have caught up with them in the 2nd half.

    A bit of a wake up call for Glasgow. The harm scrum brand of rugby is OK when you play with accuracy but there was far too much inaccuracy in their play which ends up killing you. I think a bit more pragmatism is needed at half back in managing the game and I didn’t think the half backs made the right choices at times despite Jordans excellent try. Im never sure what George Horne box kicks are meant to be because often they are not contestable and just give the ball back to the opposition. The positives are that we got the 4th try and show that we can score when we get in the right areas. Kyle Rowe looked lively but oh dear that try when he tried to usher the ball out of play will haunt him.Plenty to work on.

  8. Good to see them stick at it and get that BP – these all count when you get to the end of the season.

    However, game was well lost before then, big penalty count , low energy levels especially in attack. What is it about Scottish teams at the moment with poor lineouts and continually bested at the breakdown?? Even when we won lineouts they were disrupted and low quality ball. Got to be with the lifting and timing when shorter opposition rise higher! These are all fixable but seems prevalent across both pro and national teams? Also, we again struggled to recognise a rush defence and react, hence.

    Just disappointed, had really hoped that we could build some momentum on the back of last week. Expecting a reaction for the Stormers, a big game already this early in the season.

    Good to see Rowe who was bright (that bouncing ball excepted), and Venter looked more the part this week.

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