Glasgow 21-25 Scarlets: Warriors’ valiant fightback falls short

Glasgow came agonisingly close to pulling off an improbable victory last night, but in the end they left themselves with too much to do after a three-try, second-half scoring burst by Scarlets.

Stafford McDowall grabs Glasgow's second try but the hosts couldn't find a winning score. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS Group/SRU

After losing their opening Pro14 fixture so badly in Bloemfontein, the Warriors had hoped that a return to Scotstoun would inspire them to rediscover their best form. It did, eventually, but too late to get anything more than a losing bonus point.

There was little between the sides in the opening 40, in which the defences were on top even if each team squandered a chance to score a try. It was a different matter after the break, however, as the visitors found a ruthless cutting edge that the Warriors had sought in vain, before the home team turned the tables and nearly pulled off an unlikely recovery.

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Two Brandon Thomson penalties and two replies from Dan Jones made the scores level at half-time, with Stafford McDowall and Tom James being the players to fumble with the line at their mercy. Thomson put his team back ahead with the first penalty of the second half, but then Scarlets took control, turning the game on its head with three tries in seven minutes.

First, a wayward kick by Ruaridh Jackson was fielded by James, and the winger put Paul Asquith clear into space. As the defence closed in, Asquith slipped the ball inside to Kieran Hardy, and the scrum-half had the pace to get to the line unhampered. Then Asquith scored himself, finishing off a move which had seen his forwards drive to within feet of the line. Finally, Steff Evans seized on an opening, kicked ahead and won the chase to touch down. With the first two of those tries being converted, Scarlets had gone from three points down to 16 points up, and the game seemed over.

Glasgow had other ideas, however, and there was a glimmer of light when Thomson, pictured, used his outside man as a decoy to drift between two defenders then converted his own score to narrow the deficit to nine points. Then, with six minutes to play, Huw Jones raced down the left and passed inside to McDowall just before he put a foot in touch. The centre scored, and although Thomson was wide with the conversion attempt, Glasgow were soon back on the attack in search of a winning score.

They nearly got it in the last minute when, after Scarlets flanker Josh Macleod had been yellow-carded, they twice kicked a penalty to touch and then drove the lineout. In the end, though, they spilled the ball forwards, giving 
Scarlets a narrow but merited victory.