Glasgow Warriors earn praise from Franco Smith as late try earns bonus point in defeat at Connacht
Warriors led 19-14 at the break but Connacht dominated after the restart even if they failed to get a try bonus point. Warriors kept battling away and ensured they did not leave empty-handed when Jamie Dobie got over in the closing stages after a patient build-up as the game ended 34-26 to the hosts.
“I think we went something like 30 phases to get that bonus point try at the end,” said Smith. “The equipment is there, experience is something you have got to experience. It’s not something I can tell them. I knew it would take a special effort to come and beat Connacht here.
“A lot of teams are going to come here and lose, so I’m not that concerned about the loss. I think there are things that we can adjust and do better and that’s part of the growth of the group.”
Warriors came into the game with eight of Scotland’s World Cup squad — along with Tongan flanker Sione Vailanu — while Connacht were without their three Irish internationals who featured in France.
Connacht had 62 per cent possession in the opening half but went in trailing by three tries to one on a 19-14 scoreline as Glasgow made the most of some poor defending from limited opportunities.
It was Connacht who got on top from the outset and three penalties from JJ Hanrahan in the opening 15 minutes eased them into a 9-0 lead and they looked set to pull away.
But from the restart after the third penalty, Cathal Forde, who had started so impressively, failed to control Tom Jordan’s kick and it bounced kindly into the path of Kyle Rowe and the Scottish international crowned his Glasgow debut with a try which George Horne converted on their first visit inside the 22.
Connacht hit back four minutes later and a good break by Tom Daly created the opening and scrum-half Caolin Blade threaded a grubber which Diarmuid Kilgallen chased to score in the left corner.
Glasgow started to build the phases and their second visit to the red zone also yielded a try with referee Adam Jones awarding a penalty try and binning Connacht No.8 Jarrad Butler for side-entry as Warriors pounded towards the home line after a lineout penalty to the left corner.
That tied the game at 14-14 and when the Connacht scrum, with centre Forde stepping in for Butler, superbly defended four resets five metres from their line before Glasgow tighthead Zander Fagerson was pinged for wheeling, it seemed they would go in level at the break.
But Connacht conceded a sloppy try before the break when they failed to defend an attacking lineout and out-half Jordan cantered his way through for the visitors’ third try.
Connacht regained the initiative after the restart and a try from hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin after a few surges from a lineout after 47 set them on their way, with Forde converting taking over the kicking duties after Hanrahan suffered a knee injury landing awkwardly.
Two penalties from the left boot of Forde pushed the lead out to 27-19 after 58 minutes before Kilgallen wrapped up the issue when he intercepted a pass from Jordan inside halfway — although it took a few views from officials before deeming his one-handed touchdown was legitimate. Forde’s conversion made it 34-19 with 19 minutes remaining.
Connacht never looked like getting the try bonus point despite having the game in the bag and it was Glasgow who finished the stronger with Dobie getting in for a late try to secure a bonus point at the death with their fourth try.
Connacht: T O’Halloran; B Ralston, T Farrell, C Forde, D Kilgallen; JJ Hanrahan, C Blade (c); D Buckley, D Tierney-Martin, J Aungier; N Murray, J Joyce; C Prendergast, S Hurley-Langton, J Butler.
Replacements: T McElroy (for D Tierney-Martin 16), L McNamara (for T Farrell 41), D Robertson-McCoy (for J Aungier 50), O Dowling (for N Murray 52), P Dooley (for D Buckley 60), D Murray (for J Joyce 61), C Oliver (for J Butler 63), C Reilly (for T O’Halloran 75).
Scorers: Tries: D Kilgallen (2), D Tierney-Martin. Cons: C Forde (2). Pens: JJ Hanrahan (3), C Forde (2).
Yellow card: J Butler (25)
Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; K Rowe, H Jones, S McDowall, K Steyn (c); T Jordan, G Horne; O Kebble, A Fraser, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, R Gray; G Brown, S Vailanu, H Venter.
Replacements: J Dobie (for K Steyn 38), J Matthews (for A Fraser 43), R Darge (for G Brown 43), N McBeth (for O Kebble 59), L Sordoni (for Z Fagerson 60), G Peterson (for R Gray 60), A Miller (for S Vailanu 62), D Weir (for T Jordan 75).
Scorers: Tries: K Rowe, T Jordan, J Dobie, penalty try. Con: G Horne (1), D Weir (1).
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
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