Glasgow 29-13 Dragons: Lee Jones at double for Warriors

Glasgow got back to winning ways in the Guinness Pro14 with a bonus-point victory over Dragons at Scotstoun as coach Dave Rennie expressed satisfaction but felt his side could have been more clinical.
Glasgow Warriors' Huw Jones breaks clear to score a second half try. Picture: Ross Parker/SNSGlasgow Warriors' Huw Jones breaks clear to score a second half try. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Glasgow Warriors' Huw Jones breaks clear to score a second half try. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

After the shock defeat by Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth the previous Saturday, Rennie had called for a response from a much-changed team and, while the maximum points were duly bagged to stay top of Conference A, it was far from emphatic in what was a disjointed encounter played in swirling wind and rain.

“I thought our defence was excellent tonight, we played at the right end of the field and our setpiece was great,” said Rennie.

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“We need to be a bit more clinical, there were more opportunities that had to be taken.

“It was trying conditions. We created lots of opportunities which we’re happy about. We want to be more clinical but having said that if we had put 40 or 50 points on the board tonight that wouldn’t have been good for us.

“We had to work for that. A bonus-point win but we need to be better next week [at home to Zebre] and the week after [against Saracens in Europe].”

In windy conditions, Glasgow looked to have opened the scoring early but the TMO picked up the slightest of knock-ons from Huw Jones as he looked to have gathered Niko Matawalu’s inside pass and gone over in the left corner.

The frustration didn’t last long as in the fourth minute loosehead prop Oli Kebble burst through the middle and Adam Hastings pinged over the easy conversion.

Dragons reduced the lead with a penalty from Arwel Robson and the stand-off knocked over another just after the 20-minute mark to bring the Welsh to within a point.

A fairly tame opening half found some kind of life around the half-hour mark as Glasgow’s forwards established a sustained siege of the Dragons line before South African referee Stuart Berry penalised the Welsh side for an offside tackle in the 22 on home stand-off Hastings.

Warriors opted for the scrum but surrendered possession before putting together their most fluid passage of play, left wing Matawalu not quite able to keep control of the ball after some punchy surges and a sweeping passing move out left.

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The second try finally came two minutes from the interval when Hastings pierced the Dragons line and then popped a clever pass out to Lee Jones, whose momentum saw him crash over. Hastings saw his conversion come back off the post to make it 12-6 at half-time. Glasgow got off to the best possible start in the first minute of the second half as Alex Dunbar’s delicious offload in the tackle was gleefully gobbled up by Lee Jones for his second try, Hastings adding the extras.

However, any sense that the Warriors would now run away with things received a setback just four minutes later when possession was coughed up in the midfield and a fly hack was followed up by Dragons centre Adam Warren who dribbled over to score under the posts, Josh Lewis, who had come on for Robson before the break, converting.

Warriors swiftly reasserted dominance and the bonus-point fourth try came in the 54th minute as Huw Jones surged over down the right, Hastings falling short with the conversion – his third miss from four attempts.

Glasgow remained in comfortable ascendancy and the fifth try came with a couple of minutes left as Dunbar got on the end of a sweet offload by sub scrum-half George Horne to cruise over and Hastings’ boot completed the scoring.

Kebble was awarded man of the match but Rennie praised Hastings. “They obviously didn’t want us to play and were flying up in the middle,” said the coach.

“He probably needed to hold a couple of metres of depth but he’s pretty slippery and managed to find some space in behind them. He’s in a good vein of form and confident.”