Bath Rugby open European campaign with defeat to Glasgow

Bath Rugby suffered a 37-10 defeat at the hands of Guinness Pro12 high-flyers Glasgow Warriors in the opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup this afternoon.

The free-flowing nature of both teams was evident from the off-set, and although a penalty from George Ford after three minutes gave the visitors an early lead, it was Glasgow who crossed the try-line first.

A break down the left wing from Tommy Seymour gave the Warriors a strong position from which to attack. They drew the defence in tight before spinning the ball to Mark Bennett who was in support in the midfield. The centre jinked his way through and touched down between the posts. Duncan Weir added the conversion. 7-3.

But the Glasgow lead was short-lived. A strong lineout from Bath saw Ford send the ball high into the air to test the back three. Stuart Hogg failed to gather the ball, and the on-coming Jonathan Joseph was on hand to hack ahead and score. Ford added the extras. 10-3.

With just under a quarter of the game played pressure from Glasgow led to two quick penalties against the visitors. Weir sent both through the posts, swinging the scoreboard back into the Warriors' favour.

The home side capitalised on the shift in momentum. A well taken high ball saw play shifted quickly out wide by Glasgow, spreading the Bath defence and allowing the international duo of Sean Maitland and Stuart Hogg to combine. Hogg drew the last man in defence and offloaded to Maitland who powered over the line. 18-10.

A free-kick awarded at the scrum in Bath's 22 and some quick-thinking from Henry Pyrgos led to the next score for the home side. The scrum-half tapped and went, sniping away from the base of the scrum. His pass found the ever-dangerous Seymour who flew over in the corner, just managing to dot the ball down despite the powerful hit of Semesa Rokoduguni. Weir missed the conversion, but the try meant his side took a 13 point lead into the half-time break.

Half-time: Glasgow Warriors 23 – Bath Rugby 10.

The home side, roused by their vocal sell-out crowd, started the second-half in much the same fashion. They thought they'd scored in the corner through Chris Fusaro moments after the kick-off, only for the TMO to rule the score out for a knock-on.

The decision seemed to give Bath some go forward, and scything runs from both Ford and Anthony Watson took them deep into the Warriors' territory. The Scottish side proved they could defend as well as attack though and prevented Bath from finding their way over the whitewash.

With just over 10 minutes left of the game Bath had been keeping a stranglehold on the Glasgow attack. Fresh impetus for the home side came in the form of replacement Niko Matawalu however, who set-up and scored the bonus point try. A turnover on half-way led to the scrum-half grubbering ahead. Ford gave chase and did his best to get his foot to the bobbling ball, but it refused to sit-up for him, instead falling into the hands of Matawalu, who gathered and scored in the corner. Weir added the conversion. 30-10.

Despite the best efforts of the visitors it was not to be their day, and Glasgow sealed the game with a fifth try. Centre Bennett broke free in the middle of the field, Maitland chipped ahead and Bennett finished off the score for his second of the day. Weir was once more on target with the conversion. 37-10.

Bath kept fighting until the final whistle. Penalties were won at the breakdown and the scrum, but the Glasgow defence stood firm until the ball went loose and brought with it the end of the game.

Final score: Glasgow Warriors 37 – Bath Rugby 10.

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