Saracens 56 - 27 Glasgow Warriors: Visitors well beaten in Champions Cup
The Warriors took an early lead but Saracens responded with an immediate score, running in a total of seven tries and running away with this match. If Glasgow can take anything from yesterday it is the distance they have to travel to match the very best.
The visitors had no answer to the power and pace of the two time European Champions with the likes of Brad Barritt, Billy Vunipola and Will Skelton unstoppable bludgeons to accompany the rapiers of David Strettle and Liam Williams, who both bagged a brace of scores.
Glasgow threw themselves a lifeline with twin penalties from the boot of Adam Hastings just before the break but they were overwhelmed in the second half that was so one-sided you half expected a white towel from the Warriors’ bench.
European success is built upon discipline and defence and Glasgow had an abundance of neither. In between the barrage of tries, Alex Lozowski kicked three penalties while the Glasgow defence was stressed out of shape after just two or three phases of Saracens’ attack.
The match started with fireworks, two tries inside the opening five minutes with Glasgow opening the scoring after just 109 seconds.
The Warriors kicked off and Sarries cleared. From the ensuring lineout Glasgow brought Kyle Steyn off his right wing to make the extra man, Hogg injected pace and left winger Rory Hughes popped the ball back inside to Ali Price running the perfect support line. The visitors were 7-0 up while the stragglers were still queueing for hotdogs.
Sarries bounced back almost immediately. Alex Goode, recently promoted to stand-off with Owen Farrell off awaiting the birth of his first child, kicked long. Styen was caught by Sean Maitland and penalised for holding. Sarries kicked to the corner, Glasgow dropped the maul and with a penalty advantage coming their way, Goode kicked high at the posts with Liam Williams rising above all others to claim the hanging kick.
Saracens were looking dangerous but a series of mistakes by Hogg added to the pressure heaped upon the visitors’ heads. The fullback missed touch from a penalty, kicked straight into touch when the ball had been passed back into the 22 and then kicked a restart straight over the sidelines; a trick he repeated in the second half. Glasgow also lost lock Scott Cummings for Jonny Gray as early as the 14th minute.
If the match had been in the balance in the first quarter the home side flexed their muscles and imposed their authority on events thereafter.
David Strettle, only in the side because of Farrell’s absence, scored when Sarries manufactured a two-on-one on the right flank and just four minutes later skipper Brad Barritt found another hole in the Glasgow defence to score Saracens’ third try with relative ease.
Just when it looked like Saracens would run amok, Hastings kicked two penalties to make it 22-13 at the break. It was vital that Glasgow land the first blow in the second half, instead they failed in body and in spirit.
Lozowski extended Sarries’ lead with a 42nd minute penalty and things went downhill quickly from there. Hogg made a try-saving tackle on Jamie George on the right wing but one phase later Williams ran through Kebble’s half-hearted effort to score Sarries’ fourth try.
Strettle then intercepted a pass from Stafford McDowall 40 metres out and no one was going to catch him from that distance, or any other for that matter. Sarries then displayed their power by driving a maul over from short range with George claiming the try.
Glasgow left their fightback fashionably late, not until they were trailing by 49-13 did Hogg’s burst of pace up the right flank carve open a try for replacement George Horne. When he returned the favour Hogg was closed down by replacement Nick Tompkins who had already responded with Saracens’ seventh try of the afternoon.
There was still enough time for Matt Fagerson to score Glasgow’s third try from a lineout drive with the last play of the game, a consolation candy that Glasgow would find difficult to swallow.