In a match where a combined eight tries were scored, it seems like Glasgow and Exeter’s drawn Champions Cup fixture is being talked about for everything except the actual scores.
The Glasgow Warriors, who raced out to a 14-3 lead off the back of tries to outside backs Tommy Seymour and Huw Jones, were eventually made to play catch up with an Exeter Chiefs side that will now fancy their chances at completing an unthinkable double, winning the English Premiership as well as securing a first every Champions Cup title.
The game ended 31-31, ensuring that Exeter will qualify for the knockout stages of the European competition while Glasgow will be left licking their wounds after suffering two home defeats in a row.
The biggest talking point out of the match has been the quality of refereeing (or lack thereof), with Glasgow fans, in particular, lamenting Romain Poite’s performance in the hot seat.
The other matter that has Glasgow fans riled up is the sheer lack of luck the Warriors had when it came to the bounce of the ball.
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On three separate occasions, Glasgow players would have had almost unimpeded runs in to score tries had the bouncing ball not thwarted their attempts.
Part-way through the first half, Glasgow fly-half Adam Hastings threaded an angled grubber through while hot on attack in Exeter’s 22 for wing Kyle Steyn to run onto – but the ball lurched up at the last second, which forced Steyn to have to stop in his tracks. The Exeter cover defence may have been able to get fingertips onto Steyn if the ball had popped into his arms, but a simple dive would’ve seen Glasgow touch down for their second try of the match.
In the second half, it was Huw Jones – who otherwise had an excellent game – who was made to look like a fool.
First, with the game tied up at 24-all, Steyn made an excellent break into Exeter’s half and put a kick through for Jones, past the oncoming defence. Luck wasn’t on the centre’s side, however, as the ball stayed low to the ground and Jones fumbled the pick-up.
Then, with the scores still locked up, Jones hacked forward a dropped Exeter pass and again found himself faced with an undefended tryline – if only he could pick up the ball.
Instead, the ball took turn after turn but wouldn’t sit up for the Scottish midfielder and Jones was left holding his head in his hands after again knocking the ball forward while attempting to gather it up.
Three almost certain tries, three opportunities that went begging.
Fans were quick to take to Twiter to express their disbelief at the horror luck the befell Glasgow, who will now be relying on the PRO14 for some silverware.
Here’s how the fans reacted:
That's yet another game that Glasgow should have won, but their errors and the officials' shiteness meant they didn't. Huw Jones must be spitting that the ball defeated him twice. Cracking game of attacking rugby, especially in the conditions. Poite, are you Clancy in disguise?
— Alastair Campbell (@RadarLanark) January 11, 2020
How unlucky was Huw Jones ?
— Kerry finn (@kerrydoc08) January 11, 2020
He didn’t score those two chances but Huw Jones is getting very close to his top form, or certainly his best in a Warriors shirt. Another try today and looked attacking all day long.
— The Pen (@thepenGW) January 11, 2020
Oh Huw Jones, what have you done there?!? How have you managed not to score from 10m out when all you have to do is pick up the ball and stroll home? Have you been training with Yoann Huget?
— Tom Dare (@Repka) January 11, 2020
Huw Jones vs the bounce of a rugby ball is an emphatic 2-0 to the rugby ball today so far… ????
— Josh Gardner (@joshgardner) January 11, 2020
Huw Jones almost away after a beautiful catch, step and grubbed by Steyn but Shug just couldn’t collect the kick as it bounced its way down the turf. So unlucky.
— The Pen (@thepenGW) January 11, 2020
huw jones didn't play enough soccer in his youth
— graham mccready (@MccreadyGraham) January 11, 2020
Indeed but it wasn't mistakes that are ones to get overly concerned about, missing pick ups on kicks with odd bounces happens.
Glasgow's luck with bounce of the ball was atrocious.
Bryce also desperately unlucky.
— maxtrail (@maxtrail1) January 11, 2020
Glasgow binned three tries for the luck of a bounce, very even match overall. Gibbons very lucky to not see red though.
— stu C (@vadersjester) January 11, 2020
But for the awkward bounce of a rugby ball Glasgow would have been out of sight. Exeter relieved with the draw. Glasgow gutted. Glasgow looked the better team all game.
— True Scotsman (@AlwaysAWarrior_) January 11, 2020
Oooof are Glasgow not getting the bounce of the ball here. Cracking match.
— David Paxton (@DavidDPaxton) January 11, 2020
Coach Dave Rennie, who likely won’t have another shot at the Champions Cup due to taking up a role with the Wallabies at the end of the season, lamented his side’s bad luck after the match.
“We just couldn’t get the ball to sit up,” Rennie told BBC Scotland.
“I think we had four clear opportunities if it had sat up. We created a lot of opportunities. We’re proud of the effort, frustrated as well.
The Warriors will play their final match of the tournament against Sale next weekend. If the stars align perfectly then there’s a minute chance that Glasgow could still find themselves in the playoffs, but chances are that their Champions Cup will come to an end in a week, regardless of the result.
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