There have been many memorable games for Glasgow since Gregor Townsend took the reigns in 2012. Here are On Top Of The Moon’s top 5:
v Ospreys (Liberty Stadium) 14/9/12
The Warriors first win under Toony. It came at the third attempt and at the home of the reigning champions no less. Glasgow had only managed one win in their previous 7 visits to the Liberty Stadium but, inspired by DTH van der Merwe, they kicked off a 6 game winning streak in style, stretching out to an early 18-0 lead. It took a huge defensive effort to keep the Os at arm’s length for the remainder of the game though with the locks and back row making 74 tackles and only missing 1. Gregor’s men were off and running.
v Munster (Thomond Park) 12/4/14
The biggest away win of Townsend’s tenure. Glasgow hadn’t won at Munster for 6 years when they rolled in to Thomond Park. Further stacking the odds against the the Warriors they had already lost to the Irish side at Scotstoun earlier in the season and were coming off defeats in their previous 2 away fixtures against the Dragons and Leinster. What followed was a clinical performance that showed how far the side had developed. They out-Munstered Munster, powering over from close range through Jonny Gray and Josh Strauss, setting up a famous win that would resonate 5 weeks later in the Pro 12 playoff semi-final.
v Munster (Scotstoun Stadium) 16/5/14
The moment Glasgow popped their knock-out game cherry. After 3 increasingly close (and therefore increasingly painful) defeats in the Pro 12 playoffs the Warriors found a way to raise their intensity to the level that was needed. The team had to fight for every yard and battle to make every hit, exemplified by Rob Harley’s 19 tackles (in probably his best ever performance for the Warriors) and Man of the Match Jonny Gray’s 25 carries. In front of the first 5 figure crowd since making Scotstoun their permanent home, Glasgow eased out to a 16-7 lead (through the most important try Gordon Reid is ever likely to score) before holding on for 34 nerve-shredding minutes as Munster closed to within a single point. Scotstoun has never been louder than it was in those dying minutes…
v Bath (Scotstoun Stadium) 18/10/14
The best attacking performance of the head coach’s reign. All of Glasgow’s most dangerous players were in amongst the tries and assists – Hogg, Maitland, Bennett, Seymour, Niko, DTH. It’s worth noting that Duncan Weir was at 10 for this one (ably assisted by Man of the Match Henry Pyrgos) so it’s not just the dancing feet of Finn Russell that can get the backline firing. 18 offloads (5 of them from Leone Nakarawa) contributed to the Warriors, at times, dismantling the Bath defence on their way 5 tries and their biggest win (at that time) in the Champions Cup. This was also one of the first times the ‘Sold Out’ signs went up at Scotstoun – something that has since become a gratifyingly regular event.
Link to the official Champions Cup highlights here
v Munster (Kingspan Stadium) 30/5/15
Well it had to be didn’t it? Not only the most significant match in the Warriors long history but also one of the finest team performances. It’s hard to think of a player who didn’t make a contribution to the victory as the entire group stepped up a level. One of the keys was dominating the breakdown area through a hugely aggressive back row and a tight 5 that never stopped working. Combined with the force of nature that is Leone Nakarawa it allowed the backline the time and space to shine. Those backs also showed their mettle in defence as Munster tried to battle their way back into the game, with Peter Horne and Finn Russell in particular throwing themselves into every tackle. The greatest day for the Glasgow Warriors – so far…
There were a few other games that just missed the cut. Have your say below with memories of most important / best / favourite Warriors’ games from the Townsend era.
v Northampton (Scotstoun Stadium) 19/1/13 – Featuring the most magic of magic moments, Pete Horne’s late, late show to win the game.
v Ulster (Scotstoun Stadium) 22/2/13 – 3rd of 4 BP wins achieved in style without Scotland players who were away on 6 Nations duty.
v Ulster (Ravenhill) 13/9/13 – First win away to the Irish big three and all thanks to a Jedi mind trick!
v Montpellier (Stade Yves-Du-Manoir) 25/10/14 – Backs to the wall defence and an impeccable kicking effort from Finn Russell.