Glasgow made it two wins from two with a 31-10 success against Ospreys as new coach Dave Rennie enjoyed a positive first home match at the helm.
With both teams missing key personnel, Glasgow still had a little too much pace, power and intent for the visitors who nevertheless hung on to the Warriors’ coat tails for a little longer than coach Dave Rennie would want.
The two teams were tied at the break, the outcome only decided by three second-half scores.
“Ah look,” said Rennie after the match, “I was a little disappointed with the first 40. I thought we were pretty flat.
“They did a good job, they slowed our ball down. We lost a lot of races in the contact area, carried too high, lack of footwork, it’s an important area for us. It was a bit better in the second half but we have a lot of strides to make in that area.”
“There is plenty of character in the group. We made a fair few tackles today but we didn’t have the same line speed or accuracy of last week. Our defence did reward us with a couple of tries but we can be way better. I think the score probably flattered us a bit.”
In the first 40 especially Glasgow’s players seemed a little too eager, trying to score with every phase of play when they might have been better advised go through the gears.
Moreover they were up against a dogged and organised Ospreys defence. For their part Glasgow’s own defence was solid enough. Although it got a little porous at one point in the second half an injection of fresh legs off the bench seemed to cure that problem and fill the gaps.
New signing Kiwi flanker Callum Gibbins made any number of crucial interventions across the field.
He was ably assisted by skipper Ryan Wilson, lock Scott Cummings and the fabulous Fagerson brothers who both jump out of defence to catch the first receiver behind the gain line.
At one stage in the middle of the first half the visitors went through eight, ten, 12 phases and lost perhaps 20 metres in doing so, but they also butchered two clear cut scoring chances to let Glasgow off the hook. The Ospreys’ Canadian winger Jeff Hassler spilled one scoring pass in the first half and centre Kieron Fonotia did the same at the start of the second.
Finn Russell had a mixed return to action, making a few mistakes and struggling to create very much in attack but still sparking Glasgow’s second half surge with some quick thinking as well as kicking five from five off the tee.
There were jitters and a little rust on both sides with Glasgow’s first and third tries coming courtesy of interceptions. Alex Dunbar grabbed the first try and last tries of the match, the first coming when he intercepted a Sam Davies’ pass and beat everyone to the try line from
45 yards out.
Russell converted that score and added another three points off the tee when another Ospreys pass went astray and Ali Price’s run drew the penalty.
Having weathered the early storm the visitors then enjoyed the better of the second quarter, scoring one good try when full-back Dan Evans picked a beautiful line to touch down under the posts.
Davies added a penalty with the last kick of the half to level the scores at the break.
The second half started with a bang when Rory Hughes could have scored twice in quick succession but the first chance went west when he was caught from behind by Keelan Giles and Hughes spilled the ball to spoil the second opportunity although Giles looked to have tackled the Scot early.
Injured in the process, Hughes was replaced by Leo Sarto and the Italian immediately broke the deadlock when Russell took a quick tap penalty and Ruaridh Jackson carried to within yards of the Ospreys line before offloading to the supporting winger who scored.
If that try didn’t decide the game the next one did, and it proved unlucky for Davies who threw his second expensive interception. This one was plucked out the air by Adam Ashe who ran in Glasgow’s third try leaving his side 20 minutes to find the fourth.
The match was delayed while Ospreys’ flanker Olly Cracknell was carted from the field after knocking himself out with a no-arms tackle on Nick Grigg.
Still Glasgow manufactured one last opportunity to grab the bonus point try with a five-metre attacking line-out. Tim Swinson was tackled in the air, Bradley Davies was carded and man of the match Dunbar, returned to the action following a head injury assessment, muscled his way over two minutes from time.