Glasgow Warriors 15
AFTER 24 minutes of this game, the visitors were in a commanding position, having scored two excellent tries and sniffed out several other opportunities to get their strike runners on the move with the ball on hand against some fairly weak Dragons tackling – but Dave Rennie’s side couldn’t kick on from there.
With nine players away on Scotland duty and another 14 on the injury list, the Warriors were in the unusual position of having a complete match-day squad unavailable to them – but Rennie was not inclined to use that as an excuse for his team’s failure to press home their first quarter advantage.
“It’s frustrating, I know we’ve got a lot of players missing but we just didn’t control the game well enough. We turned the ball over at key times, especially going round the edge our big men got isolated. It’s a game that got away,” he said
“Sometimes we were slow to support and sometimes we tipped the ball on when the better option was to be direct and carry and look after it.
“We were setting up for a drop goal at the end there so to pass out to an isolated forward was not the best option. We’ll need to look at some of our decision making.”
“The frustrating thing about it is that we did pretty well to get up to 15-5 and split the defence again and if we pass we score and then maybe it’s a different ball game.
“We then got a bit loose, played a lot of the game in the middle third and didn’t use the opportunity to get in behind them. Obviously their ten points right on half time had an effect on the final result.”
The hosts took the lead within two minutes of kick-off after Aaron Wainwright had latched on to a loose tap back from Rob Harley at a line-out ten yards from the Warriors’ line, and two phases later hooker Leon Belcher nipped in for a well taken try, having demonstrated the sleight of hand of a centre to send Ratu Tagive the wrong way.
Dragons then had an opportunity to extend their lead but Zane Kirchner hit the post with a 40-yard offside penalty, and instead it was Warriors who struck next, thanks to a moment of sublime skill and ingenuity from George Horne, which involved a deft chip over the Dragons’ defensive line for Brandon Thomson to race onto for the score.
Some confusion in getting the kicking tee on for Adam Hastings’ conversion meant the stand-off had to attempt a drop-goal, which he pushed well to the right of the posts. It was, perhaps, not apparent at the time, but we now know that those missed points could have had a major bearing on the outcome of this match.
Warriors edged their way into the lead with three points from the boot of Hastings after Rynard Landman was penalised for not rolling away from a tackle.
Then a powerful run from Nick Grigg past Adam Warren on the left touchline, followed by a well-timed pass inside, sent George Horne scampering home from 30 yards.
Hastings’ conversion made it 5-15 and the Warriors looked well in control, but that was a s good as it got.
Kirchner narrowed the gap with four minutes of the first half left, when Warriors were penalised for side entry at a ruck under the shadow of their own posts, and the scores were tied just 90 seconds later, when full-back Hallam Amos – not for the first time – opened the Warriors up with his pace and power, and this time he chipped ahead for Jared Rosser to finish off.
Kirchner’s conversion tied the contest on the stroke of half-time, and after an open and entertaining first 40, it was inconceivable at that stage that there would be no more scoring during the remainder of the contest, but neither side was able to break the deadlock.
Dragons: H Amos; A Warren, T Morgan (J Sage 62), J Dixon, J Rosser; Z Kirchner, D Babos (S Pretorius 46); S Hobbs (G Ellis 36), L Belcher (E Shipp 62), L Fairbrother (L Brown 41), J Davies, R Landman, A Wainwright, J Benjamin, H Keddie.
Glasgow: R Jackson; L Jones, N Grigg, B Thomson (P Kelly 73), R Tagive (N Matawalu 60); A Hastings, G Horne (H Pyrgos 62); A Allan (O Kebble 60), J Malcolm, D Rae (A Nicol 78), R Harley, G Peterson (K McDonald 67), M Fagerson, C Fusaro (M Smith 62), A Ashe.
Dragons: Tries: Belcher, Rosser. Con: Kirchner. Pen: Kirchner.
Glasgow: Tries: Thomson, Horne. Con: Hastings. Pen: Hastings.
Scoring sequence (Dragons first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-8; 5-13; 5-15; 8-15; 13-15; 15-15 (h-t) no points in second half.
Referee: A Brace (Ireland).