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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 16:28 GMT
Hayes sees Glasgow home
Scotland and Glasgow scrum-half Andy Nicol
Andy Nicol played a big part in Glasgow's victory
Celtic League quarter-final

Connacht 29-34 Glasgow

Glasgow survived a late burst of heavy pressure to grab a place in the Celtic League semi-finals at the expense of hosts Connacht in Galway on Saturday.

They now face a tricky return trip to Ireland to face form horses Leinster in Dublin next Friday evening.

The Scots made a nervy start and found themselves six points adrift before they established any sort of rhythm.

Rory Kerr, deputising at full-back for Glenn Metcalfe, was first to show the rust when he spilled an up-and-under from former Ireland hero Eric Elwood in the first minute.

Referee Nigel Whitehouse used his initiative by playing advantage, allowing Elwood to slot a snap drop-goal to break the deadlock.

Wake-up call

Elwood was quickly back in the spotlight to land an angled penalty from 40 metres when Glasgow were guilty of pulling down a maul.

The second strike by Elwood served as a wake-up call to the Warriors - and they stormed back.

A powerful charge by Roly Reid set up the perfect platform, and centre James McLaren shrugged off three markers to reach the line.

Hayes added the extra points - only to see Elwood fire over another penalty to edge Connacht back in front.

The remainder of the half should have belonged to Glasgow, but they lost their concentration immediately before the break.

Within seconds of Elwood's latest strike, they bagged their second touchdown thanks to a bold piece of running by Jason White.

Again Hayes was spot on with the conversion - and he quickly created a useful 11-point cushion with two penalties.

The revival stalled when Elwood banged over another penalty.

He then converted from wide on the right after Tony Robinson took full advantage of slack tackling to claim a Connacht try in first-half stoppage time.

Breathing space

But then Glasgow got the break they were craving in the 52nd minute.

Captain Andy Nicol expertly disrupted a Connacht scrum on their own line - and alert flanker Gareth Flockhart pounced on the loose ball.

Hayes maintained his 100% record with the boot to earn his side some breathing space.

They suffered a double setback, however, as Reid was yellow-carded for halting an opponent while offside and Elwood stroked over another penalty to keep the province in the hunt.

But Hayes showed his all-round talent by nipping in for a marvellous solo touchdown, which he calmly converted.

Connacht were still not done for, though, and Elwood converted a sniping try by Kiwi wing Wayne Munn under the posts to set up a dramatic finale.

Connacht: G Duffy; T Robinson, D Yapp, T Allnutt, W Munn; E Elwood, E Reddan; D McFarland (capt), T Kearns, R McCormack, R Frost, D Browne, J Charlie, M Swift, J O'Connor.
Replacements: P Bracken, J McVeigh, P Neville, C Rigney, C Keane, M McPhail, M McHugh. Glasgow: R Kerr, J Steel, J McLaren, A Henderson, M Bartlett, T Hayes, A Nicol (capt); G McIlwham, G Bulloch, L Harrison, N Ross, J White, G Simpson, R Reid, G Flockhart.

See also:

27 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Quinnell's injury set back
27 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Ward fit to face Neath
26 Nov 01 |  Rugby Union
Time to start calling foul
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