GLASGOW did their part by beating the defending champions in the RaboDirect Pro12 at the end of a week when Scottish commitment to the competition had been questioned by the English clubs.
Scorers: Ospreys: Try – Evans. Pen – Biggar. Con – Biggar. Glasgow: Tries – Van Der Merwe (2), Fusaro. Pens – Weir (2), Jackson. Cons – Weir (2).
While the Heineken Cup battles will be waged far from the pitch, Glasgow played their part on it with this comprehensive win over the Ospreys, taking advantage of their chances to fully deserve the win.
The lineout was a thorn in the Opsreys’ side all evening, the tackling near faultless and the sharp taking of half-chances was the difference on the scoreboard. A first win of the season for Glasgow and a first win for new coach Gregor Townsend.
However, there was worrying news with scrum half Chris Cusiter taken to hospital with a shoulder injury that could threaten his involvement in the November internationals for Scotland.
Glasgow had suffered three long-term injuries in the week, while still waiting for the arrivals of many of their foreign legion, with the arrival of baby Ava Wilson meaning another late withdrawal as happy dad Ryan pulled out of the back row. That meant they were roughly half-strength compared to their likely Heineken Cup team,
Glasgow started perfectly, though, DTH Van Der Merwe racing 80 yards for an opportunist try after claiming a high kick just inside his own 22, beating the first would-be tackler and then having the pace to outstrip prop Duncan Jones and outside half Dan Biggar as the rest of the Ospreys streamed up in attack.
Glasgow outside half Duncan Weir missed the conversion and a long-range penalty before he extended the lead, but at a major cost to Glasgow.
The penalty was awarded just outside the 22 and scrum half Chris Cusiter thought he spotted an opportunity for the quick tap. He was obstructed to earn a penalty even closer, but kept going before hurting his shoulder going to ground in the tackle. It looked a serious injury, forcing the scrum half off the pitch and Glasgow lost the only Lion in their line-up.
At least Weir made no mistake with the kick as the Glasgow lineout took control and the forwards were strong in the loose exchanges, both in fighting for the ball on the ground and around the fringes.
Glasgow then put pressure on a ruck near the Ospreys line, scrum-half Rhys Webb fumbled as he tried to move the ball clear and visiting flanker Chris Fusaro pounced on the ball to grab the try while Webb was still appealing to the referee for a non-existent offence.
Weir added the conversion to give the Scots a 15-0 lead at half-time. If the margin was fortunate, they certainly deserved to be ahead for their greater hunger and desire. Perhaps this was summed up just before half-time when most of the Glasgow pack went to the aid of centre Peter Horne when he was taken out after a clearance kick. The incident may have been minor but the message was clear.
Glasgow’s determination to hold on to their lead was clear after the break. A regathered kick ahead meant the move only broke down when Webb got in the way from an offside position. He deservedly saw yellow to cap a miserable evening, while Weir extended the lead with the penalty.
The Ospreys brought club captain Alun Wyn Jones into the second row and, though down to 14 men, were prepared to kick for the corners rather than for goal.
That bravery was rewarded with another penalty and a sin-bin for visiting flanker James Eddie as a maul rumbled towards the try line and then lock Ian Evans rumbled over from short range for his side’s first try. Biggar converted.
However, Glasgow then showed that whatever the Ospreys could do, the Scots could do just as well. It was a lineout in the corner, the rumbling, rolling maul and then the player in midfield getting the try as wing Van Der Merwe claimed his second in a melee of bodies.
Weir added the conversion and Glasgow were back in charge at the point it had seemed a wobble was possible.
Ruaridh Jackson came on to add another penalty and those nerves were calmed as Glasgow saw it out to win the game comfortably.
Ospreys: R Fussell; H Dirksen, J Spratt, A Beck, T Grabham; D Biggar, R Webb; D Jones, R Hibbard, A Jarvis, I Gough, I Evans, G Stowers, J Tipuric (Capt), J Bearman. Subs: S Baldwin for Hibbard 61, R Bevington for D Jones 54, J Rees for A Jarvis 54, A W Jones for I Gough 45, S Lewis for G Stowers , K Fotuali’I for Webb 54, M Morgan for Fussell 70, A Bishop for Spratt .
Glasgow: P Murchie; T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH Van Der Merwe; D C Weir, C Cusiter; R Grant, D Hall, M Cusack, T Ryder, A Kellock (Capt), J Eddie, C Fusaro, J Barclay. Subs: F Gillies for Hall 58, G Hunter for Cusack 76, G Reid for Grant 40, A Ashe for Ryder , A MacDonald for Barclay 67 , H Pyrgos for Cusiter 12, R Jackson for Weir 58, S Lamont for Horne 54.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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