Scarlets 29 - 6 Glasgow Warriors: Townsend’s men well beaten

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend saw his side well beaten in Wales. Picture: SNS
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend saw his side well beaten in Wales. Picture: SNS
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THE real Glasgow need to turn up for their final two games of the Rabo Direct season as it seemed a bunch of imposters borrowed the shirts to put in a lacklustre showing, slipping to defeat against the Scarlets.

Scarlets: Tries - Owens, L Williams; Pens - O Williams (4); Cons - O Williams (2); Drop goal - O Williams

Glasgow: Pens - Jackson (2)

Referee: G Clancy

Attendance: 6,901

They still need a win to ensure a place in the play-offs and, preferably, two to be at home. It was an opportunity missed, but more worrying was the sudden loss of the aura of confidence which has been so impressive over the last two months.

For the players who had won eight of the previous nine games, put 50 points on Munster, were apparently missing from West Wales as they slipped to a disappointingly comfortable defeat.

It means Ulster take over at the top of the table and will be firm favourites to finish top given their run-in. Leinster have a tough trip to Munster today, so it is all very much still to play for in terms of home advantage in the semis.

Mind you, if Glasgow keep playing like this, then they may well miss out altogether. They could not sustain any pressure and made the wrong decision at almost every opportunity. The Ospreys are next in Scotstoun and that is certainly no gimme, especially as the Welsh side are also chasing a play-off place.

The home side settled early, and Scarlets stand-off Owen Williams punished Glasgow mistakes with two early penalties. The errors kept coming from the visitors. A missed pass followed by a kick straight into touch from Ruaridh Jackson helped give the home side territory and they were able to work hooker Ken Owens into space in midfield.

His fellow forwards joined in with enthusiasm and ground their way towards the try line where Owens wriggled his way over for the try, converted by Williams.

The game was being played inside the Glasgow 22. That meant when the Scarlets made a small error, Williams had the position to take a snap drop-goal to extend the lead.

Two rare forays into the Scarlets half did bring some relief for Glasgow, with Jackson maintaining his excellent kicking form with two more penalties to keep his side in touch.

Ryan Grant came on for Gordon Reid in the front row after half an hour and Glasgow did earn their first period of sustained pressure, Jackson going for the corner instead of goal from the outer reaches of his range.

A harsh knock-on decision against skipper Al Kellock, who seemed to recover his fumble while the ball was still in the air, meant the Scarlets were able to clear without conceding any points.

The Scarlets picked up where they left off at the start of the second half. Williams missed his first goalkick of the night, but they had a break when the ball popped out after a powerful run by Wales centre Jonathan Davies. That unsettled the visiting defence and home full-back Liam Williams got the ball wide to George North, whose transfer to Northampton next season has caused ructions in Wales. He returned the favour for the full-back to stroll over the line. Owen Williams added the conversion and then notched another penalty.

Glasgow rang the changes, but Duncan Weir, uncharacteristically, hit the post with a straightforward penalty.

The Scarlets kept up the pressure, Owen Williams taking the penalties at goal to make the game safe, rather than risking going for the bonus point early.

If that gave the Scots the smallest of lifelines, they were determined not to take it. Their best attack of the second half ended when Weir kicked possession into a crowded bunch of Scarlets rather than trying to sustain the pressure.

It summed up the paucity of the Glasgow decision-making. Centre Mark Bennett was replaced by Sean Lamont, though, in truth, the game had passed him by as Glasgow failed to get the ball wide into his hands, along with Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and DTH Van der Merwe.

If there was a consolation for Glasgow it was that the Scarlets did not get a bonus point themselves.

However, that was a pretty small crumb of comfort compared to the large number of concerns.

Scarlets: L Williams; G North, J Davies, S Williams, A Fenby; O Williams, A Davies; P John, K Owens, S Lee, G Earle, J Synman, A Shingler, R McCusker (capt), J Edwards. Subs: M Rees for Owen 66, R Jones for John 63, D Manu for Lee 57, S Timani for Earle 69, J Turnbull for Edwards 57, G Davies for A Davies 70, A Thomas, G Maule for J Davies 73.

Glasgow: S Hogg; S Maitland, M Bennett, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; R Jackson, H Pyrgos; G Reid, P MacArthur, M Low, T Ryder, A Kellock (captain), J Strauss, J Barclay, R Wilson. Subs: D Hall for MacArthur 57, R Grant for Reid 31, E Kalman, T Swinson for Ryder 48, R Harley for Barclay 66, N Matawalu for Pyrgos 57, D Weir for Jackson 48, S Lamont for Bennett 48.