Newport Gwent Dragons v Glasgow Warriors
A ruthless eight try performance from Glasgow Warriors wracked up their biggest ever win as they put the Dragons to the sword at Rodney Parade, 3-60.
The curious statistic of no Scottish side having won at the ground since 2008 was swept away as Gregor Townsend’s team ran amok in South Wales. Two tries from second row Tim Swinson and debut scores for Mark Bennett, Fraser Thomson and Taylor Paris helped the Warriors to the record-breaking tally.
Townsend said afterward: “We had prepared very well for this game and we were prepared for a tough encounter but the way the guys clicked tonight was tremendous. I’m very proud of the way they played.
“We took our chances very well and scored three in the first half which really put us in control.
“I thought we were actually a bit sloppy at the start of the second half but delighted with the way we pressed forward and delighted with the players who put their hand up and put in a performance.”
There was little to hint at what was to come as the Dragons took the lead with a first minute penalty. Tom Prydie slotting over as the Warriors were pinged early on. Duncan Weir leveled things back up just two minutes later however and that was the final time that the Dragons were close to catching their visitors.
With a quarter of an hour gone and after some confident work through the phases, the ball was released early and Warriors on-loan centre Mark Bennett dummied and cut through the defence to motor under the posts. Weir, deadly with the boot all night, slotted the first of his perfect five from five kicking record.
The Warriors were further in front lead four minutes later. Henry Pyrgos nudged a kick over the top of the ruck and the chasing Niko Matawalu pounced higher than the defender to capitalise on a fortunate bounce of the ball. Weir again added the extras and the Dragons were 17-3 down after 20 minutes.
Home full-back Dan Evans knocked on in his own 22 and from the resulting scrum Townsend's side went were at half-time 27-3 up. Alex Dunbar, hugely impressive all night, scored after a switch with Weir - a slick training ground move that paid off handsomely.
The Dragons came bursting out of the blocks at the start of the second half but they failed to come away with any points. With 58 minutes on the clock the floodgates opened. Again from first-phase ball Alex Dunbar slipped through several tackles and offloaded to substitute Taylor Paris, the Canadian flyer’s turn of pace clearly a surprise for his defenders and he seared past three of them to touch down for his first Warriors score.
Tim Swinson then went over as the forwards looked to get in on the act, and Josh Strauss was on the receiving end of some more slick handling to register the sixth score of the night. Swinson crossed again for his second as the Dragons were left floundering at the wave of Warriors putting them to the sword.
Fraser Thomson, another debutant scorer, was on hand to round off another flowing move and Wight kicked the extras to make it a perfect 60 on the board in South Wales.
The Warriors now face Ulster next week at Scotstoun Stadium in what is a crucial top of the table clash.
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Owen Evans 2 Hugh Gustafson 3 Nathan Buck 4 Ian Nimmo 5 Adam Jones 6 Lewis Evans (captain) 7 Nic Cudd 8 Ieuan Jones
Substitutes: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Nathan Williams, 19 Josh Tyler, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Adam Hughes, 23 Hallam Amos
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie (Sub, Thomson 66), 14 Niko Matawalu,13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir (Sub Wight 66), 9 Henry Pyrgos (Sub, Paris 58); 1 Gordon Reid (Sub, Fainga’anuku 58), 2 Pat MacArthur (Sub, Price 64), 3 Jon Welsh (Sub, Kalman 64), 4 Tim Swinson, 5 Tom Ryder (Sub, Gray 61), 6 James Eddie Sub, Strauss 51), 7 John Barclay, 8 Ryan Wilson (captain).
Substitutes: 16 Gerwyn Price,17 Ofa Fainga'anuku,18 Ed Kalman, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Taylor Paris, 22 Scott Wight, 23 Fraser Thomson
Ref Claudio Blessano