Glasgow Warriors 26-18 Perpignan
A determined performance from Glasgow Warriors would see Franco Smith’s men grind out a bonus-point victory over Perpignan this evening, running in four tries to earn a 26-18 win over their Catalan visitors.
With the match moved to BT Murrayfield due to an unplayable pitch at Scotstoun, scores from Rufus McLean, Huw Jones and Sebastian Cancelliere, allied to a penalty try, would prove enough in the face of a dogged effort from the Top14 men.
In front of a small yet vocal crowd to have made the journey across the M8, it was the Warriors who started the game on the front foot. Sione Tuipulotu was particularly lively in the early exchanges, whilst the ever-willing figure of George Turner repeatedly broke the first tackle of the Perpignan defence.
Stubborn defence from the visitors would keep their hosts at bay for the opening quarter, however, as David Marty’s men resolutely stuck to their task. Yet the door would begin to creak with 18 minutes on the clock, with Sione Vailanu setting his mind on breaking it down. The Tongan’s barnstorming carry would take him through three tackles and to within five metres, with Perpignan choosing to concede the penalty instead of the score.
It would be a brief reprieve, though, as Glasgow crossed for the opening score just a minute later. With advantage in hand, slick passing from Duncan Weir and Jones would see Josh McKay presented with a two-on-one, with the full-back delivering the scoring pass for McLean to dive over in the corner. Weir would convert from the touchline, and Glasgow led 7-0.
The Warriors were now fully in command, and would cross for their second try on 24 minutes. A short-range lineout would allow George Horne to spin the ball to Tuipulotu, whose chip over the top was perfectly weighted for the onrushing Jones to dive on the loose ball to score. A simple conversion for Weir would make it a full seven points, and the Warriors led 14-0.
An increasingly scrappy affair would allow Perpignan to regain their composure, however, and the visitors would strike for their opening try with five minutes left in the half. Turnover ball would allow Matthieu Acebes to chip ahead and chase, and whilst the winger would be denied by the covering McKay, Jake McIntyre would have the simple task of collecting and diving over when the ball was recycled. The fly-half was unable to convert his own score, leaving the half-time score at 14-5 in the Warriors’ favour.
With temperatures continuing to drop, the scrappy nature of proceedings would continue at the outset of the second half. Early pressure would see both Sebastian Cancelliere and McLean look lively, with Turner continuing to prove effective as an option with ball in hand.
Yet the first score of the second period would belong to the visitors, as Dorian Laborde punished Glasgow indiscipline with a long-range penalty on 54 minutes. The centre would then put his team in front as the game reached the hour mark, finishing off a two-on-one to dive over for a try that – allied to his own conversion – would give Perpignan a one-point lead as the game entered the final quarter.
Glasgow’s response was near-immediate, roared on by the Warrior Nation. Ali Price’s introduction from the bench saw the tempo rise in attack, as the pack’s carrying continued to cause problems for the visiting defence.
Perpignan’s resolve was holding, but at a cost. Gregory Labouteley’s cynical collapse of a maul would see him sent for ten minutes in the sin-bin, and when the same happened from the following phase, the referee’s patience had run out. A penalty try was awarded alongside a yellow card for Posolo Tuilagi, and Glasgow led 21-15.
Laborde’s second penalty would cut the gap to 21-18 with five minutes to play, but it would be Glasgow that would have the final say. Patient build up would initially see the Warriors make slow gains into the Perpignan 22, before the master finisher Cancelliere would find his way over the whitewash. Tom Jordan – on for Weir – would pull the conversion wide, but with 90 seconds remaining the bonus-point, and the victory, was secured.
Three wins in three weeks for the Warriors, then – just the platform Smith and company would have wished for ahead of the 1872 Cup double-header.