Lyon 37-25 Glasgow: Agonising finale for Warriors as semi-final place slips by

Glasgow Warriors completed a disappointing double for Scottish sides when they bowed out of the European Challenge Cup at the Matmut Stadium.

Davit Niniashvili of Lyon dives over to score his side's third try during the ECPR Challenge Cup Quarter Final win over Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

It was an agonising finale for Danny Wilson’s men who held the lead entering the final quarter, only to succumb to a late flurry by Lyon, who will now host Edinburgh’s conquerers, Wasps for a place in the final.

With home advantage and recent good domestic form, Lyon went into the match as favourites, but a gutsy effort by Warriors ensured the French outfit never had an opportunity to dominate proceedings.

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Warriors made the worst possible start, fumbling the kick off and conceding a first minute penalty, which Leo Berdeu clipped over to open the scoring. Buoyed by that, Lyon continued to press and pose difficult questions for the visitors’ defence.

However, there was no addition to the points tally and it was Warriors who struck on the break. Josh McKay sprinted away and chipped ahead. Ali Price and home full back Toby Arnold both failed to gather and McKay was able to gather then sprint over. Ross Thomson added the conversion.

Berdeu was on target with another penalty before Warriors had a spell in the ascendancy that featured two penalty awards in front of the posts, allowing Thompson to add six more points to the tally.

The hosts thought they had converted another spell of pressure into points when Beka Saginadze crashed over. However, the television official intervened to point out a neck roll on Zander Fagerson and the score was disallowed.

The home pack had started to flex its muscles again and the power paid off when a series of pick-and go efforts ended with a penalty. Baptiste Couilloud caught the Warriors napping with a quick tap and go then flopped over, with Berdeu’s conversion restoring parity.

Warriors responded in kind and a break by Johnny Matthews lured the Lyon defence to the right before the ball was spun to the opposite flank with Sam Johnson’s bullet pass picking out McKay who sent Cole Forbes scampering in at the corner. Thompson’s conversion soared over to leave the visitors seven points clear at the interval.

Warriors played smart rugby in the early stages of the second half and they stretched their lead when a powerful drive was foiled illegally and the referee awarded a penalty try.

Berdeu was sent to the sin bin for the offence and he was joined on the sidelines shortly afterwards by Jamie Bhatti who was carded for coming in from the side.

The hosts were enjoying more of the possession and the inevitable try came in 54 minutes when a series of close range efforts ended with Romain Taofifenua crashing over and Jean-Marc Doussin converting.

That raised the pressure on the Warriors defence and it intensified further when Pierre-Louis Barassi sent Davit Niniashvili in at the corner for an unconverted score. Berdeu atoned for that missed kick when he slotted a penalty with ten minutes left to play, nudging his side into a single point lead. And the hosts clinched their place in the last four with three minutes to spare when Doussin chipped ahead and Niniashvili raced through to bag his second score of the evening. Berdeu’s conversion left Warriors needing two scores, a task that was beyond them.


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