Wild West blows Connacht off course again

Glasgow are not the first team to come to Galway and deal better with the wind and rain than the home team, but new coach Kieran Keane was anxious not to blame the weather for losing their opening game of the season to the same opposition for the second year in a row.

Wild West blows Connacht off course again

Guinness PRO14

CONNACHT ............12

GLASGOW..............18

Connacht didn’t do enough when they had the elements in the opening half and a 9-3 interval lead never looked like being enough to get the new coach’s era off to a winning start.

At least, unlike last year, they picked up a losing bonus point and the crowd of 4,017, who endured horrendous weather in the exposed stadium with such basic facilities, will feel there is obviously a lot more to come when they are able to run the ball and not have the climate making a complete lottery of trying to execute the basic skills.

However, as Keane pointed out afterwards, the weather was the same for both teams and he will be looking for an immediate response when they entertain the Southern Kings next weekend. Indeed, with three of their opening four matches at home — that’s 30% of their matches in the new Pro14 — they can’t afford too many slip-ups.

It’s hard to argue with a two tries to nil result, but what will pain Connacht during the review is that both scores came off Glasgow scrums which were conceded when wingers Cian Kelleher and Matt Healy dropped clearances under no pressure.

“The fact is, both teams had to play in it and one team played far superior in terms of the handling and the way they handled the conditions,” said Keane. “They played a fair bit smarter and they got good reward with a couple of soft tries. We have got to look at things.

“We have a bit of work to do. We will have to pick the boys up again. They have been really good throughout the fortnight that we have been playing pre-season. There has been a good buzz, but now they will be a little bit down. We have to pick them up first.”

Three Jack Carty penalties were not enough reward for Connacht’s efforts in the opening half, but their scrum and lineout were both struggling and that allowed Glasgow absorb a lot of pressure.

The extent of the wind was apparent in Peter Horne’s first penalty attempt after 10 minutes, which failed to reach the posts from little more than 15 metres.

The Glasgow out-half then cancelled Carty’s second-minute effort, but from there on it was Connacht who enjoyed the bulk of possession.

However, a TMO decision went against new flanker Jarrad Butler, while captain John Muldoon was whistled back when he tapped and dived over.

Glasgow wasted little time in hitting the front after the restart, with a Horne penalty narrowing the gap and then scrum-half Ali Price was put through by Horne after a good move off a scrum to lead by 13-9 after 49 minutes.

Carty did well to pull back a penalty into the teeth of the wind to leave a point between them going into the final quarter, but another mistake was ruthlessly punished when Price’s Crossfield kick was fed back inside by Leo Sarto for Lee Jones to get the clinching score.

Scorers for Connacht:

J Carty 4 pens.

Scorers for Glasgow Warriors:

A Price, L Jones tries; P Horne 2 pens, con.

CONNACHT:

Leader; C Kelleher, E Griffin, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; U Dillane, J Cannon; E Masterson, J Butler, J Muldoon.

Replacements:

S O’Brien for Masterson (50), T Farrell for Griffin (50), C Carey for Bealham (56), C Ronaldson for Carty (71).

GLASGOW WARRIORS:

R Jackson; L Masaga, A Dunbar, S Johnson, L Jones; P Horne, A Price; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson; T Swinson, S Cummings; R Wilson, M Smith, A Ashe.

Replacements:

A Hastings for Johnson (8), O Kebble for Bhatti (38), Bhatti for Kebble (40), Kebble for Bhatti (46) L Sarto for Hastings (58), M Fagerson for Smith (61), J Malcolm for Turner (73), G Peterson for Swinson (73), H Pyrgos for Price (73).

Referee:

Ben Whitehouse (WRU).

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