Tovey saves Dragons
December 4, 2011
Jason Tovey came off the bench to land a crucial penalty for the Dragons
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Replacement fly-half Jason Tovey scored a touchline penalty in injury-time to rescue a 14-14 draw for Newport Gwent Dragons against Glasgow Warriors at Rodney Parade.
Tries from Tom Riley for the home side and Glasgow's Scott Wight were the only high points of an otherwise average match dominated by the boot - Warriors' Ruaridh Jackson slotting three penalties, with Tovey adding two to Steffan Jones' effort.
The Dragons were without Welsh international wing Aled Brew for the game after he suffered an eye injury in a freak training accident during the week, while centre Riley was playing his 50th game for the region. And in a lively opening 15 minutes, the Dragons had all the territory only to see the Warriors claim the points.
Fly-half Jackson booted a penalty from nearly halfway before home stand-off Jones missed with a tight drop-goal and a routine 25-metre penalty in front of the posts. But, while both teams looked to throw the ball around, the half deteriorated as a spectacle with too many errors that caused ref David Wilkinson to blow the whistle.
It especially hurt the Dragons' cause. They spilled ball continuously before the break when building towards decent attacking situations.
The Dragons glimpsed the try-line when South African wing Tonderai Chavhanga dashed down the left only to step into touch when No.8 John Beattie attempted to tackle, while Jones' confidence took a further knock as he sliced another penalty wide of the uprights.
Jackson doubled Glasgow's advantage with a 35-metre penalty two minutes after the break before Jones finally held his composure and thumped over a 27-metre shot at goal. What Glasgow needed was a bit of territory inside the home half and, after trying various ways, a huge up-and-under from a penalty inside their half, taken by Jackson, saw Jones clattered by flying flanker Chris Fusaro.
And then, when the ball was laid back, home captain Ashley Smith infringed on the ground, giving Jackson a third penalty to make the score 9-3. The tide turned the Dragons way for a while when replacement Tovey kicked a penalty to close the arrears to three points.
Things began to get very interesting in the final quarter as TV match official Tony Rowlands was called into action three times to adjudicate on potential tries. The Dragons went ahead 11-9 when Riley just evaded Colin Shaw's attention to score a try in the left corner, while replacement Rob Harley was also sent to the sin-bin for an off-the-ball incident.
Dragons wing Adam Hughes nearly got another moments later but Rowlands judged that he made a double movement in grounding. The pendulum swung back to Glasgow when home flanker Lewis Evans made a howling mistake his own line, allowing replacement Wight to sneak in and score under his nose.
It was not going to be the Warriors' day, though, as referee Wilkinson awarded a penalty in the last seconds for Tovey to secure the draw.
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