Stuart Hogg scored two of Glasgow’s five tries as they halted Connacht’s unbeaten start to the season in the Guinness PRO12. Starting the second half with a determined show of ball control, Glasgow went through the phases with great patience, dragging more and more of the Connacht cover into some desperate defence. When the ball was released in the backs it passed through a flurry of hands before Hogg broke onto the ball and scored his second. It was then Connacht’s turn to go through their phases in what was to be their best period of the match. When the ball came wide it was Leader who went over wide on the right to narrow the gap just before the hour. From the kick-off, Glasgow attacked again, winning a scrum on the Connacht 22. Adam Ashe picked up at the base, handing on the ball to Pyrgos who deftly crafted a short pass to Van der Merwe on the reverse angle. The Canadian was through at pace, running over for the bonus try. With Weir converting and adding another penalty a few minutes later the game seemed over. But Connacht powered into Glasgow’s 22 and after a series of scrums, Glasgow conceded a penalty try, setting up Connacht for a possible late challenge. Connacht were throwing everything at Glasgow and were forcing the ball into Glasgow’s 22 when, with five minutes to play, Bennett intercepted a pass and dashed 70 metres for the score which ended any doubt over the outcome. Few imagined when the season’s fixtures were announced that both sides would navigate their first three games without tasting defeat. While Glasgow had been impressive, Connacht, often portrayed as poor relations of the Irish provincial game, overcame Newport Gwent Dragons, Edinburgh and champions Leinster to start in scintillating style. This was the match when their hot streak would end though, with Glasgow dominant from the early stages, as only intense defence and poor handling kept them from opening the scoring in the opening quarter of an hour. Home lock Tim Swinson had the home support out of their seats after 15 minutes when he burst through, only to be hauled down five metres short. The ball was quickly recycled and it looked as if Bennett was over, however referee Claudio Blessano said he was held up. A series of scrums had Glasgow battering at the door before Pyrgos passed from the base for Hogg to dart over to open the scoring with a 19th-minute try that Duncan Weir converted. Connacht soon pulled the scores level against the run of play as they easily cut through Glasgow’s defence. Jack Carty grubbed a kick through and McSharry was sharply on the ball to go over. Ian Porter converted. A Weir penalty after 30 minutes put Glasgow ahead, but there was a degree of good fortune when they pulled further ahead. Connacht full-back Leader fluffed a clearance which Pyrgos charged down with relish. The scrum-half then gathered a difficult ball before going over for the try which Weir easily converted. Press Association Henry Pyrgos, DTH van der Merwe and Mark Bennett also crossed the whitewash as the Warriors registered a 39-21 home victory over their Irish visitors. Connacht responded through Dave McSharry, Darragh Leader and a penalty try, but lacked the quality to seriously unsettle a Glasgow side who stay undefeated after four rounds of games – their 100 per cent record intact.
“The two miles has just caught him out, but then again, the winner could be improving quickly.” Traffic Fluide was third for Gary Moore, who said: “I’m over the moon with that. He won’t run again this season now and he could go up in trip next year. “We’ll have to see what the handicapper does, but the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter would be an obvious starting point.” De Bromhead took the Grade One prize two years ago with surprise winner Special Tiara, but 9-2 shot Sizing Granite had more obvious claims following successive wins at Naas and Leopardstown. Burke kept his mount on the speed throughout and he loomed ominously alongside the front-running Art Maresque at the top of the straight before quickly opening up a lead between the final two fences. Although Arkle Trophy runner-up God’s Own gave favourite-backers hope with a strong finish, Sizing Granite had enough in reserve to hold on by a length. Burke said: “He’s a great jumper and he showed that there. His jumping was effortless really. He put his jumping to good use. “I thought the flat track would suit him and I’m glad we brought him. We try to keep him fresh and we pick the races for him.” De Bromhead added: “It was really good and a super ride from Johnny as well. I’m delighted and it’s great to get one here. “We live in hope he can be the next Sizing Europe. He’s a gorgeous horse and Ann and Alan (Potts, owners) have been really patient with him. He’s taken a bit of time but he’s getting better and better. “He’s massive and he was very immature. I think he’s going to keep improving. That will be it for the season for him now.” God’s Own’s trainer, Tom George, said: “The trip was probably sharp enough and he was going right a bit, so he’s probably got a preference for going that way, but we sort of knew that anyway. “We nearly got away with it and we hope to go to either Punchestown or Sandown now. Irish raider Sizing Granite claimed the Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Johnny Burke. Press Association