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Dragons claim narrow victory

Newport Gwent Dragons inflicted just the third defeat of the RaboDirect PRO12 season on Glasgow Warriors and put themselves within one victory of rivals Scarlets in the table.

There was only one spell when there was more than a try between the sides as the Dragons went over through prop Owen Evans, lock Cory Hill and replacement wing Ross Wardle against touchdowns for the Warriors by flanker Rob Hartley and scrum-half Niko Matawalu.

Dragons were also on target with the boot via a penalty and conversion from fly-half Jason Tovey and two conversions from full-back Rhys Jones against two penalties and two conversions for Glasgow stand-off Finn Russell and a long-range penalty by centre Mark Bennett.

Glasgow made their intentions known from the start as they hit the Dragons with a sucker-punch within two minutes of kick-off.

Tovey was aiming to hoof the Dragons downfield from near his own 22 but the kick only found the outstretched arms of the marauding Hartley, whose charge-down sent the ball scurrying back towards the home line and gave the flanker an easy touchdown.

Russell converted but Glasgow were soon pegged back when an infringement 25 metres out saw Tovey land a penalty.

It was all a bit frantic at the start but the inclusion of former Bath and England tighthead prop Duncan Bell, who has come out of retirement to help with the Welsh region's troubled front row, gave the Dragons a stable platform for the first time in a while.

A Dragons mistake on the halfway line brought big-kicking Bennett onto the stage, and he made no mistake to restore Glasgow's seven-point advantage.

But that scrum platform helped with the Dragons' confidence and, from a break by Wales lock Andrew Coombs, who was released from RSB 6 Nations duty by Warren Gatland to play this weekend, the Welshmen drew level.

Coombs fed wing Matthew Pewtner and when he was about to be caught on the right and 22 metres out, he looked inside to see Evans, fed the youngster a lovely pass and watched him score the try which Tovey converted.

Bennett missed with another long penalty but Glasgow went into the break 17-10 ahead when Fijian scrum-half Matawalu collected a chip over the top of the Welsh defence which landed on halfway and then stormed 50 metres to the line, with Russell converting.

The match calmed down before the hour, with a Russell penalty taking Glasgow 10 points ahead.

But it revved up again when home scrum-half Richie Rees dashed to the line and fed Hill for his try and, after Russell added his second penalty, a charged-down clearance saw Wardle go in and Jones kick a touchline conversion to put the Dragons a point in front.

Glasgow battled to the last but a final mistake ended their afternoon with only a losing bonus point to show for it.


From Belfast Telegraph