European Rugby Champions Cup: Glasgow 15-26 Northampton
|Glasgow Warriors: (10) 15|
|Tries: Horne, Strauss Con: Russell Pen: Russell|
|Northampton Saints: (21) 26|
|Tries: Pisi, Tuala 2 Con: Myler Pens: Myler 3|
Northampton Saints top Pool 3 in the European Champions Cup after an impressive victory over Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.
Winger Ahsee Tuala touched down twice after George Pisi's early try against an oddly slack Warriors outfit.
Peter Horne and Josh Strauss scored for the hosts, who were outmuscled up-front, and too imprecise to capitalise on their second-half dominance.
This defeat deals a significant blow to their quarter-final aspirations.
Having missed an early opportunity, Scotland fly-half Finn Russell opened the scoring with a confident penalty on four minutes as Glasgow started brightly.
But things rapidly turned sour for the Warriors, as Russell's opposite number, Stephen Myler hoisted a towering garryowen into the Glasgow 22, and Stuart Hogg failed to claim it, allowing Pisi to gather and scramble his way to the line.
Myler converted, and stretched Saints' lead with a penalty after a punishing scrummage.
The Warriors had lost hooker Pat MacArthur to an early injury - handing Georgian Shalva Mamukashvili a debut from the bench - and would lose loose-head prop Ryan Grant to a yellow card after another scrummage hit the deck in Northampton's 22.
Myler compounded Glasgow's early woes with another penalty on 22 minutes.
Luther Burrell laid the platform for Tuala's first with a terrific burst of power at first receiver, before the ball was spread smartly along the line to the winger, who broke Hogg's weak tackle, and left Mark Bennett - who clearly expected his full-back to bring down Tuala - standing still in frustration to trot in.
Myler missed the conversion and, straight from the kick-off, the Warriors won a penalty that Russell crashed off the right upright before the loose ball was thrown wildly over his own dead-ball line by hooker Mikey Haywood.
The resultant scrummage back-pedalled, but Strauss broke quickly, and Horne picked an incisive angle off Russell to make the line, the stand-off converting.
Northampton continued to dismantle Glasgow's pack, though, and after pulverising the home scrummage anew, winning the ball against the head, Myler knocked over his third penalty with the final kick of the half.
Saints' kicking game proved pivotal after the break, as Myler heaped pressure on the Warriors' back three, particularly Hogg, with an array of well-placed tactical punts.
From one such angled grubber, Tuala slid in for his second try with 53 minutes gone after a fine break from full-back Ben Foden.
This one too was unconverted, but still left Glasgow trailing by 16 points.
The Warriors earned themselves a glimmer of hope when, after winning a string of penalties in the Saints 22, Burrell was sin-binned, and a well-disguised tap-penalty from Russell culminated in Strauss crashing over.
The stand-off missed the conversion, and the Warriors spurned a chance to score again when replacement prop Zander Fagerson spilled following a bruising break from fellow substitute Taqele Naiyaravoro.
But Glasgow continued to shoot themselves in the foot, coughing up possession in open play, with Mamukashvili missing his jumper at a line-out five metres from the Saints line.
The visiting pack were only too happy to utilise their superior bulk and grunt to clear the ball, and grind their way to an impressive, and crucial victory.
Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont, Finn Russell, Mike Blair, Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Sila Puafisi, Leone Nakarawa, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Simone Favaro, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Shalva Mamukashvili, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Grayson Hart, Richie Vernon, Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Northampton Saints: Ben Foden, Ahsee Tuala, George Pisi, Luther Burrell, George North, Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson (captain), Alex Waller, Mikey Haywood, Kieran Brookes, Michael Paterson, Christian Day, Jamie Gibson, Tom Wood, Sam Dickinson.
Replacements: Matti Williams, Ethan Waller, Paul Hill, Jon Fisher, Teimana Harrison, Kahn Fotuali'i, JJ Hanrahan, Jamie Elliott.