Glasgow dent Wasps' euro hopes
January 15, 2011
Wasps' Tim Payne and Joe Worsley set on Glasgow's Bernardo Stortoni during their clash at the Firhill Arena
© PA Photos
Glasgow derailed Wasps' euro campaign with a well deserved 20-10 victory in their Heineken Cup clash at the Firhill Arena that confirmed Toulouse's place in the quarter-finals.
Wasps were on course for Pool 6 showdown with defending champions Toulouse next weekend after building a 10-6 half-time lead against the run of play thanks to a try from winger Joe Varndell and the boot of fly-half Dave Walder. But Glasgow finally earned due reward for their efforts after the break with a try from scrum-half Colin Gregor with No.10 Ruaridh Jackson steering them home.
Wasps retain a slim chance of progressing to the last eight as one of the best runners up but need a big win against their undefeated French rivals at Adams Park. More realistically their hopes will centre on the Amlin Challenge Cup after they failed to find the form that would warrant a place amongst Europe's elite.
Glasgow began brightly and a high tackle from Wasps' Joe Worsley on fullback Bernardo Stortoni allowed Jackson to open the scores from the kicking tee. But a good tackle from Serge Betsen soon drew a penalty that allowed Walder to level the scores.
The pick and drive brought Glasgow some reward but Wasps found joy with a more expansive approach. A superb snipe from scrum-half Joe Simpson cut through the Glasgow line to lay the platform for the score and his pass found Varndell out wide and the winger had the pace to power into the corner for the opening try. Walder converted for Wasps but Jackson was able to pull three points back for Glasgow when Worsley fell foul of referee James Jones again a couple of minutes later.
The elusive Simpson continued to pose a significant threat but Glasgow's forward-orientated game promised as much. A penalty was kicked to the corner as the hosts looked to exert their muscle in the Wasps' 22 but not for the first time they failed to convert possession and good field position into points.
A strong scrum saw Glasgow secure the ball on the Wasps' 22 but the home side were guilty of kicking possession away all too easily allowing the visitors to snuff out the danger. Wasps were a little more ruthless in their approach but Walder saw an ambitious penalty attempt fall short of the posts towards the end of the half. However, they still went into the break with a four point lead despite having been second best for much of the opening period thanks largely to their rock solid defence.
Glasgow began the second half as they had the first and were rewarded for their efforts when Wasps lock Simon Shaw penalised for knocking the ball from the grasp of Gregor. Jackson stepped up to bring his side to within a point with his third penalty and they had the lead soon after thanks to a moment of magic from winger Colin Shaw.
Wasps had threatened with a multi-phase move but spilled the ball in midfield and were made to pay. The ball was turned over and worked wide to Shaw who cut inside on a great line before making huge gains inside the Wasps half. He was eventually hauled down inside the 22 but still managed to pop the ball to Gregor who claimed an easy score. But Jackson failed to make it a seven-point score with the young fly-half's poor conversion attempt falling wide.
The Wasps backs division enjoyed more of the ball as the game wore on but they continued to labour and when they did generate momentum errors blighted their play. Glasgow had more success in holding onto the ball but their failure to move it quickly was often punished with Worsley often at the heart of Wasps' defensive efforts.
The scrum did little to bring life to proceedings but pressure from Glasgow did draw a penalty that proved to be just outside of Jackson's range. But he was able to atone for his miss within a minute after Worsley had been a little harshly penalised for another high tackle. Glasgow went looking for the kill and when Worsley went off his feet at the breakdown Jackson was offered a simple chance to extend his side's lead but his form deserted him again.
Forced to chase the game as the contest entered the final ten minutes, Wasps raised the tempo but a turnover and an excellent kick chase from Glasgow pressured replacement Richard Haughton into throwing a wild pass dead in goal. Glasgow kept the ball tight from the resulting scrum and used up precious time before Jackson dropped back into the pocket to land a neat drop goal.
Handling errors returned to haunt Wasps as they attempted to conjure an unlikely turnaround and as a result Glasgow claimed a deserved victory to all but end their rivals' Heineken Cup hopes for another season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter