Glasgow Warriors 12-9 Scarlets

Glasgow Warriors 12-9 Scarlets

Glasgow Warriors booked a home quarter-final in the BKT United Rugby Championship with a game to spare this evening, after a resolute defensive performance in torrential conditions saw Franco Smith’s men claim a 12-9 win over the Scarlets.

Tries from Sione Vailanu and Fraser Brown secured the all-important victory for the home side, on a night that saw the club raise £16,300 in aid of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

With Scotstoun in full voice and Plaster It Purple in full swing, it was the visitors who in fact opened the fixture the stronger. Through almost five full minutes of Scarlets possession, however, the Glasgow defence was resolute, the Welsh outfit having to satisfy themselves with a penalty from Dan Jones to take the early lead.

Another Jones penalty would double the visitors’ lead on 12 minutes, the skies above Scotstoun now open to torrential levels. Yet the Warriors were coming into their own, a Tom Jordan chip and chase and an Ali Price snipe getting the hosts within range before Ryan Wilson was denied by some last-ditch Scarlets defence.

Glasgow continued to look lively with ball in hand despite the conditions, however, Huw Jones and Cole Forbes probing in the wide channels to pin the Scarlets inside their own half. The Warrior Nation sensed a score was coming, and it arrived with four minutes left in the half.  A close-range lineout maul would prove too much for the visitors to stop, Vailanu showing sheer power to burst through two tacklers and touch down. Jordan’s conversion attempt drifted wide, leaving the Warriors trailing by one at the break.

With the rain showing no signs of easing, the classic war of attrition was developing under the Scotstoun floodlights. The first points of the second stanza would go the way of the Scarlets, Jones curling a penalty between the uprights with 49 minutes played to extend the lead to 9-5 in the visitors’ favour.

The Warriors knew that the next score would be crucial, and – roared on by the Warrior Nation – they set about their task with clinical aplomb. Back-to-back penalties saw Jordan boot his team to within seven metres of the Scarlets line, before a sublime lineout take from Matt Fagerson at the tail allowed the Glasgow maul to take shape. Fraser Brown was the man to rumble over with the ball, Jordan adding the extras to take the Warriors into the lead for the first time.

Glasgow’s pack was now firmly in command, with Vailanu and Fagerson both coming close once more. Jamie Dobie’s box-kicking was also causing the Scarlets defence problems, captain Kyle Steyn fingertips away from capitalising on an error and sending Forbes under the posts.

The Scarlets would remind everyone inside Scotstoun of their own threats with eight minutes to play, though, Vaea Fifita picking up a loose ball and galloping fully 75 metres to touch down in the corner. The Television Match Official would come to the rescue of all inside Scotstoun holding their breath, however, spotting that the second-rower had lifted the ball from an offside position and chalking off the score.

From that point onwards, there was to be no denying Franco Smith’s squad. With the Scotstoun faithful in full voice and the determination of everyone in the home ranks clear for all to see, Jordan’s final thump of the ball into touch was greeted with a roar of delight by Glasgow supporters all around the ground. Victory secured and a home quarter-final in the books; the perfect way to cap a night that saw the best of the Glasgow rugby community come to the fore.

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