Glasgow Warriors closed out their 2021/22 pre-season series with a hard-earned 27-22 victory over Worcester Warriors at Sixways this evening, as Danny Wilson’s men continued their build-up to the new United Rugby Championship.
A brace from Rufus McLean and a try from Lewis Bean saw the visitors take the win, with Ross Thompson and Duncan Weir combining for 12 points from the tee.
On a perfect evening for running rugby, the visiting Warriors were in the mood to play early on. A well dummied kick from George Horne sent Cole Forbes scampering down the wing with less than a minute played, whilst Ryan Wilson led the way with some abrasive carrying early on.
The early endeavours of the Scotstoun side were rewarded on seven minutes, as Rory Darge reacted quickest to a scrappy Worcester lineout to earn a penalty. From 30 metres out there was no mistake from Thompson, bisecting the uprights for a 3-0 lead.
Glasgow’s early score seemed to stir the home side into action, as the English outfit set about establishing themselves in the match. An Ollie Lawrence line-break seemed to have put Worcester on the front foot, only for the all-action Johnny Matthews to snaffle the ball at the base of the ruck to turn the ball over.
The home supporters were given something to cheer on 23 minutes, though, as their side struck for the game’s opening try. Whilst there may have been an element of fortune around the score after Lawrence’s offload went to ground, Willi Heinz was alive to the play to scoop the ball up and dart over in the corner. Owen Williams’ conversion from the touchline was on target, and the hosts led 7-3.
Just a few moments later, the hosts were in again. Despite Sam Johnson getting back to cover after a charged-down kick from Thompson, Matt Garvey’s turnover saw the ball whipped wide to Lawrence. The centre cut inside the cover defence to dive over, Williams adding the extras for a 14-3 lead.
With four minutes left of the opening period, though, Glasgow finally found the breakthrough. With Worcester hunting a breakaway score, McLean read the play perfectly to intercept and accelerate clear. There was no stopping the winger as he raced home from 60 metres, Thompson converting to leave the half-time score line reading 14-10 to the hosts.
Yet it would be the home side who would strike first after the interval, as Worcester came out firing. A break from replacement scrum-half Oli Morris saw the home side get in behind the defence, with Melani Nanai on hand to collect the offload and cross for the score. The conversion drifted wide, however, as Williams was wayward from the tee.
However, it was from there that the visitors took control of proceedings. A burst from Sione Tuipulotu saw Glasgow move to within five metres of the try-line, only for Worcester to halt play illegally. A second penalty saw Scott Baldwin sent to the stands for 10 minutes for a deliberate knock-on, with Glasgow making their man advantage count immediately; whilst Johnny Matthews was held up short, there was no denying Lewis Bean from a metre out, Thompson converting to cut the gap to two points.
Then came the pick of the evening’s scores; a perfectly-weighted cross-kick from replacement Weir was dropped into the arms of McLean and the winger did the rest. With two men left for dead by the footwork of the youngster, all that was left was for Weir to add the extra two points from in front of the posts and Glasgow had the lead.
Weir extended the lead on the hour mark, with the fly-half showing his range from 45 metres after Thomas Gordon earned a penalty at the breakdown. It was an important kick in the grand scheme of the fixture; with replacements entering the fray from both sides, the match was becoming an end to end affair, with Nanai and Stafford McDowall looking lively. Nick Grigg also threatened the Worcester defence with a 40 metre break, whilst Jack Dempsey gave supporters a glimpse of his capabilities with ball in hand.
Whilst Billy Searle reduced the deficit with a penalty with four minutes to play, there was to be no late drama. It would be Weir who had the final word, booting the ball into the stands to seal the victory for the travelling Warriors.
Kick-off 8:00 pm