Guinness PRO12: Gregor Townsend delighted to secure play-off place
Glasgow Warriors reach semi-finals for fourth year in a row with an impressive 31-13 win over Connacht in Galway
Gregor Townsend was delighted after Glasgow Warriors secured their place in the Guinness PRO12 play-offs for the fourth year in a row.
The Warriors head coach saw his side overcome a stubborn Connacht side at the Sportsground on Saturday afternoon to land a bonus-point 31-13 win to return to the top of the table with two rounds remaining.
To show consistency of being at the top four is difficult and the work the players have put in throughout the season is superb.
With this year’s top four clubs already determined, the Warriors are now focused on securing a home semi-final to boost their chances of reaching the PRO12 final at the Kingspan Stadium on 30 May.
But Townsend’s men will have to up their game considerably if they are to remain in the top two with a visit to the Liberty Stadium to take on the Ospreys before hosting Ulster at Scotstoun Stadium on the final day of the regular season on Saturday 16 May.
“I’d like to congratulate the players on the fantastic effort to reach their fourth semi-final in a row,” Townsend told the club’s website.
“To show consistency of being at the top four is difficult and the work the players have put in throughout the season is superb.
“It’s a real squad effort and the next priority is to finish as high up the table as possible.
“A home semi-final would be amazing as it was a great event when we reached that stage last year and played Munster.
“I believe we have to win one more game, possibly two, depending on how other results go.”
The Warriors were behind early to two Jack Carty penalties, but rallied to go in at half-time 19-6 ahead with a brace from Niko Matawalu and brilliant move to send Stuart Hogg over.
We made things difficult for ourselves at times, especially in terms of discipline as at one stage it was 9-1 in the penalty count and that’s nowhere near good enough at this level.
A yellow card for winger Tommy Seymour early in the second half put pressure on the visitors and former Warriors lock Aly Muldowney somehow found his way over from close range.
No sooner had Seymour returned and flanker Chris Fusaro was also sin-binned, but Connacht were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Two late tries from Adam Ashe and Tommy Seymour glossed the win for the Scots as they notched their fourth successive try-scoring bonus point, and Townsend admitted their indiscipline was a problem despite the manner of the win.
“We were very pleased with the win and we had worked very hard pre-match on Connacht as we knew they would pose us a strong challenge,” he added.
“We made things difficult for ourselves at times, especially in terms of discipline as at one stage it was 9-1 in the penalty count and that’s nowhere near good enough at this level.
“As result we had to defend in our half for a lot of the game and with 14 men on two occasions, but credit must go to the players for getting us through those periods of adversity.
“We probably led against the run of play in the first half as Connacht had controlled most of it.
“The last 20 minutes we worked really hard though and I believe we deserved the win.
“We are delighted that it became a bonus-point win.”