After almost self-combusting during a fraught 15-minute spell before the break, Warriors scored four second half tries to book their place in the final of the European Challenge Cup in Dublin on Friday, May 19.

Franco Smith’s side will face the winner of this afternoon's clash between Toulon and Benetton at the Aviva Stadium in three weekends' time as they hunt their first piece of meaningful silverware since winning the PRO12 – as the URC was then known – in 2015.

“The talk at half time was about settling down because even some of our internationals were just a little bit too nervous, which shows what this means to them,” said the head coach. “They didn’t want to lose tonight, and I thought we started off so well, but we got a little bit jittery.

“But the plan didn’t change. The plan was specific for this week, and I thought we stuck to that even though Scarlets did extremely well to unsettle us and rattle us.  I’m proud of the boys because solving problems in-game and on the field is something we’ve been working on all season.”

Warriors now have seven days to recover before their next big match, which is a URC play-off quarter-final at Scotstoun.

“Munster are lurking, so there’s still a lot of work for us to do this week,” added Smith.  “I thought our experience against them a few weeks ago was almost like a semi-final, but there’s a lot of learnings to take from that game and this game. We have the ability, we have the skillset – we just need to now use the lessons learnt from this week better.”

Warriors raced into the lead when Stafford McDowall brushed off Steff Evans, Joe Roberts and Gareth Davies on his way to the line, but that was as good as it got for the visitors during a frantic first half when they spent too much time trying to pull rabbits out of hats and not enough time laying the foundations of a solid all-round performance.

A not-rolling-away penalty allowed Sam Costelow to get the hosts off the mark on 24 minutes and then an offside from Sione Vailanu at a line-out just four minutes later handed the Scarlets stand-off another easy shot at goal which reduced the gap to a single point.

It was clear that Warriors were flustered with McDowall firing a simple pass over Kyle Steyn’s head, before both Steyn and McDowall failed to tidy up the loose ball.

They then overthrew a line-out five-yards from their own line and Scarlets capitalised with Johnny McNicholl sending the unmarked Steff Evans over on the right with a long miss-pass.

Another Costelow penalty from right in front of the posts made it 14-7 at half time, with that scoring opportunity a result of Zander Fagerson coming round the side of a ruck to take out Gareth Davies from an offside position. 

Warriors were on the rack, with their line-out a shambles and their discipline falling apart, so the break came at just the right time for Smith’s men. Sure enough, they were refreshed and refocussed when they reappeared for the second 40 minutes, powering right back into the contest through a George Horne try, created by a sequence of powerful carries from Jack Dempsey, JP Du Preez and Scott Cummings. Horne added the conversion for good measure, to make it all-square,

Scarlets replacement prop Sam Wainwright was sin-binned for a high-shot on Rory Darge during the lead-up to that score but they bounced back well, with a fourth Costelow penalty following a high tackle by Cummings on Ioan Nicholas putting the home team back in front.

But Warriors now had the bit between their teeth, and the tournament’s top try-scorer, Johnny Matthews, announced his arrival off the bench by dotting down off the back if a powerful maul. That was his seventh try in this Challenge Cup campaign and his 13th of the season.

This time Warriors kept their foot on the gas and moved further ahead when Darge muscled over from close range.

Scarlets rallied and spent a long spell between the 60th and the 75th minute camped deep inside Warriors 22, but Warriors weathered the storm and finished with a flourish when Ali Price sent McDowall over with a neat inside pass.


Scorers –

Scarlets - Try: Evens. Pens: Costelow 4.

Glasgow Warriors - Tries; McDowall 2, Horne, Matthews, Darge. Cons: Horne 5.

Scarlets: J McNicholl; SteffEvans, J Roberts, J Williams (I Nicholas. 7), R Cobneer; S Costelow, G Davies (K Hardy 54(); W Jones (K Mathias 54), K Owens (Shaun Evans 72), J Sebastian (S Wainwright 4), M Jones (C Tuipulotu 35), S Lousi, J MacLeod, D Davis, V Fifita (I Rees 48).

Glasgow: O Smith; S Cancelliere (S Berghan 72), S Tuipulotu,  S McDowall, K Steyn; T Jordan (D Weir 79), G Horne (A Price 72); J Bhatti (N McBeth 46), G Turner (J Matthews, 46), Z Fagerson, S Cummings (R Wilson 79), S Du Preez, R Darge, S Vailanu (M Fagerson 51), J Dempsey (L Bean 72). 

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Attendance: 13,077