Glasgow Warriors edge game Lions
SA team shows improvement but they still fall short in their URC clash
Feisty and full of fight in the second half, the Lions still came up short in their United Rugby Championship clash against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.
The Warriors held on to a 13-9 win in an error strewn match played in testing conditions.
The Lions did incredibly well to stay in the contest and was in fact in a position to take the lead deep in the second half but their penalty attempt drifted wide.
It was the Lions second defeat of their tour after their opening day win over Zebre in Parma.
The Warriors led 10-6 at the break but the second half became an arm wrestle in wet and slippery conditions.
With the game destined to become a tighter affair in the second half the hosts would have been bitterly disappointed to be only four points up at the break. They had the lions' share of territory and possession and it were they who created several clear cut opportunities in that period. They were wasteful and it helped keep the Lions in the contest.
The Warriors made line breaks but a lack of accuracy in their passing and support play meant they could not make the advances on the scoreboard commensurate with their dominance in territory and possession.
Slippery conditions made the second half a lottery
In fact, shortly after the break the Lions closed the gap to just one point when EW Viljoen added a third penalty for the visitors.
If there was one area where the Lions had the upper hand it was at the scrum. It got them out of some tight spots but it was never a platform from which they could properly launch. Still, Carlu Sadie, Jannie du Plessis and Sti Sithole were superb in that facet.
Elementary errors blighted the Lions performance from the outset. Outside centre Manny Ras tackled a player that was still airborne before the clock ticked past the minute mark.
From the ensuing touch finding penalty the hosts rumbled into midfield before Jamie Bhatti crashed over near the posts. The Lions however can count themselves unlucky that the try was awarded as there did not appear to be a clear grounding of the ball.
To be fair the hosts too had trouble hanging onto the ball in the opening quarter but they had so much possession their pressure on the visitors was constant.
Their proficiency at the ruck allowed Glasgow to run onto the ball with greater thrust and purpose and all too often they had the Lions' defence at full stretch. The Lions however scrambled well when the hosts went wide but far too often their defences were breached near centrefield.
Scrum gave Lions a foothold
Glasgow however struggled to string sufficient passes together and they could only add another penalty to their score before the halftime whistle.
The Lions warmed to the task in the second half with their scrum giving them a foothold. Scrumhalf Andre Warner was influential on the back foot and going forward, while Vincent Tshituka's industry, as one has come to expect, was immense.
It was the home team however, better schooled at closing out tight contests, that held on for the win.
The Lions travel to Belfast next for their clash Ulster next weekend.
Warriors (13) — Try: Jamie Bhatti. Conversion: Ross Thompson. Penalties: Thompson (2).
Lions (9) — Penalties: EW Viljoen (3).