SCRUM Web Columnist ‘The Pen’ looks ahead to Glasgow Warriors’ European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final this Sunday:
What more can you say about someone like Sean Lamont? He’s got over 100 caps for Scotland, he’s got the body of an Adonis and in a week when he made the headlines for his impending retirement, he scores a peach of a try that suggests there is still plenty of life left in the old dog yet.
It was a joy to be at Scotstoun on Saturday in the sunshine and being there to watch a cracker of a game made it all the better.
Watching with a cold Guinness in hand, it was the Irishmen who started the game on a mission and they took the game straight to the Warriors from the kick-off.
Glasgow had two touches of the ball in the first five minutes and found themselves behind! Connacht were at times a joy to watch as they attacked, attacked and attacked Glasgow at will, often from their own ‘22’.
The Warriors just about managed to keep Connacht contained and thanks to some lovely play by Stuart Hogg and then a serious of attacking phases, Corey Flynn bundled himself over the line. The lead only lasted for a short time before Connacht waltzed their way through the Warriors defence and talismanic captain John Muldoon gave them the half-time advantage.
What was worse was that the Warriors butchered two chances with poor passes that would have had them comfortably in the lead.
Finn Russell continued his good form to score and get the Warriors back in the game (sadly I chose this moment to go for a pie!) and then the Warriors took control and it was largely thanks to a brawl. A clothesline on Peter Horne sent Sean Lamont in to defend his team mate and Scotstoun erupted into an all-out battle.
With Connact’s Jack Carty sent to the bin for that ‘tackle’, Ali Price took control and the Warriors were suddenly on the verge of a bonus point victory. Of course, nothing this season is that easy and soon there was a red card for Tim Swinson.
At first, I was absolutely incredulous as I couldn’t see the incident, but thanks to Twitter, I was soon sent a replay of the incident and the swinging arm connecting with the head of the Connacht players was only ever going to be a red.
Cometh the moment, cometh the man Lamont and he bludgeoned his way over and into the corner. It was a vintage moment as Sean rolled back the years and the bonus point that came with the try could still be very important in the context of the season.
So now the Warriors roll on to Allianz Park on Sunday and a meeting with the current European Champions and one of the biggest games in the Warriors history.
I didn’t see Sarries demolition of Bath at the weekend (maybe that’s just as well really), but it sounds like they were an unstoppable force.
This game has all the hallmarks and all the lead characters to be a truly superb game. Brown v George, Gray v Itoje, Russell v Farrell and Seymour v Ashton are titanic battles and ones that will undoubtedly shape the outcome of the game.
Saracens are an absolutely outstanding side and they play a style of rugby that is tough, unforgiving and at times mesmerising to watch. They have a never say die attitude and have come back several times this season from what looked like certain defeat to snatch victory. They also have Warriors old boys Sean Maitland and Kelly Brown plus big Jim Hamilton and Duncan Taylor.
On paper, you’d have to favour the champions as they have far more European experience in the knock-out stages than we do, but write Glasgow off at your peril. This side has played some of its best rugby in Europe this season and look what they did to Leicester on their patch!
I cannot wait to get down there on Sunday and roar the boys on.
Thankfully I booked the Monday off work, partly because it’s going to be a long day, and partly because the celebrations could go well into the night…
Thanks to David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the photo
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