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Diarmuid Kilgallen dives over to score under pressure. Ben Brady/INPHO
United Rugby Championship

Connacht continue perfect start to URC season with victory over Glasgow

Connacht were 34-26 winners against a Glasgow side which featured a host of Scotland’s World Cup squad.

Connacht 34

Glasgow Warriors 26

John Fallon reports from the Sportsground

CONNACHT CHALKED UP their second win in a row in the URC but will be disappointed not to have secured a bonus point in the process after another good performance.

The final scoreline was identical to their 34-26 win over Ospreys last weekend but this time they only managed three tries, with 19 points coming from the tee.

But with their three World Cup players to come back into the squad, head coach Pete Wilkins will be pleased with the start to his reign at the Sportsground.

Connacht had 62% possession in the opening half but went in trailing by three tries to one on a 19-14 scoreline as Glasgow Warriors made the most of some poor defending from limited opportunities.

Connacht knew they would face a battle against a Glasgow squad featuring eight of Scotland’s World Cup squad — along with Tongan flanker Sione Vailanu — but 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.

cian-prendergast-is-tackled-by-rory-darge-and-zander-fagerson Cian Prendergast is tackled by Rory Darge and Zander Fagerson. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

Connacht hit back four minutes later and a good break by Tom Farrell 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 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 Tom Jordan cantered his way through for their 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 minutes set them on their way, with Forde converting taking over the kicking duties after Hanrahan suffered a knee injury landing awkwardly.

cathal-forde-takes-a-kick Cathal Forde took over kicking duties from the injured JJ Hanrahan. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

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 the 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 Jamie Dobie getting in for a late try to secure a bonus point at the death with their fourth try.

Scorers for Connacht:

  • Tries: Kilgallen (2), Tierney-Martin.
  • Cons: Forde (2 from 2) Hanrahan (0 from 1). 
  • Pens: Hanrahan (3 from 3), Forde (2 from 2)

Scorers for Glasgow Warriors:

Tries: Rowe, Jordan, Dobie, penalty try.Cons: Horne (1 from 2), Weir (1 from 1)

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran (Colm Reilly ‘75); Byron Ralston, Tom Farrell (Liam McNamara ‘41), Cathal Forde, Diarmuid Kilgallen; JJ Hanrahan, Caolin Blade (c); Denis Buckley (Peter Dooley ‘60), Dylan Tierney-Martin (Tadgh McElroy ‘16), Jack Aungier (Dominic Robertson-McCoy ‘50); Niall Murray (Oisín Dowling ‘52), Joe Joyce (Darragh Murray ‘61); Cian Prendergast, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Jarrad Butler (Conor Oliver ‘63).

Glasgow Warriors: Josh McKay; Kyle Rowe, Huw Jones, Stafford McDowall, Kyle Steyn (c) (Jamie Dobie ‘38); Tom Jordan (Duncan Weir ‘75), George Horne; Oli Kebble (Nathan McBeth ‘59), Angus Fraser (Johnny Matthews ‘43), Zander Fagerson (Lucio Sordoni ‘60); Scott Cummings, Richie Gray (Greg Peterson ‘60); Gregor Brown (Rory Darge ‘43), Sione Vailanu (Ally Miller ‘62), Henco Venter.

Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)

Written by John Fallon 

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