Aki's double helps Connacht sink Glasgow
MATCH REPORT: Bundee Aki scored two tries as Connacht beat Glasgow Warriors 28-24 in a thrilling match at the Sportsground.
The first half was one for the purists, with Glasgow leading 7-3 at the break, but the floodgates opened when Aki powered over for his first try ten minutes into the second half.
Quinn Roux added a second for the hosts in an end-to-end contest before Aki finished off a brilliant team move for their third.
Nick Grigg, Huw Jones and Tommy Seymour all crossed for Glasgow.
Both sides arrived for their season opener determined to hit the ground running in their bid to make the PRO14 Finals Series, after missing out last year.
Connacht made a lively start and scored the first points through a Jack Carty penalty but the Warriors settled quickly and spent much of the next 20 minutes inside Connacht territory.
The hosts lost lock Roux to a sin-bin for a no-arms tackle but it took Glasgow until the stroke of half-time to put up points, when Adam Hastings stepped inside one tackle and slipped a pass to a supporting Grigg to dot down.
Hastings added a penalty early in the second half – the flyhalf making up for an earlier miss – but Connacht regained their composure and hit back with their centres combining for a superb score.
No.13 Tom Farrell punched a hole in the Warriors defence and, with several Glasgow players attempting to bring him down, produced a fine off-load to the supporting Aki, who put his head down and powered over.
Carty’s conversion brought the score back to 10-10 and Connacht, reinvigorated after spending much of the game on the back foot, quickly took charge when Roux burrowed over from a metre out.
However, Glasgow hit back almost instantly with a pre-designed play from a line-out that saw Chris Fusaro flick a pass back on the inside for Jones to burst through, run past John Porch and score.
Carty’s penalty put Connacht back ahead and from the kick-off, Connacht scored their third try on the counter-attack as Porch burst down the left and Alex Wootton kicked ahead for Aki to dot down.
Glasgow responded with a superb team move of their own, which ended with Seymour’s try after they carved Connacht’s defence open to leave the score 25-24 in Connacht’s favour.
Carty added three more to Connacht’s score with a penalty and cement victory.
Tries: Aki 2, Roux
Cons: Carty 2
Pens: Carty 3
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Grigg, Jones, Seymour
Cons: Hastings 3
Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Peter Sullivan, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Jarrad Butler (captain), 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Gavin Thornbury, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Niall Murray, 20 Seán Masterson, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Sammy Arnold.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Huw Jones, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Robbie Nairn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Rob Harley, 3 D’arcy Rae, 2 Fraser Brown (captain), 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Fotu Lokotui, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Ratu Tagive.
Referee: Craig Evans
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, Eoghan Cross
TMO: Olly Hodges