Fourteen-man Glasgow stun Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: Glasgow Warriors extended their lead at the top of Conference A with a stunning victory 29-20 victory over high-flying Scarlets despite playing the majority of the game with 14 men.
Alex Allan was sent off for a dangerous challenge inside the first quarter, but it only served as inspiration for the Warriors as Brandon Thomson scored an insatiable 24 points on the night.
Key tries from Thomson and Nick Grigg swung the tie as Scarlets’ late flurry of scores from Steff Evans and Clayton Blommetjies proved in vain against a voracious Glasgow outfit.
Rhys Patchell and Thomson traded penalties early doors, before the game irreversibly changed when Allan made direct contact to the head of Jake Ball to leave referee Frank Murphy with no decision but to send the Warriors man to the stands.
Despite the man disadvantage, Glasgow reacted perfectly by claiming a penalty from the scrum which Thomson sent sailing through the posts.
Glasgow found themselves temporarily level in numbers when Scarlets’ Lewis Rawlins was sent to the bin and Glasgow were rewarded with the first try of the night as patient build-up play led to Thomson stretching his arm out across the line to score.
The flyhalf converted his own try to give the Warriors a breathless 13-3 lead at half-time.
Incredibly Glasgow’s scoring spree didn’t end there as just a minute after the break Rory Jackson sent a kick flying over the Scarlets defence for Nick Grigg to run onto and burst his way down the pitch to score the Warriors’ second try. Thomson kicked to notch his tally up to 15 points.
Last year’s semifinalists were almost further ahead after a stunning breakaway led to Robbie Nairn crossing the whitewash, but the score was slated off for a forward pass in the build-up.
The visitors didn’t give in easily as Jonathan Davies rewarded Wayne Pivac’s side’s patient approach with an unstoppable sprint over the line to score Scarlets’ first try.
Thomson added then another two penalties to stretch the lead to 18 points as Scarlets rung the changes with Tom Phillips emerging off the bench to play his first match since February 2017.
He soon found himself trudging back off the field for a shoulder tackle on Tim Swinson, but in his absence, Evans reduced the deficit for the Welshmen following an intercepted pass.
Then replacement Blommetjies capitalised on a stunning run from Patchell to cut the lead, before the assist maker converted with four minutes to go.
Glasgow’s Thomson ensured the victory with his fifth penalty to put to bed a four-game losing streak to Scarlets and deny their opponents a bonus point.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) December 1, 2018
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Thomson, Grigg
Cons: Thomson 2
Pens: Thomson 5
Tries: Davies, Evans, Blommetjies
Red card: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors, 18)
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Robbie Nairn, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 George Horne, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro (captain), 6 Matt Smith, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 George Turner, 1 Alex Allan.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Tevita Tamielau, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Paddy Kelly, 23 Ratu Tagive.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Will Boyde, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Dafydd Hughes, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Tom Phillips, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Dunx McClement (Scotland)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)