Lyon 22-42 Glasgow Warriors: Glasgow boost knockout hopes

Glasgow scrum half Ali Price. Pic: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Glasgow scrum half Ali Price. Pic: Stu Forster/Getty Images
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Anything you can do… After Edinburgh beat the Falcons on Friday night Glasgow did the double for Scottish pro-teams with this bonus point victory over Lyon in France. Glasgow now top pool 3, at least until Sarries play Cardiff today.

The French team are without a win in this competition so far despite sitting in fourth place in the league after 11 rounds of the Top 14.

Lyon looked dangerous and might have pushed Glasgow a bit closer had their finishing matched some of their approach work. Instead they played into the visitors’ hands by attacking from all corners, playing a little too fast and loose which only offered encouragement to the Warriors’ defence. Glasgow’s fourth try was the direct result of an intercepted pass as Lyon attempted to run the ball out of defence.

This was occasionally a tetchy, ill-disciplined contest that only delivered on its abundant promise in a busy second half, which produced five of the eight tries scored on the day. There were numerous little bust-ups and, not for the first time, Glasgow conceded a few too many dumb penalties.

George Horne was the smallest player on the pitch and still towered head and shoulders above almost everyone else. The little scrum-half won the man of the match award after setting up Glasgow’s first try and scoring their second. On both occasions he found acres of space at the side of the breakdown where Lyon’s pillar or post (I can never remember the difference) had gone AWOL.

Adam Ashe scored the first and the last tries for Glasgow and might have won the MOTM award had they delayed the decision. Every Glasgow forward will be bruised.

The best of the visitors’ scores went to George Horne and it came at an opportune time. Just before the break Nick Grigg made a line break deep in the Glasgow half. He had two Hornes to choose from, Peter to his left, George to the right, and he probably took the wrong option as Stuart Hogg was forced to tread water for Peter’s wayward pass to reach him. It seemed like the chance had gone but following a lineout and some good pick and drives that took play up to the Lyon line, George nipped through another gap at the side of the breakdown to dot down Glasgow’s second.

Two converted tries and two penalties gave Glasgow a 20-10 lead at the break and the match burst into life after the interval.

The Horne brothers almost carved out another try but Peter’s pass to George was a little too hot to hold. Instead Adam Hastings kicked Glasgow’s third penalty and, after Toby Arnold had bagged the first, Lyon scored their second try.

Ali Price replaced George Horne, and with Glasgow pressing hard Jonny Gray’s pass fell behind George Turner and was snapped up instead by Lionel Beauxis who kicked long. Grigg was first back but Beauxis was on him in an instant, winning the penalty for not releasing and moving the ball quickly left for Noa Nakaitaci to score in the corner even while Glasgow were claiming a penalty themselves for failing to allow Grigg to get to his feet.

If that one went against them, the match officials’ next decision favoured the visitors. Hogg was racing Charl McLeod to reach Peter Horne’s grubber kick behind the line and gave the substitute scrum-half a little nudge in the back. The TMO awarded the try anyway.

Just minutes later Glasgow banked the bonus when Hastings intercepted deep inside the Lyon half, dummied out and passed inside to Huw Jones who had only just come off the bench. It was the centre’s first touch of the ball and it put this match beyond doubt.

Tim Swinson was carded 15 minutes after coming off the bench for a tackle on McLeod who had tapped a quick penalty and gone for the line. Siua Halanukonuka was fortunate not to join him after clashing heads with Adrien Seguret. McLeod eventually got his score and Lyon’s third try of the afternoon, 15 minutes from time, brought the crowd back to life.

The fightback proved short-lived. Instead Ashe finished an excellent afternoon’s work with his second try, Glasgow’s fifth, from the back of a set scrum with just minutes left on the clock.