Warriors edge Lions at wet Scotstoun
URC MATCH REPORT: The Glasgow Warriors held on for a hard-earned 13-9 win over the Lions in their Round Three match at a very wet Scotstoun on Saturday.
The home team scored the only try of the match – a questionable five-pointer in the second minute – in a bruising arm-wrestle on the 4G pitch in Glasgow.
* To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!
The Warriors dug deep to hold off a spirited second-half comeback bid from the Lions.
Danny Wilson’s team made a strong start to the match and looked equipped to pull away and notch another convincing win over South African opposition after last weekend’s defeat of the Cell C Sharks.
However, the Lions refused to buckle and kept themselves in the match right to the very end before succumbing to a narrow 13-9 loss.
Glasgow got off to the perfect start after just two minutes when strong pressure from the forwards in the five-metre area paved the way for prop Jamie Bhatti – on his 50th appearance for the club – to force his way over the line for his second try in as many matches. Ross Thompson duly converted.
The Lions got themselves off the mark in the sixth minute when EW Viljoen pinged a penalty between the posts from a central position after Glasgow failed to roll away quickly enough following a Nick Grigg tackle.
Warriors restored their seven-point cushion in the 16th minute when Thompson kicked a penalty from right in front of the posts after the Lions infringed at the breakdown to maintain his perfect kicking record this term.
The hosts were piling on pressure and appeared to have control of the match but lacked the accuracy in the key moments to breach a defiant Lions rearguard.
Just when they looked in danger of being overrun, the South Africans got themselves a reprieve in the 28th minute when they won a penalty 35 metres from goal, wide on the right, after Glasgow sealed off at the breakdown.
Viljoen could easily have kicked for touch but instead sent his kick nonchalantly and expertly between the posts.
The momentum shifted in favour of the Lions, who finished the half strongly. In the third minute of the second half, Viljoen hauled his side within a point of their hosts with another magnificently executed penalty.
Glasgow were under the cosh for much of the second period, but Thompson eased the pressure when he kicked a routine penalty in the 72nd minute.
Player of the match
Openside flanker Rory Darge continued his impressive start to the season with another hugely influential, all-action display.
The 21-year-old struggled to get the game time he craved at Edinburgh but has fast become a key man for Glasgow since making the move along the M8.
He was good with ball in hand and excellent in defence when the Lions cranked up the pressure.
Play of the match
It wasn’t a classic but perhaps the most eye-catching part of the game was the exquisite kicking of the Lions’ EW Viljoen.
Moved to number 10 in the absence through injury of regular kicker Jordan Hendrikse, Viljoen scored all of his team’s points from penalties and almost edged his team ahead with an excellent effort from 53 metres out which sailed agonisingly wide.
His second penalty from 35 metres out, wide on the right, was particularly impressive.
For Glasgow Warriors
Pens: Thompson 2
For the Lions
Pens: Viljoen 3
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Lewis Bean, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Murphy Walker, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sione Tuipulotu.
Lions: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 EW Viljoen, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Ruhan Straeuli, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Matt More, 23 Wandisile Simelane.
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: David Sutherland (Scotland), Dunx McClement (Scotland)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)