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Glasgow edge past Newport to keep Pro12 play-off hopes alive

Published 25/02/2016

Duncan Weir scored 13 points to inspire Glasgow to victory
Duncan Weir scored 13 points to inspire Glasgow to victory

Champions Glasgow remain in the hunt for the Guinness Pro12 play-offs thanks to a nervy 18-15 victory against Newport Gwent Dragons.

The Warriors climbed from eighth to fifth, leapfrogging Munster, the Ospreys and Edinburgh, thanks to a two-try success at Rodney Parade, their winning score coming late on through fly-half Duncan Weir.

The spirited Dragons, meanwhile, continue to languish in 10th with just four league victories to the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finalists' name and only the Italian duo of Zebre and Treviso beneath them.

Glasgow headed into the game against the Welsh strugglers with no margin for error and were boosted by the presence of six players released from Six Nations duty by Scotland boss Vern Cotter.

Weir and back row forwards Rob Harley and Josh Strauss started in Newport rather than Rome while props Gordon Reid and Zander Fagerson and scrum-half Grayson Hart were among the replacements.

The first half was a rather frantic affair with plenty of endeavour, lots of errors and two fly-halves kicking beautifully.

The Dragons were out of the blocks sharply with Angus O'Brien booting them into an early lead only for Glasgow pivot Duncan Weir to respond in the 10th minute.

Two more three-pointers saw the Dragons go into a 9-3 lead with visiting lock Greg Peterson shown a yellow card for the second offence, a body-check on O'Brien.

Weir and O'Brien traded penalties for it to be 12-6 to the hosts after half an hour and they put the squeeze on through their driving lineout approaching the break in a bid for a key score only for the Scots to defend resolutely.

In fact, the Warriors nearly made it a three-point game with the final play only for Weir's drop goal after a foray by half-back partner Mike Blair to go wide.

But the visitors were in front for the first time just two minutes into the second half thanks to centre Alex Dunbar's powerful run on his comeback from a thigh injury, the Scotland hopeful's score converted by Weir for 13-12.

It was a lead that did not last long with O'Brien's fifth effort making it 15-13 with 49 minutes on the clock.

Glasgow thought they were back in front on the hour when Reid went over by the posts only for Irish official Gary Conway to penalise him for having been part of the ruck before picking up the ball and crossing.

Their mood worsened when Weir missed a simple penalty with 16 minutes left, although home full-back Carl Meyer was also wide with a long-range effort as the game approached the final stages.

However, Weir crossed to make it 18-15 with seven minutes left after being given a simple run-in by fellow Scotland star Strauss, whose offload after a powerful charge down the right was given the all-clear by the TMO.

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