So, when, midway through the second half of this pre-season match at The Twickenham Stoop, the Quins’ support was reduced to pleading with their heroes to: “Come on Quins”, the good smattering of Scots in the ground knew how well Glasgow were playing.
Sadly, the visitors just failed to see out the match for victory. Nevertheless, Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend emerged from this game with more positives than opposite number Conor O’Shea.
Glasgow recovered from a slow start to take charge and, given that Townsend relied on his younger and fringe players, whereas O’Shea fielded almost a full-strength squad, this one goes down as yet another “if only” tale from Twickenham.
“Glasgow are a very good side”, admitted O’Shea afterwards. “We had a good opening 20 minutes, then our momentum slowed, which is tribute to how well they played. Both sides like to run the ball and, maybe, Glasgow suffered more than us from trying to play rugby in their own 22, but they gave us a terrific work-out”.
Townsend was equally happy with his side’s display. “They are top-quality opposition, well-drilled, but, once we got into our stride, we more than matched them in fitness and creativity,” he said.
“The greasy ball meant it was never going to be a great running game, but we defended well, we gave a few players a taste of rugby at this level and, for the likes of Finn Russell, Will Bordill and Jonny Gray, who did magnificently to play the full 80 minutes, and looks better the more he plays at this level, this was great experience.
Quins’ superb start produced tries for Nick Easter and Ugo Moyne, the first converted by Nick Evans. Then, Glasgow got into the game and, with Mark Bennett and Richie Vernon prominent, took command. Vernon put Byron McGuigan over for a try, converted by the impressive Scott Wight, who added a penalty and it was 12-10 at the break.
Sean Lamont’s introduction at half-time kept Glasgow going forward, Wight goaled two penalties to put the visitors ahead, then hit the upright with a third.
Back came Quins and, after Glasgow withstood some fierce forward pressure, replacement Matt Hopper ran a terrific line to crash over for their third try, converted by Ben Botica, to complete the scoring.