Glasgow Warriors 6 - 15 Exeter Chiefs: Townsend happier despite loss
GLASGOW suffered a second pre-season loss to Premiership opposition on Thursday night but there were signs that the Warriors are starting to find their feet under their new coaches a week from the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.
Exeter were the surprise package of the Aviva Premiership last season, motoring up to fifth in the league and, after defeat to Connacht and victory over the Cornish Pirates, were in Ayrshire to finish their pre-season on a high. They were, therefore, at full-strength while Glasgow were still missing a handful of Scotland internationalists. In the end that proved decisive.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend was disappointed but, after shipping seven tries to Sale last week, was happier with the performance. He said: “I was very pleased with the effort, particularly in defence, and the understanding is coming in how we want to play. Obviously, you want to win, but it’s about winning next week and right now the focus is on preparing so that we are at our best to beat Ulster when the league starts.
“I was really pleased with the captain’s lead of Finlay Gillies and the development players Fraser Thomson, Adam Ashe, Sean Kennedy and George Hunter. We’ve improved with each game, and training game, in pre-season so I’m looking forward to next week.”
There were just three scoring chances in a pretty dull first half at a wet Millbrae, all from the boot, and while Exeter’s Argentinian fly-half Ignacio Mieres and Duncan Weir were off-target with their first attempts, Weir converted a second chance to put the Warriors 3-0 up on the stroke of half-time.
Exeter had started brightly, turning over Glasgow in their own half and shading the territory battle with powerful, direct running, good scrummaging and strong mauls. They were sharper, too, but were quick to put boot to ball and Fraser Thomson, the hosts’ full-back, was only too happy to clear up and launch counter-attacks.
It was perhaps an indication of the strength of the Glasgow defence that the Englishmen felt they had few options but to kick in behind but, after John Barclay superbly ended one promising attack with trademark fine work at a ruck inside his 22, the Chiefs squandered another with a chip in behind which scrum-half Henry Pyrgos tidied up.
As Glasgow began to keep hold of ball, they finished the half strongly. Tom Ryder’s skilful hands provided good ball from the lineout and centres Byron McGuigan and Peter Horne were eager to run it.
Horne almost broke the line and wing DTH van der Merwe brought the crowd to the edge of their seats with his speed off the mark.
Warriors were rewarded for thir momentum to half-time with a 3-0 lead but Mieres squandered two chances to level soon after the break, sliding one kick wide of the uprights from 30 metres and striking the right-hand upright from 20 metres directly in front of the posts.
The feathered band of Indian “chiefs” supporting Exeter were soon in full voice, however, as from the rebound Exeter reclaimed possession and hooker Chris Whitehead drove over. Mieres missed the conversion.
The Warriors lost lock Ryder to injury which proved to be significant as, despite promising bursts by Graeme Morrison, on at half-time for McGuigan, and Thomson, and another penalty for Weir which put Glasgow 6-5 up and had the visitors panicking, Glasgow just could not maintain that second-half momentum.
Weir fell just short with a penalty from well out on the left and a 40-metre penalty on the right, and the Premiership side began to grasp the message from their management that it is territory which wins games.
After a concerted period of attack inside the home 22, the Chiefs were banging the drum again, Glasgow repelling one concerted attack on their line, but wasting the effort by letting in a soft score by the posts, replacement lock James Hanks diving over and Gareth Steenson converting to open up a six-point lead with six minutes to go. The stand-off then assured Exeter of victory with a last-minute penalty.
Scorers Glasgow: Pens – Weir 2.
Exeter: Tries – Whitehead, Hanks; Pen – Steenson; Con – Steenson.
Glasgow: P F Thomson; T Seymour, B McGuigan, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; G Reid, F Gillies (capt), M Low, T Ryder, N Campbell, A Ashe, J Barclay, R Wilson. Subs: G Morrison for McGuigan 40mins, A Macdonald for Ryder 48, J Eddie for Ashe 49, C Fusaro for Barclay, M Cusack for Low, P Murchie for Thomson, all 57, S Wight for Weir, S Kennedy for Pyrgos, both 65, G Hunter for Reid, 67,
Exeter: P Dollman; J Tatupu, I Whitten, J Shoemark, M Jesus; I Mieres, K Barrett; B Sturgess, C Whitehead, C Mitchell, T Hayes (capt), A Muldowney, T Johnson, J Scaysbrook, R Baxter. Subs: W Chudley for Barrett 40mins, J Phillips for Johnson, G Steenson for Mieres, J Hanks for Muldowney, all 63, D Welch for Hayes 71, S Alcott for Baxter 75.
Referee: A McMenemy (SRU). Attendance: 1,452
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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