Glasgow Warriors 34
GLASGOW’s play-off hopes received a double boost tonight as they claimed a bonus-point win over the Dragons while Conference A rivals Cheetahs lost in Belfast. That puts the Warriors third in the conference, and while there is still a long way to go before a top-three place is secure, they continue to head firmly in the right direction after a sticky start to the season.
It was by no means the free-flowing performance that the Warriors had enjoyed against Zebre a week earlier, but the nature of the opposition as well as the tough conditions made it a more commendable performance. Grant Stewart got two of his team’s five tries from lineout mauls, Tim Swinson, Huw Jones and Mesu Dolokoto chipped in with one apiece, and Peter Horne added two conversions and a penalty.
“I thought our lineout drive was excellent. In the second half we just had to hang on to a bit of ball and apply pressure, and in the end that pressure told.”
It was a harsh lesson for Dobie on his first start for the Warriors after half a dozen appearances off the bench, but the 18-year-old soon made a more positive contribution with a massive clearance kick after a Dragons attack had been turned over. The visitors were unable to clear their lines properly, and eventually, after a penalty had been sent to touch, Tim Swinson powered his way over for the Warriors’ opening score, converted by Peter Horne.
Both teams lost their tightheads for 10 minutes when Oli Kebble and Lloyd Fairbrother were yellow-carded – the latter for pinning Kebble to the ground, the Glasgow player for retaliating with a slap to the face. Advantage having been played, the game restarted with a Warriors penalty which went to touch, and from the lineout maul Stewart put his side ahead with a straightforward score, again converted by his stand-off.
After a brief hold-up for an injury to Leone Nakarawa which ended the forward’s evening, a Horne penalty extended the home team’s lead. A 10-point half-time lead was by no means a comfortable cushion given the strength of the wind, and Glasgow began the second half far more assertively than they had the first.
After Ratu Tagive had just failed to score, Stewart got his own second and his team’s third from a lineout maul.
Glasgow continued to play enterprising running rugby in search of the bonus-point try, but before they had a real chance to get it – and just after Ewan McQuillan had come on in place of Kebble for his Glasgow debut – Dragons got their second. A lineout again set up the platform, with Sam Davies and Ellis Shipp combining to put Williams through between the posts, making Davies’ conversion a simple matter.
That put the outcome in doubt, but with quarter of an hour to go Glasgow got the bonus point. Seiuli and Dobie were again involved in the break, and Huw Jones was up in support to score an unconverted try.
Dragons still refused to lie down, and minutes later Joe Davies charged down a clearance by substitute Nick Frisby, allowing Ashton Hewitt to collect and score. The conversion attempt was wide, leaving the gap at eight points as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
But when it mattered, Glasgow upped the power again. Dragons replacement Josh Reynolds was sinbinned two minutes from time, and Mesu Dolokoto rounded the night off with the Warriors’ fifth try.
Glasgow Warriors: G Bryce; T Seymour, H Jones, N Grigg, R Tagive (N Matawalu 66); P Horne, J Dobie (N Frisby 66); A Seiuli (A Allan 66), G Stewart (M Dolokoto 66), O Kebble (E Mcquillan 55), R Harley (A Davidson 72), T Swinson, L Nakarawa (C Fusaro 31), C Gibbins (captain), R Wilson.
Dragons: J Goodchild, J Rosser, A Warren, J Dixon, A Hewitt, S Davies, R Williams (captain); B Harris (A Jarvis 38), E Shipp (R Lawrence 66), L Fairbrother (J Reynolds 58), J Davies (M Williams 72), M Screech, H Taylor (T Basham 48), O Griffiths, H Keddie.
Referee: S Gallagher (Ireland).
Scorers: Glasgow: Tries: Swinson, Stewart 2, Jones, Dolokoto. Cons: Horne 3. Pen: Horne.
Dragons: Tries: R Williams 2, J Davies. Cons: S Davies 2.
Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-5, 0-7, 5-7, 7-7, 12-7, 14-7, 17-7 half-time, 22-7, 22-12, 22-14, 27-14, 27-19, 32-19, 34-19.
Yellow cards: Glasgow: Kebble. Dragons: Fairbrother, Reynolds.