Glasgow go out on a high
January 21, 2011
Toby Faletau loses control of the ball during the Dragons' defeat to Glasgow
© Getty Images
Glasgow Warriors ended their Heineken Cup campaign on a high as they beat Newport Gwent Dragons 23-16 at Rodney Parade on Sunday.
Two tries from winger DTH van der Merwe helped the Warriors home for a third win in Pool 6 and condemned the Dragons to a complete whitewash of defeats this year.
There was nothing but pride plus some one-upmanship ahead of the next encounter between the sides in the Magners League next month at stake and Glasgow showed little appetite for the match in the opening 40 minutes as they failed to get into the Dragons' 22 throughout the period.
However, the boot of fly-half Ruaridh Jackson was good enough to keep the Scotsmen level at the break. Jackson boomed over an early penalty from 40 metres to give Glasgow the first points of the match but that was soon cancelled out as home stand-off Jason Tovey dropped a neat goal from 20 metres.
There was extra incentive for some Dragons players to impress as national coach Warren Gatland, who is preparing to announce his Six Nations squad, watched from the stand. But the New Zealander could easily have been forgiven for thinking at times that a final Sunday afternoon at home before the big Test match campaign gets going would have been a better option than a cold visit to Rodney Parade.
Dragons wing Aled Brew had the best chance of scoring tries, not once but twice within a matter of minutes. He ran into a Glasgow defensive wall on their line but, after consultation with the video referee, the possible touchdown was ruled out. Moments later, he did touch the ball down clearly but the scoring pass from Tovey was ruled to have gone forward.
Jackson increased the Glasgow lead on the half-hour with a 45-metre penalty but Tovey again countered just before and after the break to give the Dragons a three-point advantage. Finally, Brew got his reward as replacement centre Pat Leach kicked into the Glasgow try area for the lively wing to chase and touch down - a score, given this time by the fourth official, that Tovey converted from the touchline.
The video referee was having a busy match as Glasgow drove forward to the home line for scrum-half Colin Gregor to dummy a pass out but go down the left blindside and, according to the fourth official, just get the ball down.
For all their inability to make meaningful attacks in the first-half, Glasgow managed another on 62 minutes when van der Merwe raced 22 metres to the line, was turned over by a couple of defenders but, again thanks to video analysis, scored the try. And the South African did it again when he skipped past some weak tackling to run in unopposed.
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