Glasgow Warriors V Dragons Rugby
Glasgow Warriors returned to winning ways at Scotstoun this evening, overpowering the Dragons for a 29-13 victory.
The home side ran in five tries to claim a well-deserved try bonus-point, with Lee Jones grabbing a brace on his first start of the season.
Playing in front of the Warrior Nation for the first time in three weeks, Glasgow wasted no time in making their presence felt. Strong defence led to a turnover from which Adam Hastings accelerated through a gap, with his looping pass finding Niko Matawalu out wide. The Fijian’s last-ditch offload just evaded Huw Jones, however, with the visitors receiving an early reprieve.
The Dragons’ respite was to be short-lived, though. Having spent the vast majority of the opening exchanges in the visitors’ territory, Glasgow were eventually rewarded with the opening try, as Oli Kebble crashed over the line to score his first try in Warriors colours. Hastings made no mistake with the conversion, and the hosts led 7-0.
That lead was cut almost immediately, with Dragons fly-half Arwel Robson knocking over a penalty following a Glasgow indiscretion at the breakdown to make it 7-3, before his second successful penalty of the evening on 21 minutes made it a one-point game.
With the half wearing on, however, it was once more the Warriors that looked the most likely to score. Only a superb cover tackle from Dafydd Howells prevented Matawalu from crossing out wide on 34 minutes, following a classy outside arc from Huw Jones.
The second try was almost inevitable, and it arrived with three minutes left in the half. Hastings was once again the catalyst, slicing through the Dragons defence before popping a pass basketball-style to Lee Jones. The winger showed great footwork to beat the last man, touching down for the score. For the first time this season, Hastings was unsuccessful from the tee as his conversion struck the upright, leaving the Warriors’ lead standing at 12-6 at the half-time interval.
Once again, it was Glasgow that were the quickest out of the blocks at the kick-off, recording their third try just two minutes into the second period. Camped in the Dragons 22, a half-break and offload from Alex Dunbar saw Lee Jones scamper over for his second score of the evening. Hastings was again unable to add the extras, meaning the scoreline read 17-6 in favour of the hosts.
However, once again, the Dragons hit back with an immediate reply. This time, the response took the form of the visitors’ first try of the evening, as Adam Warren capitalised on a Warriors mistake to hack the ball forward and touch down. Josh Lewis, on for the injured Robson, converted, taking the score to 17-13 with 47 minutes gone.
Dave Rennie’s men knew that a bonus point was within their reach, though, and duly set about in pursuit of the crucial fourth try. A quick tap from Ali Price gave the Warriors field position in the Dragons 22, before recycling the ball through the phases as they probed for the gap in the defensive line. When it was found, Huw Jones was the man to exploit it, with the Scotland centre accelerating through the opening to dive over for his first try at Scotstoun. Despite the try going unconverted, the lead was now nine points as the game entered the final quarter.
The home side rang the changes on 64 minutes, including the introduction of Andrew Davidson into the second row for his competitive debut in a Warriors shirt.
As the clock wound down the men in black went in search of one last score to add a final gloss to proceedings. With two minutes remaining, it was delivered in style. Co-captain Ryan Wilson broke the line before offloading to George Horne, with the replacement scrum-half feeding Alex Dunbar for a simple run to the line. Hastings converted, the finishing touch to a 29-13 victory.
With the home crowd sent home with a smile on their faces, Glasgow will be looking to do it all again in just six days’ time, with Zebre the next visitors to Scotstoun this coming Friday.