Glasgow edge out Dragons
October 8, 2010
Glasgow Warriors No.10 Ruaridh Jackson was in good form with the boot at Firhill
© PA Photos
Glasgow claimed revenge for last month's Magners League defeat at Rodney Parade by defeating the Newport Gwent Dragons 21-13 in the opening game of Heineken Cup Pool 6 at Firhill on Friday night.
Adam Hughes' try gave the Dragons the early initiative but Ruaridh Jackson replied with three penalties before Graeme Morrison crossed to help the home side into a 16-10 lead at half-time. A Matthew Jones penalty, his second of the evening, drew the Dragons to within three points but Fergus Thomson's try sealed the win for the Warriors.
It was all Glasgow in the opening minutes and although DTH van der Merwe was adjudged to have put a foot in touch for what looked like the opening score after two minutes, the hosts kept up the early pressure. However, the Dragons defence soaked up wave after wave of Glasgow attacks before a penalty afforded them an advantageous attacking position downfield from which they bagged the game's opening score.
Andrew Coombs and Scott Morgan made inroads down the left, the ball was switched to midfield, Warriors defence edged in and when the ball reached Hughes, he crashed over unopposed. Matthew Jones slotted the conversion and it looked as though the Dragons were again going to do what they had done so often in the past and grind the Warriors pack down until the gaps appeared.
It was then that Glasgow No.10 Jackson took a hand with 25 minutes gone and he proceeded to kick three penalties in quick succession as referee Jerome Garces ran out of patience with the Dragons' incessant indiscipline. Then, with five minutes of the half remaining, came the score the Warriors had been threatening.
Colin Gregor scorched away and found John Barclay inside him. The Warriors skipper was hauled down inches short but rapidly-recycled ball gave Morrison space to go over, leaving Jackson with a straightforward conversion attempt.
At 16-7 ahead heading towards the break, the Warriors were in control, but a rush of blood to the head gave Jones the chance to bring the margin back to six points at the break with a simple penalty. Jones narrowed the margin further with a penalty four minutes into the second half, but then the Dragons were under the cosh for 15 minutes, and only solid midfield defence from Thomas Cheeseman and Ashley Smith kept Glasgow, and Max Evans in particular, at bay as the home side started to put real pace on the game.
Their crucial second try finally arrived on 49 minutes. Argentinian wing Federico Aramburu had gone close a couple of times when quick ball found the Dragons way out of position, presenting hooker Thomson with a simple finish that he was never going to pass up. Although Jackson missed the conversion, the home side were now brimming with confidence.
Referee Garces did little to endear himself to the noisy Glasgow crowd in the final half hour, but the home side looked to be running the clock down successfully. However, a Wayne Evans kick left the hobbling Bernardo Stortoni stranded and Glasgow were penned in their own 22 until man-of-the-match Gregor got them out of trouble with a couple of fine clearances, picking up a very late challenge from Robin Sowden-Taylor in the process.
Jones had a last-minute attempt to salvage the bonus point but the kick fell short and Glasgow had ended their losing streak.
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