Glasgow edge La Rochelle with crucial Steyn try
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Glasgow Warriors lived up to their name as they fought back magnificently from an 6-18 deficit to score a dramatic 27-24 Champions Cup victory against La Rochelle at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Saturday.
Inspired by flyhalf Adam Hastings, who kicked 12 points and created the decisive try by wing Kyle Steyn, the Scottish outfit leapfrogged over Sale Sharks – who play on Sunday – into second place in Pool Two after some outstanding defence and thrilling attacking play in the second half.
La Rochelle will be kicking themselves, though, for not making more of their first-half domination, as they only led 18-13 at the interval.
After Hastings had kicked Glasgow in front with an early penalty, the home side hit back in style in the sixth minute, wing Vincent Rattez releasing Dany Priso with a brilliant offload after a scything break from near halfway for the prop to charge over under the posts.
New signing Jules Plisson converted and added two penalties to open up a 13-3 lead for the home side, only for Hastings to reduce the deficit with his second penalty.
However, an almighty mix-up by Glasgow after they had won a line-out near their tryline let in La Rochelle lock Zeno Kieft for a 35th minute try.
Then, out of the blue in the dying seconds of the half, Glasgow skipper Callum Gibbins mauled his way over the line for a try that was converted by Hastings.
That gave the Warriors the boost they needed and although Plisson kicked his third penalty in the first minute of the second half, flying wing Niko Matawalu intercepted a Victor Vito pass 80 metres out and raced clear for a try that Hastings improved to put Glasgow within a point.
Plisson pulled La Rochelle 24-20 clear with his fourth penalty, but on 66 minutes came the decisive moment. Spotting Steyn free on the left flank near halfway, Hastings lofted a pinpoint kick into his arms and the replacement wing did the rest.
Hastings converted to put the visitors ahead and Glasgow then had to withstand some intense La Rochelle in the latter stages, which included a try-saving tackle by replacement scrumhalf Ali Price on Man of the Match Rattez.
Next week’s return at Scotstoun should be a cracker on this evidence!
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Priso, Kieft
Pens: Plisson 4
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Gibbins, Matatwalu, Steyn
Cons: Hastings 3
Pens: Hastings 2
La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vincent Rattez, 13 Jérémy Sinzelle, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Pierre Boudehent, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Victor Vito (captain), 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Zeno Kieft, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Thomas Jolmes, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Brendan Lebrun, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Thomas Lavault, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Brock James, 23 Brieuc Plessis-Couillaud
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Tommy Seymour, 14 Niko Matawalu, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 George Horne, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (captain), 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Tom Gordon, 21 Ali Price, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Kyle Steyn
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Adam Leal (England), Phil Watters (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)