Sale Sharks 7-45 Glasgow Warriors

Sale Sharks 7-45 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors produced an attacking clinic in their final Heineken Champions Cup pool match of 2019/20, running in six of the best in a 45-7 victory over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell.

Rennie’s side were clinical from start to finish to record a vital bonus-point
victory over their hosts, in a result roared to the rafters by the travelling
Warrior Nation.

From the
opening whistle, it was clear that the Warriors had one clear goal in their
mind. It took two minutes for Rennie’s men to make their mark on proceedings; a
burst down the wing from van der Merwe took the Warriors to within striking
distance, before the returning Nakarawa crashed over from short range to send
the Warrior Nation into delirium. It was an opening that could barely have been
better scripted by Hollywood, Adam Hastings converting for a 7-0 lead.

The visitors
had hit their straps early, and showed no signs of letting up in their pursuit
of a crucial victory. Ali Price’s speed and intelligence around the breakdown
was keeping the Sharks defence on their toes, whilst Jonny Gray was following
the lead of Nakarawa in keeping the ball alive at every opportunity.

With the
attacking intent all coming from the Warriors, the second try arrived on 12
minutes. After Jono Ross was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous hit on Scott
Cummings, the Glasgow pack went to work. A rolling maul close to the Sale
try-line was halted illegally, but there was to be no halting Fraser Brown as
he powered through an attempted tackle to touch down. Hastings added the extra
two points, and the Warriors led 14-0.

The hosts
began to gain a foothold in the match, as only a superb last-ditch defensive
effort from Kyle Steyn and Huw Jones denied Marland Yarde. Yet the Warriors
were in no mood to be denied under the floodlights, crossing for their third
score on the half-hour mark. With the forwards piling on the pressure, van der
Merwe burst through a gap that only he could see, Hastings converting the
Canadian’s try for a 21-0 lead.

Whilst the
hosts finished the half the stronger, there was to be no quarter given by the
Warriors. Despite a yellow card for Nakarawa, the Glasgow defence held firm to
keep the hosts scoreless at the interval.

With a
commanding lead at the break, the next task for Rennie’s side was to secure the
potentially crucial bonus-point. On 47 minutes, the all-important fourth try
duly arrived. After an overthrown lineout from the Sharks had forced the hosts
to concede a penalty, a quick tap from Price allowed Sam Johnson to glide over
on an outside arc to delight the travelling Glasgow supporters. Hastings added
the extras for good measure, and the Warriors had a 28-0 lead as Nakarawa
returned to the field.

Even with
the bonus-point secured, Glasgow continued to attack with aplomb. Glenn Bryce
and van der Merwe each were prominent in the wide channels, whilst Hastings was
causing havoc with ball in hand.

The home
side eventually got on the board on 56 minutes, with a score sparked by an
electrifying break from Denny Solomona. The former rugby league man regathered
his own chip ahead only to lose his footing inside the Glasgow 22, but Jake
Cooper-Woolley made sure that the field position would on this occasion yield a
score for the men in white. Tom Curtis converted, giving the home fans
something to cheer on a brisk January evening.

the Glasgow fans were soon in full voice once more. Having extended their lead
with a well-struck Hastings penalty from 45 metres, try number five swiftly
followed. Jones and Bryce’s identification of an overlap in Sale territory saw
Matawalu charge for the line, only to be felled just a couple of metres short.
Instead, it was Jonny Gray who was on hand to finish the job, Hastings
converting for a 38-7 lead with 15 minutes to play.

The Warrior
Nation were in dreamland, and it could have been even better were it not for
the intervention of the TMO. A Gray break on halfway and some excellent
supporting work from Georges Horne and Turner took the Warriors into the Sale
22, before Jones applied the finishing touch under the uprights. A closer look
revealed that Gray had picked up the ball from an offside position however, and
the score was quickly chalked off.

Just moments
later, it was Matawalu’s turn to be denied. Hastings picked off a Sale pass in
midfield and set off in search of the try-line, before prodding a grubber kick
ahead. The Fijian was a fingertip away from touching down, the ball agonisingly
rolling just behind his reach in the in-goal area.

There was to
be a final flourish, though, and what a flourish it was. Taking a short ball
from Hastings, Turner switched on the afterburners from 35 metres before
rounding the full-back for a score to savour. The conversion made it 45-7 and
the bonus-point victory was complete, sending the Warrior Nation home singing
from another European highlight.

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