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Scarlets 35 Glasgow 10: Warrirors’ winning run comes to crunching end

A RUN of five league wins came to a crunching end as Glasgow dominated most of the first half before sliding to a heavy defeat in a one-sided second half.

Refereeing decisions, injuries and illness went against them, but also mistakes crept in as the home side suddenly got their dander up and went on the rampage after the break – there is no other way of describing it.

The result severely damaged Glasgow’s top two hopes in the United Rugby Championship, also a third heavy defeat on the road following Exeter and Leinster which may also be a cause of concern – possibly with some mitigating circumstances in the background.

Wilson pointed towards the quality of the Scarlets once they got into their stride, along with non-Covid illness which saw three key players, Jack Dempsey, Sam Johnson and Fraser Brown, leaving the field as the match wore on to be sick on the sidelines.

“I’m still trying to work out what happened a little bit,” admitted coach Danny Wilson after the game. “It was not like us, we have gone well recently and it was a second-half collapse.

“There was poor execution in the second half combined with good play from the Scarlets, along with illness and injury with having to make a whole host of changes.

“The week has led to that a little bit but we felt in the first half we were in control but did not get enough points for the pressure we had before half time.

“There were a couple of decisions. There was the five metre line before half time where we got done for a long arm delivery at the maul, they go down the other end and score, then the disallowed try, they go down the other end and score.

“So there were huge swings in the game and then we were, brutally, dreadful after that with 14 turnovers in the second half versus three in the first half.

“We could go back over the lineout and every lineout delivery would be the same, that has not been refereed or no-one has said anything to me. If that’s the law we will have to learn from that, while the replay probably showed a reasonable decision for the other one though Ryan Wilson was not trying to obstruct.”

Glasgow dominated the early exchanges and demonstrated their intent by turning down kicks at goal to go for the corner.

Once they got their lineout throw right, the drive followed naturally and powerfully – cantering over the line as though in a training exercise with hooker Johnny Matthews getting the ball down over the line for the try.

When the Scarlets returned the favour and turned down kickable penalties of their own to go for the corner, the Glasgow defence was equally strong and they were able to snuff out the home side’s drives before earning a penalty to clear their lines.

Having established that early dominance Glasgow were happy to extend their lead when they next had a kickable penalty, outside half Duncan Weir adding a penalty to his earlier conversion.

Glasgow would have expected to extend that lead before half-time, trying and failing with another lineout drive which fell foul of the referee, but it was the Scarlets who narrowed the gap against the run of play.

As the clock ticked towards the half-time mark the Scarlets enjoyed their best period of pressure, with lineout ball going from outside half Rhys Patchell back inside to scrum half Gareth Davies who burst through a gap to give the scoring pass to right wing Steff Evans.

Patchell added the extras to make the gap just three points at the break and give the Glasgow coaching team and players some head-scratching to do in the changing rooms.

Those heads would have been scratched even more early in the second half as Scarlets flanker Dan Davis made a half break, creating space for Evans to make ground and give a scoring pass back inside to centre Scott Williams. Patchell again converted and the game was turned on its head.

When Glasgow did strike back, an excellent break by full back Ollie Smith putting scrum half Jamie Dobie over the line, it was ruled out by an extremely pedantic decision.

Glasgow No 8 Ryan Wilson had an arm out in the way of Scarlets and Scotland flanker Blade Thomson. It did not seem to affect the play, but instead the Scarlets were given the penalty on half way.

Patchell put it into the corner and from the lineout scrum half Gareth Davies jinked his way over to make it a 14 point swing on a marginal decision.

No such excuses as the Scarlets got their bonus point try, their growing threat summed up by winning the ball through a counter ruck and then spreading it across the field with No 8 Sione Kalamafoni finishing off.

Another flowing move saw left wing Ryan Conbeer rubbing salt in the Glasgow wounds.

Scarlets: T Rogers; S Evans, J Williams (J Roberts 68), S Williams (capt), R Conbeer; R Patchell (S Costello ), G Davies (D Blacker 71); S Thomas (K Mathias 72), D Hughes (M Jones 70), S Lee (H O’Connor 72), S Lousi, J Price (A Shingler 40), B Thomson (C Tuipolotu 65), D Davis, S Kalamafoni.

Glasgow: O Smith (Johnson 71); J McKay, K Steyn, S Johnson (S McDowall 60), C Forbes (J Lenac 71); D Weir (R Thompson 65), J Dobie; O Kebble (M Walker 9), J Matthews (F Brown 48), S Berghan (E McQuillin 74), K McDonald, R Harley (R Gray 48), R Wilson (capt), A Miller, J Dempsey (T Gordon 48).

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU).

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