Pro12: Glasgow 10-16 Scarlets
|Glasgow Warriors (0) 10|
|Tries: Cusack, Bryce|
|Scarlets (13) 16|
|Tries: Shingler, Parkes Pens: Jones 2|
A tigerish display by Scarlets spoiled Glasgow Warriors' celebrations in their opening match of the Pro12 season.
No sooner had former skipper Al Kellock unfurled last season's title flag than Scarlets moved ahead through tries by Aaron Shingler and Hadleigh Parkes.
Scarlets moved 13-0 in front while Glasgow's Grayson Hart was yellow-carded before the Scots fought back.
Mike Cusack scored his first Warriors try and Glenn Bryce added a late second as 12-man Scarlets held on.
A sense of optimism had engulfed Scotstoun at kick-off as Kellock, the retired lock, displayed the Pro12 flag in glorious sunshine.
However, it was the Welshmen who moved in front in five minutes when, from a line-out on the left, they battered away at the black and blue line until Shingler reached over the defence to touch down.
Dan Jones did not get the measure of the wind and, while that was a reprieve for the home side, the loss of winger Rory Hughes to injury was a blow. He was replaced by academy player Robbie Fergusson for his debut.
Warriors have been the harder of the two teams hit by the Rugby World Cup, with 16 on Scotland duty and four others representing Italy, Fiji, the USA and Tonga.
Josh Strauss was one of those players chosen by Scotland head coach Vern Cotter for his squad of 31, but the South African started against the Welsh side, his eligibility for Scotland on residency grounds kicking in on 19 September.
The Scarlets are missing seven internationals for the early part of the Pro12 campaign but that was far from evident in the first half.
Their players defended as if it were a title decider and in Parkes, Regan King and Gareth Owen they had the liveliest backs.
Only a desperate lunge by Glasgow's Fraser Lyle prevented Scarlets full-back Steffan Evans running over the try line from midfield, but that merely delayed an increase in Scarlets' lead.
King juggled the ball through the Scots and unselfishly off-loaded for his skipper Parkes to cross, though Jones again missed with the conversion and tugged a penalty wide after 25 minutes which kept the score at 10-0.
Warriors scrum-half Hart, a recent signing from Edinburgh, could have little complaint at being yellow carded for sending King flipping over his head.
Yet the damage during his absence was limited to a Jones penalty after Scott Wight had been caught offside.
Glasgow had mounted only one meaningful attack in the first half, but the pattern changed after the break.
Lock Scott Cummings, 18, spun round his opponent in the right-hand corner but was stopped just short of the try line. Tighthead prop Cusack was rewarded for providing the ballast in support as he touched down.
Glasgow then produced a period of relentless pressure that was missing in the first 40 minutes, yet they could not create a meaningful opening.
Former Warriors John Barclay, Scarlets' number eight, was particularly impressive and warmly applauded as he went off, temporarily, for treatment.
Jones knocked over his second penalty as Scarlets moved 16-5 clear and, with that, Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend sent on Tyrone Holmes, Rory Clegg and the experienced Mike Blair, the latter two for their debuts, for Wight, Hart and Chris Fusaro.
And Blair's quick thinking created an opportunity for the rampaging Adam Ashe before the big number eight was clattered to the ground.
The seriousness of Glasgow's situation brought about sharper tackling and passing on their part but Scarlets raised their game too, repelling charges by Rob Harley down the left and Strauss on the right.
Rob Evans and James Davies were sin binned for Wayne Pivac's team as the clock ticked down.
Bryce dotted down with seven seconds remaining and, with Rory Clegg wide with the conversion, the 6,500 home fans knew one last converted try would snatch a one-point win.
Barclay was the third Scarlets player to be yellow carded in the closing seconds but a knock-on by Glasgow ended the hope of a dramatic comeback.
Glasgow: Glenn Bryce, Lee Jones, Peter Murchie (capt), Fraser Lyle, Rory Hughes; Scott Wight, Grayson Hart; Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Kevin Bryce, Mike Cusack, Rob Harley, Scott Cummings, Josh Strauss, Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe
Replacements: Fergus Scott, Alex Allan, Zander Fagerson, Kieran Low, Tyrone Holmes, Mike Blair, Rory Clegg, Robbie Fergusson.
Scarlets: Steffan Evans; Hadleigh Parkes (capt), Regan King, Gareth Owen, Michael Tagicakibau; Daniel Jones, Aled Davies; Phil John, Emyr Phillips, Peter Edwards, Tom Price, Lewis Rawlins, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, John Barclay
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rob Evans, Will Taylor, George Earle, Rory Pitman, Rhodri Williams, Aled Thomas, Tom Williams
Referee: Gary Conway (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Neil Paterson, Bob Nevins (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)