It was a tale of two halves for Glasgow University. After a promising first period they were lacking structure and discipline as they were out muscled by a physical Napier side in miserable rain and sludge at the Garscube.
It was a real grudge match between the two teams as they sparred for the first time since their last game was overshadowed by an off-field scuffle between the two side’s benches. The air of tension was heightened as the early exchanges were spattered with insults flying as many of the players became embroiled in an on-field slagging match.
The game started promisingly for Glasgow, controlling the game deep in Napier territory and dominating the away side up front and in the tackle despite the visitors very noticeable size advantage.
There was also some very nice ball carrying from number 8 Robbie Shedden and flanker Richard Murdoch with, some good deep runs from the fullback Scott Mckean, who repeatedly broke the game line, driving his team forward through the treacherous conditions.
It must be said despite the majority of first half being played within Napier’s territory; Glasgow never made the best of their opportunities. A smart grubber kick from Glasgow scrumhalf Guy Fairburn almost released Sean Thompsonbut unluckily the ball just slipped out of the makeshift winger’s grasp.
Glasgow seemed to lack composure at the crucial moments. They seemed to miss their regular fly-half Andrew Warnock’s decision making and creativity with the distribution of the ball.
The half ended, 3-0 to Glasgow after a converted penalty. The Glasgow lads agitated they weren’t a couple tries up based on their dominance in the first half but were confident they could work out the kinks after the break.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It became apparent throughout the second half that Glasgow were struggling in the conditions and failed to capitalise on any chances or overlaps. This played into the hands of the bigger Napier pack and in the muddy conditions they were able to exploit their size advantage to gradually turn the game in their favour.
In the second half no one seemed on the right page and sloppy distribution and play, prompted injured fly half Andrew Warnock to state, “it’s going sour.”
A few converted penalties by the Napier fly-half later and it seemed the injured fly half’s prophecy was becoming increasingly truer.
The game was marred be several controversial refereeing decisions, with the man in the middle making a number of dubious calls in favour of the away side. A poor decision on the position of a Napier penalty kick saw the Knights gain a lineout five meters from the Glasgow try line. One missed tackle later, and the Napier number 9 was able to touch down for an easily converted try.
As it got deeper into second half, it became Glasgow clear lacked the composure and structure to haul themselves back into the game. They started to lose their heads as they continued to concede silly penalties and make elementary errors.
All hope for a late rally was dashed when the Napier number 9 practically strolled to the Glasgow try-line after.more missed tackles. It must be noted that his try was aided by dirty play in the ruck from the Knight’s forwards missed by the referee, but it was a score that seemed inevitable considering the state of play.
The game ended fittingly with Glasgow ending in a manner that sadly reflected their second half performance: with a sloppy error that was booted gleefully into touch by the Napier number 10.
Although, it was a disheartening second half performance from the Glasgow team they can rally knowing if they can replicate their first half performance with a bit more consistency and luck, they have a great chance of getting a first win of the season when they travel away to Stirling in their upcoming match
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