Glasgow Warriors 37-6 Newport Gwent Dragons: Warriors nearer summit with win
GLASGOW hoisted a new standard with a record sixth consecutive league win tonight as their new Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu announced himself the new Scotstoun star.
Three tries in the first 45 minutes effectively ended the Dragons’ fight as a solid all-round team performance by the Warriors served to highlight the gulf of nine places that now exists between the teams in the RaboDirect PRO12, with Glasgow second at least until the Scarlets face Zebre tomorrow. It was particularly encouraging for Scottish rugby on a night when Edinburgh were suffering in Belfast, as the Dragons are a notoriously difficult side for Glasgow to beat, and notably at this time when the Scots lose a core of internationalists and the fourth-ranked Welsh province remain virtually intact.
The scrum and lineout was secure, former Scotland U21 lock Ian Nimmo enduring a frustrating night in the Dragons pack, Matawalu slick and fly-half Scott Wight tactically astute. There were times when the hosts were sloppy, stepping off the pace in their defensive line and chasing kicks, but that was when they had the game tightly wrapped up, and while a couple of scores had slices of good fortune they also stemmed from Warriors’ ambition and pressure.
Matawalu, the Fijian, was making his first start in his accustomed position of scrum-half, having filled in on the wing due to injuries before tonight, and he sparked the first opportunity with a break from a scrum inside his own half. It brought a penalty with less than eight minutes played and his half-back partner Wight stepped up and stroked it firmly between the uprights from nearly 50 metres.
The Dragons tried to find a way into the game but lacked pace and bite in attack to turn possession into a real threat, and when Glasgow rolled back into the Dragons half they found another gear. It brought the reward of a try before the end of the first quarter.
Behind a pack on top, Matawalu was posing innumerable questions of the Dragons with darting runs, a sublime flip pass off the ground and ability to spot holes typical of his sevens background. His team-mates responded to push on into the Dragons half, and when Wight moved the ball wide right Peter Murchie came into the line at pace and delivered a sublime grubber kick through the advancing Welsh defence.
The full-back continued his run and when covering centre Ashley Smith over-ran the ball, Murchie was there to dive on it over the visitors’ line. Wight converted and the Dragons’ cause was further hampered as skipper Lewis Evans was forced off with a blood injury, though later to return, and veteran cap Robert Sidoli followed minutes later and stayed off.
Wight continued to underline his claim to be the form stand-off in Scotland, varying the attack with good kicking and short and long passes that maintained the momentum. Glasgow looked to have scored a fine second try through Josh Strauss after 20 minutes, but referee Marius Mitrea ruled it out for a forward pass from Alex Dunbar to the No8.
Tom Prydie fell short with a penalty attempt from halfway, and then prop Gordon Reid stunned Scotstoun, picking up the ball in a ruck on the Dragons ten-metre line, sprinting through a gap and holding off the cover to dive in by the posts. The loosehead had earlier received lengthy treatment for injury, but showed no ill-effects in a fine 35-40-metre sprint.
Rob Harley was a constant thorn in the Dragons side, working well with Chris Fusaro
and Strauss in a commanding back row display, but the flanker was dubiously penalised by
the Italian official at a ruck, which allowed Prydie to
open the Dragons account on the half-hour.
The Warriors front five were similarly in control and a scrum penalty let Wight restore the 17-point lead at the break and within four minutes of the restart lock Tom Ryder had pushed Glasgow into a three-score lead, finishing off a series of forward drives in the Dragons 22.
At 25-6 to Glasgow, the game lost its sting and it seemed only a matter of time before the Warriors scored a fourth try, and claimed the bonus point. Matawalu continued to entertain, Tommy Seymour injected pace coming off the right wing, and the front row of Reid, Dougie Hall and Mike Cusack showed themselves to carry ball. Ryder and Reid came off to rousing Scotstoun acclaim, and they were probably happy to be heading inside as the game continued to deteriorate.
However, Matawalu had other ideas. He had been penalised for offside and smacked in the face by Dragons replacement lock Adam Jones, but it did not deter him and after a fine break off a scrum free-kick, the Fijian flipped another wonderful pass into the air for Seymour to collect and streak through a gap for the fourth try just after the hour-mark.
As if to underline Glasgow’s influence on the game, Seymour scored again with 12 minutes to go when his long kick ahead came back off a post protector, leaving Dragons full-back Dan Evans stranded, and Seymour gleefully diving on the ball. As Wight converted, Matawalu took his leave of proceedings, to a deserved standing ovation and, unsurprising, ‘Man of the Match’ award.
Tim Swinson also made an early exit, to a yellow card for what seemed to be a maul infringement, but the crowd was on its feet again to acclaim No8 Ryan Wilson, who came off the bench for Strauss to make his 50th Glasgow appearance, and Seymour was denied a hat-trick score in the final seconds by an earlier infringement.
Scorers: Glasgow: Try – Murchie, Reid, Ryder, Seymour 2; Pens – Wight 2; Cons – Wight 3. Dragons: Pens – Prydie 2.
Glasgow: P Murchie; T Seymour, A Dunbar, T Nathan, T Paris; S Wight, N Matawalu; G Reid, D Hall, M Cusack, T Ryder, T Swinson, R Harley, C Fusaro (capt), J Strauss. Subs: O Fainga’anuku for Reid, J Eddie for Ryder, both 55mins, J Barclay for Fusaro, P Horne for Nathan, both 62, S Kennedy for Matawalu 69, R Wilson for Strauss 74, F Gillies for Hall, G Araoz for Cusack, both 76.
Dragons: D Evans; T Chavhanga, P Leach, A Smith, T Prydie; L Robling, J Evans; P Price, S Jones, N Buck, I Nimmo, R Sidoli, L Evans (capt), N Cudd, T Brown. Subs: J Groves for L Evans 18-26mins, A Jones for Sidoli 20, N Williams for Price 35, L Davies for Evans, S Jones for Robling, both 52, D Way for Buck 56, H Gustafson for Jones 60, J Groves for Brown, H Amos for Prydie, both 67.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South