Glasgow Warriors were robbed of the most breathtaking win against Exeter in the Champions Cup by referee Pierre Brousset’s whistle. 

Glasgow led from the tenth minute until the 77th when Zak Wimbush’s try and Henry Slade’s subsequent conversion gave the hosts a 19-17 lead but Warriors looked to have won it at the death. With the clock in the red, Exeter had a scrum deep in their 22 but George Horne pressurised Ross Vincent to scuff his clearance kick and Euan Ferrie pounced to score his first-ever try. 

Glasgow, understandably, celebrated wildly but Brousset broke their hearts with a scandalous decision. The French referee adjudged that Ferrie had released from his bind, despite his opposite man Ethan Roots doing the exact same, and the try was disallowed. Glasgow picked up the losing bonus points to preserve their qualification hopes but it was little consolation after losing in a hugely controversial fashion

Former Scotland international Ryan Wilson couldn’t comprehend the decision on punditry duties, but Franco Smith delivered a more measured response despite feeling aggrieved. 

He said: "I think it would have been good to have won it that way, but not to be. It's always tough, both played had shoulders off [the scrum]. "I'm not going to criticise that, we shouldn't have given the last try away and in the second half, we weren't at it as much as the first half.

"It's more about what they did than what we did. Compliments to Exeter, they worked hard and played well. They did get our under skin. [Next week] is not really make or break for us. We'll kick on from today. There was some excellent stuff; it's a pity not to get the away win at a difficult place to come to."

Ferrie’s try wasn’t the only moment of controversy, with the first arriving after just ten minutes with Brousset’s decision to brandish just a yellow card towards Greg Fisilau ultimately shaping the result. Glasgow would be completely justified to feel aggrieved that Fisilau avoided a red card for a high tackle on Duncan Weir. The TMO adjudged that Weir - who required a HIA assessment - dipped into the tackle but it was a borderline call that went against the visitors.

Glasgow took advantage of their man advantage as George Horne kicked the first points of the game to establish a three-point lead. Franco Smith reiterated pre-match that Glasgow would need to be accurate to claim a famous win in Devon but they spurned numerous opportunities when Exeter were down to 14 men. 

Ally Miller has enjoyed a renaissance in his Glasgow career in recent weeks and he showcased his impressive pace to burst down the wing on 18 minutes. The flanker popped the ball off to George Horne, who looked destined to score but he took his eye off the ball and fumbled with the try-line beckoning. 

While Glasgow were guilty of passing up good opportunities, they were also unfortunate on several occasions with the bounce of the ball preventing them from scoring with Josh McKay particularly unlucky deep in Exeter’s two. 

Glasgow’s luck, however, completely switched when Kyle Rowe benefitted from a horrendous Exeter error to score the first try of the afternoon. Glasgow are renowned for not kicking possession away but they troubled Exeter with their surprise tactic in the first half, which ultimately led to Rowe’s opener. 

Horne dinked a kick in behind the Exeter defence but Ben Hammersley collected. However, Hammersley inexplicably tried to kick the ball clear but it arrowed straight into Rowe’s hands and the winger eased over the line with Weir adding the conversation to make it 10-0. 

Glasgow dominated possession and territory in the first half as they kept England star Henry Slade quiet but Exeter ramped up the pressure as half-time approached after being returned to their full complement. After Tom Wyatt’s try was disallowed for a knock-on and Stafford McDowall denied Wyatt with a brilliant tackle, Exeter finally reduced the deficit with the clock in the red. 

Glasgow produced a herculean defensive effort to repel the hosts but their resilience caved when Vermuelen smashed over with Slade kicking the extras to make it 10-7 at the break.

It was a tense start to the second half with the scoreline and both sides were guilty of making uncharacteristic handling errors as the game continued in scrappy fashion but  Glasgow illuminated an arduous encounter with a simply breathtaking try on 56 minutes.

 It started with Duncan Weir’s flat pass to release Scott Cummings and the lock trundled forward before offloading to Horne. The Warriors scrum-half’s pass wide was collected superbly by McKay before he found captain Sione Tuipulotu to sidestep one defender to score his first-ever try in the Champions Cup.

Weir added a brilliant conversation to establish a ten-point advantage before Glasgow fielded an Exeter bombardment as the English side attempted a fightback. Glasgow repelled the hosts but they eventually scored when Dan Frost bundled over but Slade missed the conversation and the visitors retained a five-point lead. 

That advantage appeared to have been overturned when second-row Lewis Pearson sent an incredible left-footed kick into Zack Wimbush to score but the try was chalked off for a knock-on after a review.

The tension was palpable in the closing five minutes and Wimbush eventually scored his try with just three minutes remaining to tie the scores and Slade kicked the conversion to put Exeter ahead before the late controversy.

Exeter Chiefs: Wyatt, Feyi-Waboso, Slade, O'Loughlin, Hammersley, Skinner, Cairns; Hepburn, Yeandle (c), Painter, Tuima, Pearson, Roots, Vermeulen, Fisilau.

Replacements: Frost, Abuladze, Iosefa-Scott, Postlethwaite, Vintcent, Townsend, Hawkins, Wimbush.

Tries: Vermeulen, Frost, Wimbush


Yellow: Fisilau

Glasgow Warriors: McKay, Jones, Tuipulotu (c), McDowall, Rowe, Weir, Horne; Kebble, Hiddleston, Z Fagerson, Cummings, Samuel, Miller, M Fagerson, Venter.

Replacements: Turner, Bhatti, Sordoni, Gray, Williamson, Ferrie, Afshar, Jordan.

Tries: Rowe, Tuipulotu 

Penalty: Horne