Glasgow Qualify For Celtic League Quarter-Finals

Glasgow drew deep from their reserves of stamina, courage, and determination to achieve the result they wanted yesterday evening. Their 15-9 victory against Llanelli at rain-lashed Hughenden earned them a place in the last eight of the Celtic League.It was a game without a try. Yet the contest had much else to excite and exhilarate. It regularly sparked with energy - even nervous energy. Like a thundercloud charged by electricity, Glasgow were fired by adrenalin generated by a vociferous, eager crowd of 5375, an excellent attendance for an evening of heavy showers.Glasgow, however, narrowly failed to earn a home quarter-final, an advantage that falls to the first two in each of the league pools. Ulster won 29-10 at Pontypridd this afternoon and edged Glasgow out of second place only on points-difference - 37 to 32. Leinster topped that pool with maximum points, and Llanelli finished as that group's fourth qualifiers despite their Hughenden defeat.Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, was naturally satisfied with last night's result, and he had special praise for the security of the defensive play. "I"m quietly pleased," he said, "not just for the players for getting through to the quarter-finals. But Llanelli are the biggest, heaviest we have played against in my time, but we proved we can dog it out in difficult conditions. They were prepared to put their bodies on the line." In other words, Glasgow proved they had more in their armoury that the ability to score 17 tries in successive home matches, as they did against Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale earlier this month.Tommy Hayes scored all of Glasgow's points with five penalty goals. The last of those took him past 800 points in his Glasgow career.It was, though, the forwards who earned most of the plaudits in a contest that the coach described as "a hard, physical battle." Jason White again justified international recognition through his lineout work and his supporting play outside the set-piece. Similarly, Gordon Simpson emphatically stated a case for inclusion in Scotland's XV against Ireland a week tomorrow. Not only was he at his most belligerent best with ball in hand, but he also had that annoying habit of awkwardly messing up the opposition.Overall, the Glasgow team was bonded by confidence. They know they are good enough to reach the knock-out stages of competitions and to merit leading championship tables, as they do in the Welsh/Scottish League.Hayes struck with his first penalty goal from offside after only five minutes. Another followed midway in the first half, following a late tackle on Glenn Metcalfe, but Stephen Jones immediately responded in kind from Glasgow obstruction at the restart. Hayes and Jones each missed a penalty in the second quarter, and at half-time Glasgow still had only that three-point lead.Llanelli lost Simon Easterby into the sin-bin a minute before the interval, but Glasgow could not exploit the numerical advantage early in the second half. Instead, almost as soon as the Llanelli flanker resumed, Jones equalised with a drop goal after prop Martyn Madden's midfield charge.It was worrying for the home support, especially as Glasgow were playing against the wind and showers. But Hayes immediately restored Glasgow's lead, again from an offside penalty, and he added a fourth goal following a scrummage penalty for 12-6 after 61 minutes. The range was almost 50 metres, but when Jon Petrie was penalised for holding in a tackle Jones soon struck his second from just inside his own half.For more than 10 minutes after that Glasgow were rampant, with Simpson, White, Gordon Bulloch, James McLaren, Jon Steel, and Rory Kerr the most prominent in threatening to break the deadlock. It was Glasgow's most sustained phase of a match that had been sprinkled with mistakes and turnovers as well quality rugby, especially in aggressive defence. The only reward, though, was a fifth Hayes penalty goal when Llanelli were offside in their own 22.That signalled Llanelli's final surge, but it achieved nothing even after White had been sin-binned a couple of nerve-wracking minutes from the end. Glasgow survived, and the final whistle ignited rapturous, enthusiastic applause.Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Rory Kerr; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Cameron Blades, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Gareth Flockhart, Jon Petrie. Replacements - David Hilton for Blades (66 minutes), Jon Stuart for Henderson (66), Andy Hall for Ross (temporary 66-76).Scorer - Penalty goals, Tommy Hayes (5).Llanelli - Barry Davies; Wayne Proctor, Salesi Finau, Leigh Davies, Matt Cardey; Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Martyn Madden, Robin McBryde, John Davies, Scott Morgan, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby, David Hodges. Replacement - Dafydd Jones for Morgan.Scorer - Penalty goals, Stephen Jones (2); drop goal, Jones.Referee - David Tyndall (Ireland).Glasgow drew deep from their reserves of stamina, courage, and determination to achieve the result they wanted yesterday evening. Their 15-9 victory against Llanelli at rain-lashed Hughenden earned them a place in the last eight of the Celtic League.It was a game without a try. Yet the contest had much else to excite and exhilarate. It regularly sparked with energy - even nervous energy. Like a thundercloud charged by electricity, Glasgow were fired by adrenalin generated by a vociferous, eager crowd of 5375, an excellent attendance for an evening of heavy showers.Glasgow, however, narrowly failed to earn a home quarter-final, an advantage that falls to the first two in each of the league pools. Ulster won 29-10 at Pontypridd this afternoon and edged Glasgow out of second place only on points-difference - 37 to 32. Leinster topped that pool with maximum points, and Llanelli finished as that group's fourth qualifiers despite their Hughenden defeat.Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, was naturally satisfied with last night's result, and he had special praise for the security of the defensive play. "I"m quietly pleased," he said, "not just for the players for getting through to the quarter-finals. But Llanelli are the biggest, heaviest we have played against in my time, but we proved we can dog it out in difficult conditions. They were prepared to put their bodies on the line." In other words, Glasgow proved they had more in their armoury that the ability to score 17 tries in successive home matches, as they did against Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale earlier this month.Tommy Hayes scored all of Glasgow's points with five penalty goals. The last of those took him past 800 points in his Glasgow career.It was, though, the forwards who earned most of the plaudits in a contest that the coach described as "a hard, physical battle." Jason White again justified international recognition through his lineout work and his supporting play outside the set-piece. Similarly, Gordon Simpson emphatically stated a case for inclusion in Scotland's XV against Ireland a week tomorrow. Not only was he at his most belligerent best with ball in hand, but he also had that annoying habit of awkwardly messing up the opposition.Overall, the Glasgow team was bonded by confidence. They know they are good enough to reach the knock-out stages of competitions and to merit leading championship tables, as they do in the Welsh/Scottish League.Hayes struck with his first penalty goal from offside after only five minutes. Another followed midway in the first half, following a late tackle on Glenn Metcalfe, but Stephen Jones immediately responded in kind from Glasgow obstruction at the restart. Hayes and Jones each missed a penalty in the second quarter, and at half-time Glasgow still had only that three-point lead.Llanelli lost Simon Easterby into the sin-bin a minute before the interval, but Glasgow could not exploit the numerical advantage early in the second half. Instead, almost as soon as the Llanelli flanker resumed, Jones equalised with a drop goal after prop Martyn Madden's midfield charge.It was worrying for the home support, especially as Glasgow were playing against the wind and showers. But Hayes immediately restored Glasgow's lead, again from an offside penalty, and he added a fourth goal following a scrummage penalty for 12-6 after 61 minutes. The range was almost 50 metres, but when Jon Petrie was penalised for holding in a tackle Jones soon struck his second from just inside his own half.For more than 10 minutes after that Glasgow were rampant, with Simpson, White, Gordon Bulloch, James McLaren, Jon Steel, and Rory Kerr the most prominent in threatening to break the deadlock. It was Glasgow's most sustained phase of a match that had been sprinkled with mistakes and turnovers as well quality rugby, especially in aggressive defence. The only reward, though, was a fifth Hayes penalty goal when Llanelli were offside in their own 22.That signalled Llanelli's final surge, but it achieved nothing even after White had been sin-binned a couple of nerve-wracking minutes from the end. Glasgow survived, and the final whistle ignited rapturous, enthusiastic applause.Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Rory Kerr; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Cameron Blades, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Gareth Flockhart, Jon Petrie. Replacements - David Hilton for Blades (66 minutes), Jon Stuart for Henderson (66), Andy Hall for Ross (temporary 66-76).Scorer - Penalty goals, Tommy Hayes (5).Llanelli - Barry Davies; Wayne Proctor, Salesi Finau, Leigh Davies, Matt Cardey; Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Martyn Madden, Robin McBryde, John Davies, Scott Morgan, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby, David Hodges. Replacement - Dafydd Jones for Morgan.Scorer - Penalty goals, Stephen Jones (2); drop goal, Jones.Referee - David Tyndall (Ireland).