Glasgow Warriors v Dragons: heartbreak for hosts after dramatic finale

Glasgow Warriors head coach Danny Wilson Danny Wilson defends Brandon Thomson after injury-time horror miss

Ryan Wilson of Glasgow Warriors, Sam Davies and Jamie Roberts of the Dragons, in action. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ryan Wilson of Glasgow Warriors, Sam Davies and Jamie Roberts of the Dragons, in action. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Glasgow Warriors 22

Dragons 23

DANNY WILSON refused to lay the blame for Glasgow Warriors last-gasp defeat here on Brandon Thomson, who missed a conversion from almost directly in front of the posts which would have edged his team into a one-point lead with the game already in deep into overtime.

Warriors trailed by six points from just before the hour mark but mounted a pulsating late rally during the final 10 minutes and finally got their reward when a breathless final passage of play – stretching to 36 phases – culminated with a penalty on the Dragons’ line in the third minute of injury time, which replacement hooker Johnny Matthews took as a quick tap to rumble over the try-line.

That left Thomson with a routine conversion, but he sclaffed his shot at goal to hit the post – passing up a golden  opportunity for his team to pick up a morale-boosting win which would have propelled them right back into the PRO14 play-off race.

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“It is a tough one to swallow, there’s no doubt about that – but, look, we didn’t play well enough tonight,” said head coach Wilson. “I’ve praised this group and I’ve said that I think we’ve improved from week to week to week from a new group coming together, but that’s not the case tonight.

“We didn’t play well enough in the second half to put anything on Brandon’s shoulders,” he added. “That was a performance where we didn’t have enough pressure to turn into points due to lack of field position – and it all comes down to poor discipline. That’s the story – that’s what we’ve got to focus on – and that’s where we’ve got to be better.

“You saw at the end there that when we did get field position and were able to build pressure we came away with a good try after a lot of phases, but ultimately we weren’t good enough in that second half and we didn’t therefore deserve the win – so credit to the Dragons.”

The visitors took a fifth minute lead through a clever set-piece move which involved winger Jared Rosser bursting through the middle on an inside pass and racing home from halfway to set up an easy conversion for Sam Davies.

Despite losing Harrison Keddie to the sin-bin for killing the ball at a ruck, the visitors continued to look the more likely of the two sides, and they stretched the gap to 10 points when Davies slotted an offside penalty.

No sooner were Dragons back to 15 men than they lost another player to the sin-bin when Jack Dixon flattened Nick Grigg with a no-arms tackle, and this time Warriors made the numerical advantage count by scoring two quick-fire tries to establish a four-point half time lead.

The first of those scores came via flanker Fotu Lokotui, who spun out of a line-out maul and powered over the line, and the second arrived after Grigg broke the line and scrum-half Sean Kennedy appeared on his shoulder to finish the move off. Pete Horne fired home both conversions.


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Dragons bounced back at the start of the second half when South African prop Brok Harris rumbled over from close range, and while Warriors managed to square it with another Horne penalty, the game was beginning to drift away from them.

Davies pushed Dragons into a six-point lead with his second penalty of the night followed by a huge drop-goal – and it went from bad to worse for Warriors when winger Lee Jones was sent to the cooler for a deliberate knock-on.

Ratu Tagive was lucky not to follow Jones onto the naughty step for taking out opposite number Rosser in the air, and it was looking increasingly like a lost cause for the home team until they finally managed to mount that late rally – but it wasn’t to be.

It will come of scant consolation to Warriors that they outscored their opponents 3-2 in the try count, or that they picked up a losing bonus point.

“We’re now going into a period where we’ve got 12 internationals coming back to us,” concluded Wilson. “We need to gel those guys back into the group as quickly as possible to be able to go Exeter away – European Champions way from home is now our next challenge.”

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Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: G Bryce; L Jones, N Grigg, R Fergusson, N Matawalu (R Tagive 62); P Horne (B Thomson 65), S Kennedy (J Dobie 60); A Seiuli (A Allan 62-69), G Stewart (J Matthews 69), E Pieretto (D Rae 55-69), L Bean, K McDonald, R Harley, F Lokotui (T Ioane 48), R Wilson.

Dragons: J Lewis; J Rosser, J Dixon (N Tompkins 56), J Roberts, A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams; B Harris (C Maguire 62), E Shipp (R Hibbard 56), A Jarvis, B Carter (J Maksymiw 56), M Screech, H Keddie, T Basham (H Taylor 52), O Griffiths.

Referee: Chris Busby

 

Scorers –

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Lokotui, Kennedy, Matthews; Cons: Horne 2; Pen: Horne.

Dragons: Tries: Rosser, Harris; Cons: James 2; Pen: James 2; DG: James.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-10; 5-10; 7-10; 12-10; 14-10 (h-t) 14-15; 14-17; 17-17; 17-20; 17-23; 22-23.
Yellow cards –

Glasgow: Jones

Dragons: Keddie, Dixon


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3 Comments

  1. Got to feel for Thomson.
    It happens.
    Like a player missing a penalty in a penalty shoot out.
    There are frustrations.
    But there are some positives…
    …Grant Stewart playing better each week, Kiran McDonald taking lots of responsibility and carrying well, Johnny Matthews being brave enough to have a go with final tap and go penalty, Robbie Fergusson solid.

    Would like to have seen more of youngsters like Thornton, Dobie and McLean in this stretch but maybe it is better they are introduced in the company of the internationals

  2. Only managed to watch 1st half , but it was a much the same as all our other defeats. We have now lost to all the Irish clubs and two of the Welsh clubs. It just does not look like the Glasgow of old , in fact it looks like a Welsh club of old. The coach seems to be very able at making excuses but not in fixing the situation. In the previous seasons our non-international part of the squad has all ways done well during the international break , not any more , and this group has had a good few internationals within it, Jones L & H, P Horne , Grigg , Nico , Wilson and Harley. Yet still they look a shadow of their former selves. Yes the internationals will return for next week , against Exeter at home, but I cannot see them getting any result from that game, who will play 10. Our cost cutting has finally caught up with us, from the coach on downwards. Can I just say one word about our two hookers Turner and Stewart who are are never given enough of a go but to me are both really good players.

    • Thought Grant Stewart was excellent on Saturday. On that form he is an contender for the Scotland jersey but he has to overcome being 3rd choice when the current internationalists are back. Difficult spot to be in.

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