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Glasgow climb to second after breezing past Dragons

MATCH REPORT: Scrumhalf Ben Afshar scored on his first professional start as Glasgow recorded a 40-7 bonus-point victory over the Dragons.

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Warriors led from the 30-second mark as both Josh McKay and Stafford McDowall claimed the first of their two tries in the opening four minutes.

Facundo Cordero also notched a try on a personal milestone as he made his long-awaited debut, while Will Reed claimed a consolation try for the visitors at Scotstoun.

There was little doubt about the outcome from the opening moments as Warriors moved into second place in the United Rugby Championship table.

Fullback McKay took a high ball on the 40-metre line, wriggled through some bodies and side-stepped two Dragons players to cross. Ross Thompson added the first of his four conversions.

Franco Smith’s side soon got their second try after hooker Jonny Matthews won the ball from the Dragons’ line-out. The hosts worked the ball to McDowall, who charged through.

The skipper was soon contributing at the other end as he held the ball up when the Welsh side’s pack crossed.

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Much of the first half was scrappy, but Glasgow put the game beyond doubt just before the interval when McDowall broke the lines and passed outside to McKay to cross.

The home side repelled some early second half pressure before securing the bonus point inside four minutes of the restart. Henco Venter, Jamie Dobie and then Tom Jordan all made ground and Scotland Under-20 international Afshar kept up with play to accept the pass and go over.

Matthew Screech touched down at the other end, but Dan Lydiate was penalised for obstruction and the try was disallowed on video evidence.

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Dragons eventually got some reward for their sporadic spells of pressure when replacement Reed wriggled over after taking a quick pass from Angus O’Brien, who added the conversion.

But the score only served to spark a strong finish from the home side.

A slick move ended with Duncan Weir playing a long pass out to the right wing for former Exeter player Cordero to go over.

Scotland centre McDowall capped an impressive display by crossing for the second time with five minutes left before Weir rounded off the scoring with his boot.

Man of the Match: Stafford McDowall showed his importance all over the pitch after the Scotland centre was released from international duty to skipper the Warriors. McDowall’s pace and power was evident as he crossed twice and he saved a certain try when he held up the ball early on.

Scorers:

For Glasgow:
Tries: McKay 2, McDowall 2, Afshar, Cordero
Cons: Thompson 4, Weir

For Dragons:
Try: Reed
Con: O’Brien

Teams:

Glasgow: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Stafford McDowall (captain), 12 Tom Jordan, 11 Jamie Dobie, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Ben Afshar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Thomas Gordon, 6 Euan Ferrie, 5 Alex Samuel, 4 Max Williamson, 3 Lucio Sordoni, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Angus Fraser, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Ruaraidh Hart, 20 Sintu Manjezi, 21 Gregor Hiddleston, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Duncan Weir.

Dragons: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Oli Andrew, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Dane Blacker, 8 Dan Lydiate, 7 George Young, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 James Benjamin, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Brodie Coghlan, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Barny Langton-Cryer, 20 Sam Scarfe, 21 Che Hope, 22 Will Reed, 23 Joe Westwood.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jonny Perriam (Scotland), Michael Todd (Scotland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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