GLASGOW began their warm-up for the new season with a comfortable victory over Premiership side Aberdeen last night under sunny skies in the north-east.
The game was the culmination of a two-day visit to the north by the Warriors, with a business meeting with local firms and sponsors, coaching clinics and training sessions providing a major boost to the profile of rugby in the Granite City.
Last night Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend sent out a team of youngsters and new signings against the Grammar in a 60-minute training match, and while it was enough to show the gulf that exists between the pro and amateur games the scoreline failed to reflect the fine effort by the Grammar side.
Townsend said: “I’m really pleased with the whole two days here and the way our boys played tonight.
“We started really well with a couple of good tries, but it was a competitive game and they got stuck in in the second quarter, and made it hard for us at the breakdown which has given us things to work on.
“We needed this. The guys will now be feeling a bit of pain and be blowing more than they have, even though training has been hard, and now we can look forward to our game with Harlequins on the 24th.”
Townsend used all 28 players, including Ayr trio Robbie Fergusson, Denford and Peter Jericevich, who all showed up well, while with hooker Fraser Brown having dropped out beforehand with a sore back Finlay Gillies made an impressive and welcome first appearance since December after recovering from a neck injury.
Aberdeen coach Kevin Wyness was disappointed his side could not breach the formidable Warriors defence, but insisted: “That was very productive for us. That’s our first run-out of the season in a very physical match and our fitness held up well.
“It’s hard to judge when you’re playing a professional side with some very good players, some internationals, and they got some easy tries, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. Our fitness was good and our spirit great. We never gave up.
“We had some young guys and it has given them a taste of what pro rugby is about and it will stand us in good stead for the Premiership season.
“It’s also been great to have the Warriors here and the positive publicity it has generated for us and Glasgow has been tremendous. The city has come out to embrace it, with a great crowd tonight, so I’m really pleased with the exercise.”
With the Rubislaw stand full and the pitch ringed by supporters, Glasgow were quickly into their stride and wing Byron McGuigan and Kevin Bryce, the hooker, had scored two tries inside the first nine minutes.
Aberdeen responded and, when they held on to the ball, managed to make Glasgow work in defence, but they could not quite pierce it and with scrum-half Ali Price, youngster Finn Russell and openside Tyrone Holmes among the impressive newcomers, tries for young No 8 Adam Ashe and Price took the pro outfit into a 24-0 half-time lead.
Argentina cap Gabriel Ascarate made his presence felt in the second half, following Price, again, and Gordon Reid on to the scoresheet, before Jack Steele finished off a breakaway score from a turnover forced by Ascarate’s tackling and Gavin Lowe rounded off an entertaining night with a ninth Warriors try.
Aberdeen GSFP: M Crawley; E Oag, H Duthie, W Wardlaw, C Gordon; M Ryan, M Ward; S Corsar, S Bingham, M Erksine, E Nimmons, S Smith, R Cessford, G Ryan (capt), T Preece. Subs (all played): R Coates, M Cox, A Wallace, C Harvey, S Warnock, G Clow, S Ryan, G Walker, A Rennie, L Earle-Wright, P Nacamavatu, S Knudson.
Glasgow Warriors: R Ferguson; B McGuigan, M Bennett, F Russell, DTH van der Merwe; S Wight (capt), A Price; G Reid, K Bryce, J Welsh, A Redmayne, J Gray, R Harley, T Holmes, A Ashe. Subs (all played): F Gillies, D Rae, D Mutamangira, E Kalman, T Ryder, J Eddie, W Bordill, R Vernon, P Jericevich, R Hughes, G Ascarate, J Steele, G Lowe.