IN the end it was all about pride. Bottom of their Heineken Cup pool, with just one win to their name, it was never likely that Glasgow Caley Reds could cause an upset at Welford Road, the home of English double champions Leicester Tigers.

Pride, passion, and effort there certainly was. For two periods in the first half the Reds actually held the lead, and even after being under the cosh for much of the second, they managed to add two tries to the one try, one conversion and three penalties that they had plundered in the first half.

Even when they held the advantage, however, the Reds never really looked capable of holding on to it. Leicester employed their well-known, and by many despised, tactic of rolling long mauls from their lineout superiority, but they also used their backs with incision to cause mayhem in the Reds defence: the classic combination of brawn and beauty. Two tries from forwards and two tries from backs tells its own story.

''I was very disappointed,'' was the verdict of Reds coach Richie Dixon. ''I felt in the first half we could have capitalised more on our possession, and in the second half Leicester closed us down, kept us out of the game for periods playing the way they like, using their lineouts and their driving.

''We had to defend a lot because it is very difficult under the current laws to get the ball back in the drive and maul, and we fell foul of the referee. We will have to look at that.''

Dixon, understandably, was not about to praise the fact that Leicester can play it either way. Even in the first half, Leicester's backs threatened to shred the Reds' defence. Yet for all that, Dixon was right to point out: ''The Reds are developing into a good rugby side. There was certainly a big improvement on the way we played in the earlier Heineken Cup games.''

The home side opened the scoring with a penalty after just two minutes with a 30 metre penalty, yet in the early exchanges they were clearly not allowed to run the game they wanted.

Four minutes into the game Shaun Longstaff went over for the Reds, following a scrum. The ball was poorly delivered to the winger who had come inside to take the pass at shoulder height. He did well to keep a hold of the precious object before placing it down for Tommy Hayes to convert.

Hayes increased the lead with a penalty which was countered by Tim Stimpson before Leicester finally went into the lead for the first time with Dorian West's try, the Reds simply not being able to stop him being driven over from a lineout.

Leicester's second try re-established their lead before the break. When Hamilton went over from close range, he managed to put the ball down despite the fact that two Reds players were paying him close attention.

Defensively, the Reds were forced to dig deep in the second half and the two tries that they conceded, one to Olly Smith after a typical Leicester rolling maul, and the other in injury time, another classic Richard Cockerill score from a lineout, were hardly a disgrace.

From an attacking point of view the Reds scored three good tries themselves, although at times the handling was suspect. When he came on as a second half replacement for former Leicester player Jon Stuart, Alan Bulloch made a big impact.

Stuart had done well defensively against his old team mates, but Bulloch gave the Reds a much harder attacking edge. He scored a try within two minutes of coming on and even that was achieved when the Reds were down to 14 men - skipper Andy Nicol occupying a seat in the sin bin at the time.

The try had been scored after Gordon Simpson had made the hard yards following a lineout and, 10 minutes later, Simpson himself went over when the ball was quickly recycled after James McLaren had been stopped short of the line. Ironically Dixon had been waiting for a break in the play to bring Simpson off at the time.

There is little point in pretending that the result was ever going to be in doubt, but the Reds showed real character in making Leicester work perhaps a little harder than they might have thought would be necessary to gain the victory.

Leicester - T Stimpson; G Murphy, O Smith (G. Gelderbloom, 57 min), P Howard, W Stanley; A Goode, J Hamilton; P Freshwater (G Rowntree, 69), D. West (R. Cockerill, 69), D Garforth, L Deacon (A Balding, 74), B Kay, W Johnson (P Short, 69), L Moody, M Corry.

Glasgow - R Shepherd; J Steel, J McLaren, J Stuart (A Bulloch, 66), S Longstaff (J Craig, 79); T Hayes, A Nicol; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham (A Watt, 57), J White, S Griffiths, G Simpson (R Reid, 79), D MacFayden, J Petrie.

Referee - A. Lombardi (Italy)

Scoring sequence (Leicester first) : 3-0, 3-7, 3-10, 6-10, 11-10, 11-13, 11-16, 18-16, 21-16 (half-time); 24-16, 31-16, 34-16, 34-21, 34-26, 41-26.

Scorers: Leicester - Tries - West (11), Hamiltion (34), Smith (55), Cockerill (80). Penalties: Stimpson (2, 9, 36, 49, 62). Conversions: Stimpson (34, 80). Glasgow: Tries - Longstaff (4), A Bulloch (68), Simpson (78). Penalties - Hayes (6, 25, 30) Conversion - Hayes (4)


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