The Runner Sports

Lions Hopeful Stuart Hogg Comes Up Short Against Saracens

Elite fullback Stuart Hogg has quiet day in Glasgow loss to the juggernaut Saracens

Allianz Park was a beautiful place for a rugby match Sunday as the Saracens took on Glasgow in the final match of the European Champions Cup quarterfinals.

Saracens start sets the tone for the match

Saracens were off to a strong start playing deep into the Glasgow 22. The Glasgow defense played well to keep last year’s European Champions out of the try zone. Saracens winger Chris Ashton narrowly missed the try zone and found touch instead, giving Glasgow slight breathing room. Saracens drove deep into the Glasgow 22 again only to find touch instead of a try for Sean Maitland. The Scots continued to get hammered on their end of the field which eventually led to a penalty kick by Owen Farrell to put the Saracens on the board. Stuart Hogg had a rare moment of brilliance with the high ball, eventually allowing Finn Russell to draw Glasgow even.

Possession early on was all Saracens, and with so little time with ball in hand, Glasgow were unable to put their all-star backline to work. Glasgow allowed three more points for Saracens, but still denied them the try zone. After failing to find touch in the opening minutes, Chris Ashton finally found a way through the Scottish line for the try zone. Saracens’ strategy and power were truly amazing to confuse the Scottish defense and allow for the try. Glasgow made progress against the defense but undid all of it with simple mistakes such as failing to find touch on penalties. The Scots worked hard, but were unable to find any points before the expiration of the half.

Scots make strong return early in the second half

Glasgow came out with a full head of steam to start the second half with a more powerful attack than seen through the entire first half. Defensively, Glasgow managed to keep the Saracens pinned deep in their own half making a shorter field for themselves. Glasgow’s work was finally rewarded after a scrum when Finn Russell cross field kicked to Lee Jones who wove through the Saracens defense for Glasgow’s first try.

Saracens would not allow Glasgow to close the gap for too long. With a deep drive into Glasgow territory, Marcelo Bosch broke through Glasgow to find another try.

Stuart Hogg, in a rare mistake, kicked directly to touch from outside the 22 giving the Saracens a lineout 30m out. Saracens took advantage to drive even deeper, and despite a strong push from Glasgow Brad Barritt crossed the line again for Saracens’ third try of the day.

With less than seven minutes to go, the try broke Glasgow’s resolve and Chris Ashton found his way through for his second try of the day to extend Saracens’ lead. Glasgow pride would not die as Ryan Wilson two minutes into extra time crossed the line for Glasgow to close out the match.

Hogg’s quiet day problematic for Glasgow

Hogg’s weak offensive production lacked when his team truly needed it. Hogg only managed a paltry 18m on the day, and multiple mental mistakes. The Glasgow defense, for all their strength, only managed a 70% tackle success, missing over 30 tackles. Glasgow has a bright future as does Stuart Hogg, but this was not their brightest day. Hopefully, another weak performance does not weaken Hogg’s Lions stock too badly.

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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