2023 Aviron Bayonnais vs Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors Get Investec Champions Cup Campaign Back On Track

Glasgow Warriors Get Investec Champions Cup Campaign Back On Track

The Glasgow Warriors' thrilling Champions Cup win against Bayonne was a resilient clash of rugby titans, with dramatic turns and intense late-game pressure.

Dec 16, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Glasgow Warriors Get Investec Champions Cup Campaign Back On Track

The Glasgow Warriors got their Investec Champions Cup campaign back on track with a riveting away victory against Bayonne. 

The clash unfolded as a dramatic seesaw of momentum, with the two sides nigh on inseparable. 

The contest kicked off with Bayonne asserting its dominance, securing an early lead through a Camille Lopez penalty and a try by Facundo Bosch. 

Undeterred, Glasgow responded with a remarkable try by Ally Miller, making the score even more impressive. The Warriors scored when down to 14 men, as prop Zander Fagerson was sent to the sin bin. 

As the game progressed, Lopez's precise kicking allowed Bayonne to reclaim a four-point lead after the halftime break. 

However, the pendulum swung in favor of the Warriors, when Josh McKay soared into the corner, propelling them into the lead for the first time.

This would prove to be the final score, as former Wallaby Reece Hodge missed two penalties in the final 15 minutes. 

The match featured strategic changes by both head coaches, with each side making 10 alterations from their previous outings. 

Bayonne, sitting 11th in the French Top 14, aimed to capitalize on its draw with Munster, while Glasgow sought redemption following a heavy home loss to the Northampton Saints in the opening games. 

Glasgow's early endeavor was evident, with a clever Ross Thompson kick nearly resulting in a try by Ollie Smith, only to be denied by a foot in touch. 

The pendulum swung back and forth, with Glasgow unable to convert its dominance into points. 

A critical turning point came when Fagerson received a yellow card, and Bayonne capitalized on the extra man advantage, with Bosch scoring behind a rolling maul. 

Despite setbacks, Miller showcased exceptional pace and agility, racing past defenders to score Glasgow's first points, adding to the excitement of the encounter. George Horne's misstep and Lopez's monstrous penalty extended Bayonne's lead, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish. 

Glasgow overcame line-out challenges, and McKay's spectacular leap into the corner, coupled with Hodge's missed long-range penalties, kept the outcome uncertain until the final moments. 

In the aftermath, Glasgow head coach Franco Smith reflected on the challenges faced during the match, emphasizing the need to adapt and stay resilient in the face of adversity. 

"I was not concerned [the line-out] didn't function," Smith said. "I think we had more than enough opportunity, but it's uncommon [for us]. 

"For the whole 18 months, we've been really good at it. This is what we'll take from it tonight - how to adapt, what is the next plan and to stay in the fight."