Gray revels in Glasgow win
November 13, 2011
Glasgow's Richie Gray seizes a lineout ball against Bath © PA Photos
Richie Gray was thrilled to score the match-winning try in Glasgow's Heineken Cup Pool Three 26-21 defeat of Bath at the end of a week in which he announced he is to leave the Warriors.
The Scotland second-row will join Sale Sharks at the end of the season, but demonstrated his commitment to the Warriors' cause with the score which sent Glasgow to the top of the table ahead of next week's trip to Dublin, where defending champions Leinster lie in wait.
Gray said: "Duncan (Weir) went for the drop goal, I saw there was a touch on it and it was the bounce of a rugby ball - right place at the right time. The main focus was to give everything in a Warriors shirt while I'm still here. That is the focus for me and that's the way I'll always be."
Gray's stoppage-time effort upstaged the debut of Bath's World Cup-winning fly-half Stephen Donald. Donald had kicked the visitors into a 21-19 lead after 79 minutes after replacing Tom Heathcote, who had a 100% record from six penalties.
But Gray, who reached the ball ahead of team-mate Rob Harley after Weir's drop-goal attempt was blocked, ensured Donald's first appearance since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks beat France in Auckland three weeks ago ended on a losing note. Weir kicked the conversion to take his personal tally to 16, while fullback Stuart Hogg also scored a try for the hosts.
Warriors head coach Sean Lineen said: "I'm delighted for Richie, a great try. The drop goal was quite far away and it was a fortuitous bounce but I think Bath had been offside about four phases in a row and they got away with murder there.
"The guys never gave up. There was a real desire there."
After seeing his side take a third successive English scalp at home - Bath following Gloucester and London Wasps to defeat - and a fifth successive win, Lineen is relishing the trip to Dublin.
"We beat them in the (RaboDirect) Pro12 when both teams were without their World Cup players," he said. "We know how to win over there, but it's going to be a slightly different atmosphere and reason for winning."
Bath must now bounce back when they meet Montpellier at the Rec next weekend. Backs and defence coach Brad Davis said: "We're bitterly disappointed to lose it at the death.
"After applying a fair bit of pressure, 15, 20 minutes without coming away with a score, we got a tad frustrated and started to try and force things. There were a few unforced errors that crept into our game and we probably let Glasgow off the hook a little bit.
"But you don't have too much time in this competition to feel sorry for yourselves. You've got to pick yourselves up and move on. We're going to have to step it up."
England international Matt Banahan was slated to start at centre, but withdrew after suffering a thigh problem during the warm-up. Davis, who denied Bath had been in the running to sign Gray, added: "That hurt us a little bit in terms of our punch going forward in the midfield."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton