Dragons 26-17 Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors suffered a disappointing defeat at the Principality Stadium this afternoon, as the Dragons made the most of their opportunities to claim a 26-17 victory in the all-Conference A clash.

Rufus McLean’s scintillating solo score was ultimately in vain for the visitors, with Fraser Brown also touching down on his return to action after four months on the sidelines.

In the spring sunshine at Wales’ national stadium, both sides looked to express themselves early on. Glasgow’s initial attack almost resulted in a score for Thomas Gordon, before a Dragons turnover saw Ashton Hewitt almost go coast-to-coast were it not for the defensive scrambling of Lee Jones.

It would be the hosts who opened the scoring with six minutes on the clock, as Sam Davies made no mistake from straight in front after Glasgow were penalised at the breakdown. Yet the hosts would soon find themselves down a man, after Ben Fry’s no-arms tackle on Enrique Pieretto.

In his absence, the Warriors struck for their opening score. After successive penalties were kicked to touch, Richie Gray’s lineout win seven metres out gave the Glasgow pack the platform they desired. On his return to the starting XV, Brown was the man to be bundled over the try-line, Adam Hastings converting from the touchline for a 7-3 lead.

Hastings would soon find himself in the referee’s bad books just moments later, however; his high tackle on Hewitt saw the full-back quickly dispatched to join Fry in the sin-bin, as Davies narrowed the gap to a single point with the resulting penalty.

The home side then thought they’d taken the lead on 24 minutes as Dragons scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou celebrated after diving over in the corner from a quickly-taken penalty. Upon closer inspection from the TMO, however, the Argentinian was adjudged to have lost control of the ball before grounding, with the hosts having to console themselves with a third successful kick from Davies just before the half-hour mark.

Then came McLean’s moment of magic. It looked like nothing was on when a lineout was batted back by Rob Harley, but on the bounce Sean Kennedy fed the Glasgow flyer. Two rapid sidesteps later, and McLean was in the clear, his lightning-quick acceleration eating up the Cardiff turf. A sumptuous sidestep took him around Hewitt, top-end speed took his outside arc around Jordan Williams, and a grin as wide as the Clyde accompanied his dive over the whitewash. Hastings added the extras for good measure, as the Warrior Nation took to social media to re-live the score over and over again.

It wasn’t to be the last action of the half, though. With the clock ticking past 40 minutes, an infringement from the Dragons gave Hastings the opportunity to add three more points from 45 metres. It was a chance he duly took, giving the Warriors a 17-9 lead at the interval.

Knowing that they needed a victory to keep their hopes of overhauling their opponents alive going into their final match, the Dragons came out fighting in the second stanza. Were it not for obstruction by Ross Moriarty, the hosts would have been rewarded for their efforts with an opening try on 43 minutes. Instead, the score was chalked off, with play coming back for an earlier penalty and Ryan Wilson being sent to the sin-bin.

The Warriors held firm during their disadvantage, however. With the Dragons banging on the door, crucial turnovers by Aki Seiuli and Richie Gray ensured that the whitewash remained unbroken. A fourth successful penalty from Davies narrowed the gap on 50 minutes, as Wilson returned to the field moments later thanks to canny game management from Hastings and Thompson.

Yet on the hour, the hosts finally broke through. Off first-phase ball, Jordan Williams did well to reel in a pass that was behind him and slice through the defensive line, before having enough pace to touch down under pressure from the covering McLean. Davies’ conversion gave the Dragons the lead, and meant the visitors were going to have to chase the game in the final quarter.

The challenge was made even tougher with 14 minutes to play, as the Dragons consolidated their advantage. Successive penalties gave the home side an attacking platform in the Glasgow 22, and just a few phases later Matthew Screech was the man to touch down for the score. Davies converted, and the hosts led 26-17.

With the match on the line, the Warriors set up camp in the Dragons 22. Time and again, the Glasgow pack hammered away at the try-line, with Brown and Fotu Lokotui to the fore. Yet the home side’s defence held firm, and when Jamie Dobie was bundled into touch by Hewitt, the game was up.

Disappointment for Glasgow, but there will be no time to wallow in what should have been. A six-day turnaround awaits, as Benetton visit Scotstoun next Saturday for the final match of the Guinness PRO14 season.

live commentary 3:00 PM Sunday 21 Mar 2021

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Kick-off 3:00 PM

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