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Battling Dragons edged out in Scotland

22/02/2020

Battling Dragons produced a spirited display in brutal conditions as they were edged out by Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 at a windswept Scotstoun Stadium.

Heavy rain and blustery winds blasted the venue in Glasgow for most of the game – but the teams still served in an entertaining league encounter that ebbed and flowed.

Scrum half Rhodri Williams had grabbed a first half try for Dean Ryan’s men and added another after the break before wing Ashton Hewitt sparked late comeback hopes.

But it was the play-off chasing Warriors that eventually pulled clear to wrap up maximum points and leave Dragons empty-handed.

Ryan made nine changes to the side that defeated Enisei last time out, with Wales aces Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright and Leon Brown away with the national squad.

Back row Ollie Griffiths made a playing return while Joe Goodchild was given his first taste of senior action since 2018 at full back.

Dragons, themselves back in action for the first time in a month, were playing into the driving wind and rain in the first half but made a sensational start.

Ever-alert scrum half Williams picked off a floated pass from Jamie Dobie inside the first minute and raced over from halfway, with Sam Davies converting.

Glasgow came into the game on the back of a thumping win over Zebre and looked to respond immediately with a series of forward drives.

Lock Tim Swinson eventually took matters into his own hands and crashed over bodies on the line to level up the scores.

Full back Goodchild was looking solid under the high ball in testing conditions while the visiting pack twice drove upfield as the wind whistled around the stadium.

The forwards forced a series of penalties to force Glasgow back to their own line, but home star Leone Nakarawa halted momentum as he disrupted a driving lineout.

The returning Griffiths stripped possession after a huge team defensive shift before the TMO stepped in following an altercation between Fairbrother and Kebble.

Both men were yellow carded and the penalty was given to Glasgow in bizarre circumstances, as the officials had appeared to penalise the home side.

The resulting penalty was kicked to the corner and home hooker Grant Stewart bulldozed over, with Horne again adding the extras.

Glasgow were now starting to click into gear with their offloading game going into overdrive as they kept the ball alive for phase after phase.

Horne opted to take three points with a penalty kick and then almost picked out Tommy Seymour with a cross field punt that would not sit down on a slippery surface.

On the stroke of half-time home prop Aki Seiuli saw a try disallowed for a double movement as he scrambled over the line.

Glasgow had another chalked off a minute into the second half as wing Ratu Tagive went down the line but lost the ball under superb pressure from Williams.

The home pack looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck as they marched the visitors backwards and Stewart grabbed his second try of the night for a 22-7 lead.

Glasgow were bossing the conditions and dominating possession and territory in the third quarter of the game.

However, from nowhere the Dragons were back in the game as a sublime break from Davies saw him fly clear and find Ellis Shipp with a beautiful offload before the hooker sent Williams over.

Glasgow looked to close the game out with Scotland international Huw Jones dotting down after Fusaro’s break.

But within two minutes a charge down by Joe Davies caused alarm and the ball found Hewitt who was away down the flank to score.

Dragons looked to stage a late comeback but it was Glasgow who ran the clock down and struck In injury time as, with Josh Reynolds yellow carded, Dolokoto drove over.

Timeline:

07m Williams t Davies c 0-7

11m Swinson t Horne c 7-7

25m Stewart t Horne c 14-7

31m Horne p 17-7

46m Stewart t 22-7

58m Williams t Davies c 22-14

65m Jones t 27-14

67m Hewitt t 27-19

80m Dolokoto t Horne c 34-19

Dragons: Joe Goodchild, Jared Rosser, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (Knoyle 69); Brok Harris (Jarvis 39), Ellis Shipp (Lawrence 66), Lloyd Fairbrother (Reynolds 57), Joe Davies (M. Williams 73), Matthew Screech, Huw Taylor (Basham 48), Ollie Griffiths, Harrison Keddie

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Josh Reynolds, Aaron Jarvis, Max Williams, Taine Basham, Tavis Knoyle, Jacob Botica, Connor Edwards

Glasgow Warriors: Glenn Bryce (Jackson 70), Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, Ratu Tagive (Matawalu 66), Pete Horne, Jamie Dobie (Frisby 66); Aki Seiuli (Allan 65), Grant Stewart (Dolokoto 65), Oli Kebble (Mcquillin 56), Rob Harley (Davidson 72), Tim Swinson, Leone Nakarawa (Fusaro 31), Callum Gibbons, Ryan Wilson

Replacements: Mesu Dolokoto, Alex Allan, Ewan Mcquillin, Andrew Davidson, Chris Fusaro, Nick Frisby, Ruaridh Jackson, Niko Matawalu

Referee: Sean Gallagher (IRFU)

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