Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend said he wanted to look at the 47th-minute red card shown to recent signing Brian Alainu’uese before expressing an opinion on a moment which proved a turning point in last night’s 22-5 loss to Ospreys at Scotstoun – the Warriors’ fourth defeat in this season’s Guinness Pro12 campaign.
With understrength Glasgow trailing 5-0, the TMO Olly Hodges alerted Irish referee George Clancy to a challenge by the Auckland-born Samoa Under-20 international lock, who was judged to have made contact with the head of Ospreys lock Rory Thornton with his shoulder at a ruck.
Townsend said: “I don’t want to comment on the decision until I’ve had a proper look at it. Obviously it was a big moment losing a player in a game that was always going to be tight and a player who is so important in lineout and scrums.
“I’m always disappointed when we lose and when we lose at home it’s disappointing for the crowd. We didn’t have a lot of ball.”
Glasgow had 18 players unavailable due to international duty (14 with Scotland) to the Ospreys’ nine and the game got under way in bitterly cold conditions at Scotstoun.
The Welsh visitors dominated the early territory and possession, forcing the first scoring chance in the 12th minute when Glasgow were penalised by Clancy for not rolling away. However, Fiji stand-off Josh Matavesi was badly wayward with what looked an eminently kickable opportunity.
Left-wing Lee Jones had the best attack for the home side and Adam Nicol, the 19-year-old tighthead prop, came on for his first first-team appearance as a blood replacement for D’arcy Rae. Nicol’s senior career couldn’t have got off to a better start than forcing a scrum penalty out of 66-cap Wales veteran Paul James.
The deadlock was final broken in the 37th minute as Glasgow were left to rue a comic cuts loss of possession as they were pressing in the Ospreys’ half. Several chances to reclaim the ball went abegging and Ospreys pounced with a kick and chase which saw the TMO controversially judge that visiting scrum-half Tom Habberfield just beat Nick Grigg to the touch despite TV replays appearing inconclusive. Matavesi missed the conversion but the Welsh went in with a deserved lead after a low-key, poor quality half.
The red card seven minutes into the second half came as a punch to the home side’s solar plexus and the second unconverted try wasn’t long in coming as Matavesi’s accurate crossfield kick was gathered by sub winger Tom O’Flaherty in the right corner.
The Ospreys were unstoppable now and more tries followed from Dan Baker, though Matavesi’s shocking night with the boot continued as he contrived to hit the post from bang in front.
Centre Ashley Beck stepped inside to coast over for the bonus-point try and finally Matavesi got a conversion.
Replacement wing Junior Bulumakau got a late consolation score for Glasgow in the left-hand corner.