Glasgow Warriors v Newport Gwent Dragons
It was a man-of-the-match performance for Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu, with stand-off Scott Wight putting in an equally impressive shift, which saw the pair command, the game from the start.
Winning the bonus point, the hosts' tries came from full-back Peter Murchie, prop Gordon Reid, lock Tom Ryder and a brace from winger Tommy Seymour. Wight complemented their efforts with three conversions and two penalties.
Glasgow Warriors head coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “The Dragons really came out and played tonight.
“We expected them to kick more but you could really see the work we put into our defensive and this has put us in a good position, in the table, going forward.
“Niko fully deserved his start at nine and it was clear he was working really hard on his game. He is always the last player off the training pitch and his performance tonight was electric.”
The opening minutes of the game saw some tasty play as both sides adjusted to the cold. The home side were the first to get points on the board, thanks to the boot of fly-half Wight.
It fell to the visitors though to make the first sustained attack of the night, ten minutes in, and there were worrying moments as the Dragons threw everything at the Warriors line in an attempt to break through. However, the home side held firm.
Scrum-half Matawalu had the chance to showcase his skills as he went on the attack against the visitors, his swift offload to winger Taylor Paris had the crowd cheering as the Warriors edged closer to the line, but it was not to be, as Paris’s run was stifled by the visitors.
Moments later, the crowd were back on their feet, as Murchie dived over the line, in the far corner, for the first try of the night. Wight added the extras and the Warriors went 10-0 up in the opening 20 minutes.
Five minutes later, Matawalu crossed the whitewash, for what appeared to be the Warriors second try, but the referee deemed the ball had gone forward.
This did not deter the home side though, and as they nullified an attack down the wing from the Dragons, the forwards began to gain the yards. It fell to Reid who spotted the gap. The Dragons were caught napping as he darted through and claimed the points from a run that started 30 metres out. Wight made it 3 from 3 and took the score to 17-0 as the game approached the half hour mark.
Dragons winger, Tom Prydie was able to get the visitors onto the board with a successful penalty kick a few minutes later, when the Warriors were penalised at the breakdown.
As the first half closed out, Wight and Prydie exchanged penalties to take the half-time score to 20-6.
Half-time: Glasgow Warriors 20-6 Newport Gwent Dragons
The second-half started with a bang, as Ryder was able to take a massive driving effort from the forwards to the line and claim the try. Even without the extra points, the home side had a comfortable 19 point lead, and were chasing the bonus point try.
As the game approached the 55 minute mark, the changes for the home side began, with try scorers Ryder and Reid being replaced by James Eddie and Ofa Fainga’anuku.
The crowd were on their feet as Matawalu was brought down off of the ball, and there were some worrying moments for the fans, as it appeared the injury list could grow. But, the scrum-half showed he is made of stern stuff by getting straight back into the game and setting up right wing Seymour for a fantastic bonus point try.
Not content with just the one try, Seymour ran over the line for the fifth try of the night. After the ball fell to him, he chipped it forward and gave chase. It was almost collected by the Dragons full-back, Dan Evans, but it bounced out of his hands and into Seymour’s for the score. The conversion was straight-forward for Wight. Taking the score to 37-6, which it remained until full-time, despite numerous attempts by the Dragons to get over the line.
Full-time: Glasgow Warriors 37-6 Newport Gwent Dragons
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie; 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Taylor Paris; 10 Scott Wight, 9 Niko Matawalu; 1 Gordon Reid, 2 Dougie Hall, 3 Mike Cusack, 4 Tom Ryder, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Rob Harley, 7 Chris Fusaro (CAPTAIN), 8 Josh Strauss
Substitutes: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ofa Fainga’anuku, 18 German Araoz, 19 James Eddie, 20 John Barclay, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Peter Horne
Dragons: 15 Dan Evans; 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Tom Prydie; 10 Lewis Robling, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Phil Price, 2 Steve Jones, 3 Nathan Buck, 4 Ian Nimmo, 5 Rob Sidoli, 6 Lewis Evans (CAPTAIN), 7 Nic Cudd, 8 Tom Brown.
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Nathan Williams, 18 Dan Way, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Hallam Amos
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR