Glasgow 35 Connacht 22: Warriors move on to home PRO14 semi with another bonus point win

Alex Dunbar races through for his comeback try at Scotstoun against Connacht.

Glasgow secured their home semi-final in the Guinness PRO14 play-offs and maintained their 100 per cent home record with a bonus point victory over Connacht at Scotstoun.

The Warriors looked slicker and more direct than of late in completing four tries only three minutes into the second half, although with the win secure they fell away alarmingly in the last half-hour of the game, conceding two tries and failing to add any more points.

But there were major plus points for Dave Rennie with Alex Dunbar’s return chief among them, the centre scoring a try and helping set up another, Pete Horne running the show superbly from stand-off and some of the defence was top class.

Stuart Hogg, Fraser Brown and Henry Pyrgos scored the other tries with Horne kicking three conversions and three penalties.

The Warriors will have home advantage for their semi-final having won Conference A despite Munster’s earlier win against the Cheetahs in South Africa.

After a false start conceding a try after barely two minutes, Glasgow were efficient and ruthless in securing the home semi-final they wanted by the half-time break.

The Warriors’ exit from the kick-off went awry and Connacht opted to kick a penalty to the corner, prop Finlay Bealham battling over from the lineout drive but Jack Carty missing the conversion from wide out.

But if the Scotstoun faithful had any doubts, they were dispelled within two minutes as from quick lineout ball DTH van der Merwe came off his wing to take a Horne pass and find a seam in the defence outside Bundee Aki, and he raced away to put Hogg in for an easy score, Horne converting.

Glasgow might have had a little more than three Horne penalties from the next 20 minutes as they dominated with the ball, but they also held Connacht in check until Carty booted a long penalty.

Just two minutes later Horne’s perfectly-timed pass sprung Dunbar at pace and the Scotland centre celebrated his return to action with a 30 metre sprint between defenders for the second try.

Horne converted and added the two points again just before the break as successive lineout drives finally brought reward when Brown wrestled over for the third try.

And from their first attack of the second half the Warriors claimed the bonus, Dunbar’s smart backhand pass released Matt Fagerson for a run into the 22 and Pyrgos was at his shoulder to score at the base of the posts.

But with the job done the Warriors fell a little flat for the majority of the second half losing much of their coherence and discipline.

Glasgow somehow survived a series of scrums near their own line with just a yellow card against Alex Allan, but Connacht finally got through the depleted defence through scrum-half replacement Caolin Blade for a try, Carty converting.

Rob Harley then saw yellow for hauling down a maul with five minutes remaining, and Connacht added a penalty try after the Glasgow scrum splintered under the posts, but the Warriors kept their record of not allowing even as much as bonus point to visitors to Scotstoun this season.

Att: 7351

Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, A Dunbar, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; P Horne, H Pyrgos; A Allan, F Brown, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, J Gray; R Harley, C Gibbins (capt), M Fagerson.

Replacements: G Stewart for Brown 57, J Bhatti for Allan 72, S Halanukonuka for Z Fagerson 60, K McDonald for Cummings 18, C Fusaro for Gray 40, A Price for Pyrgos 65, F Russell for Horne 65, N Matawalu for van der Merwe 38.

Connacht: D Leader; N Adelolokun, B Aki, P Robb, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, R McCartney, F Bealham; U Dillane, Q Roux; E Masterson, J Butler (capt), E McKeon.

Replacements: S Delahunt for McCartney 43, P McCabe for Buckley 51, C Carey for Bealham 65, G Thornbury for Roux 65, J Muldoon for Butler 65, C Blade for Marmion 61, T Farrell for Robb 56, S Ili for Healy 30.

Ref: F Murphy (IRFU)