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Townsend proud of beaten Glasgow

Proud Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend hailed his side's second-half performance in their 51-28 defeat to Toulon and even felt at one stage that a stunning comeback victory over the Heineken Cup champions might be on the cards.

Glasgow looked dead and buried at half-time at the Stade Felix Mayol after star-studded Toulon raced into a 34-0 lead on the back of tries from France centre Maxime Mermoz (two), Delon Armitage and Chris Masoe.

However, the visitors battled back superbly after the interval and ran in four tries of their own in 22 minutes to find themselves within 13 points of their opponents with 20 minutes to go.

It was not to be a fairytale finale for the Scottish side though as Toulon rode out the storm before Matt Giteau's second try of the match late on ensured the home side would start the defence of their Heineken Cup crown on a winning note.

Despite the loss, Townsend heaped praise on his players for the way they responded from their first-half mauling.

He said: "Our goal today was to show who we were. We did that in the second half. It wasn't us in the first. And if you stand off a good team like Toulon, that's what happens to you.

"To get a bonus point was a huge effort from the boys and I'm very proud of them. With 10 minutes to go, if a few passes had stuck, we could have been close to winning."

The former Scotland and Lions back felt his team might have been affected by the occasion early on, which allowed Toulon to get off to their flier.

He said: "The first half is difficult to explain, the whole excitement got to us as a group, the atmosphere... we forgot to focus on doing our individual tasks.

"And if you don't slow down a team like Toulon, they're going to cut you apart. They played some great rugby."

Glasgow's second-half revival came after Canada wing DTH van der Merwe was introduced at half-time and Niko Matawalu moved off the wing to scrum-half.

They made a massive impact and scored three of the four tries between them.

Townsend added: "I wouldn't have signed for a bonus point before the game, but I would have at half-time. We approach every game with the belief that if we play our best, we can be a match for anyone. We didn't take a shot at goal in the whole game.

"The guys really performed well, the subs that came on were fantastic. That helped put Toulon under pressure, and the tries we scored were cracking tries."

Townsend, 40, knows there are things his team need to improve on though ahead of next weekend's visit of Exeter Chiefs.

"We'll look at what we could have done better, from the coaches and the players, to make sure the first half performance doesn't happen again," he said.

"Next week is going to be a huge challenge. I've watched Exeter the last couple of days and their last performance against Gloucester was outstanding. They won again today. It shows they're in great form."


From Belfast Telegraph