Dragons Beaten by Physical Glasgow
Dragons suffered a 27-16 defeat at the hands of the Glasgow Warriors in a highly physical contest at the Cardiff City Stadium in Round Four of the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup.
Eleven points from the boot of Sam Davies plus a try from Aneurin Owen wasn’t enough for the home side as they suffered a third defeat of the tournament.
Glasgow managed tries from Kyle Steyn, George Turner, Kiran McDonald and Ross Thompson scored one himself as well as adding seven points with the boot to give the away side revenge after suffering two losses to Dragons in the regular season.
Dragons will be looking to end the campaign on a high note as they travel to Dublin to face Leinster in their final round, while the Glasgow Warriors will be looking to continue their winning run as they take on the same opponents a week earlier at Scotstoun Stadium.
The away side started the better and they tried to set the tempo early with some quick phase play, but a couple of unforced errors allowed the Dragons to escape unscathed.
The away side thought they had the opening score with Nick Grigg bundling his way over just ten minutes in after some good hands from the Glasgow backline but it was brought back for a penalty against recently announced Lion Zander Ferguson for a forearm to the neck.
The Warriors clearly came to the Welsh capital to be physical after being dominated in that area at the Principality Stadium in April.
But after all Glasgow’s dominance in the opening minutes it was the home side who scored first with Owen bursting through a gap in midfield and crossing the whitewash after a strong lineout move. Davies added the conversion and the home side led 7-0 after 13 minutes.
The next few minutes were more of the same with Glasgow dominating territory but finding no way past the Dragons defence with the away side’s only opportunity in the opening quarter coming from an ambitious Adam Hastings drop goal which was way off the mark.
Fly half Davies extended the home side’s lead with a penalty off the tee, as Dragons continued their efficiency when entering the away side’s half by coming away with points.
Glasgow did manage to get their first points on the board thanks to the boot of Thompson who slotted home a penalty off the tee to narrow the score to seven points.
But that didn’t last long as some strong Glasgow defence forced Davies into a drop goal and he made no mistake as he restored the lead to ten points on the half hour mark, making it 13-3 with ten to go before half time.
Glasgow finally got the try that their first half performance deserved, after some sustained pressure on the Dragons try line, they eventually got it out wide with winger Steyn scoring untouched in the corner.
Thompson missed the extras, but moments later finished off a beautiful Glasgow team try after some fantastic hands by the forwards following a George Turner break around half-way.
The Glasgow fly half converted his own try giving his side a 15-13 lead heading into half time, and Dragons were down to 14 with captain Ross Moriarty sin binned for a foul in the build-up, in a very physical contest in Cardiff.
Glasgow thought they started the second half as they ended the first with another try after once again some brilliant hands from the Warriors but a successful captain’s challenge from the Dragons showed a knock on in the build-up.
Moments later they did get their try with hooker Turner powering his way over from the back of a dominant driving maul, to extend the away side’s lead. Thompson added the conversion to give Glasgow a 22-13 lead.
Glasgow thought they secured their bonus point try with recently announced Lion Ali Price crossing after another neat backline move before the scrum half sniped from the ruck to get over - but it was again brought back for crossing in midfield.
A nervy ten minutes followed with Dragons desperately needing the next score and Warriors trying to keep their intensity and pressure on the home side.
The home side started to up the tempo heading into the final quarter, but they couldn’t find a way through the Warriors defence, despite some heavy and hard carrying.
The boot of Davies brought Dragons within six points after another penalty making it a nervous final five minutes for the Warriors.
But Glasgow sealed a well-earned bonus point win with replacement McDonald putting the final nail in the coffin for the away side in the final play of the game.
11m Owen t Davies c 7-0
20m Davies p 10-0
26m Thompson p 10-3
31m Davies dg 13-3
37m Steyn t 13-8
40m Thompson t Thompson c 13-15
43m Turner t Thompson c 13-22
76m Davies p 16-22
79m McDonald t 16-27
Dragons: Ioan Davies, Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Rio Dyer, Sam Davies, Gonzalo Bertranou; Brok Harris (Reynolds 65), Richard Hibbard (Dee 46), Lloyd Fairbrother (Jarvis 60), Matthew Screech, Ben Carter (J. Davies 54), Ross Moriarty (c), Ollie Griffiths (Basham 60), Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Josh Reynolds, Aaron Jarvis, Joe Davies, Taine Basham, Dan Babos, Evan Lloyd, Jamie Roberts
Glasgow Warriors: Adam Hastings, Kyle Steyn, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Cole Forbes, Ross Thompson, Ali Price; Aki Seiuli, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Rob Harley, Scott Cummings, Ryan Wilson (c), Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Fraser Brown, Tom Lambert, Enrique Pieretto, Kiran McDonald, Fotu Lokotui, George Horne, Stafford McDowall, Rufus McLean.
Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU, 9th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Craig Evans (both WRU)
TMO: Dan Jones (WRU)