Brown double helps Glasgow see off Dragons
URC REPORT: Fraser Brown scored a brace of tries to help Glasgow Warriors to a 42-28 United Rugby Championship victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Flyhalf Duncan Weir was another star performer in the match, contributing 15 points to his team’s tally.
Keen to establish themselves in front of a vocal Rodney Parade faithful, the Warriors could scarcely have designed a better start for themselves. Barely 90 seconds had been played when good handling from Stafford McDowall released Sam Johnson, the centre racing clear before timing his switch with Forbes perfectly to send the wing under the posts untouched. Weir added the extras, and the Warriors led 7-0.
It would get even better for the visitors just five minutes later. A series of penalties in midfield allowed Weir to march his side into Dragons territory, setting up the platform for his pack. It would be Brown that would be the ultimate beneficiary, tucking himself away at the back of the maul and rumbling over for the score that – converted by Weir – would give his side a 14-0 advantage.
Yet undeterred, back would come the Dragons as the home supporters urged their team forward. Their reward would come on 15 minutes, after repeat phases inside the Glasgow 22. In the end, Rhodri Williams would snipe his way over through a gap in the Glasgow defence, JJ Hanrahan narrowing the gap to 14-7.
Almost out of nothing, the hosts would then find themselves level just two minutes later. A speculative pass from McDowall while playing under advantage was picked off by Sio Tomkinson just as the referee called advantage over, the Dragons man going over under the posts for the score. Hanrahan converted, and the tie was level.
It would be level for a matter of moments, however. A turnover penalty won by Lewis Bean would see Weir kick to the corner, and Brown would once again find himself driven over by the unstoppable momentum of the Glasgow pack. A visit to the Television Match Official would confirm the score, Weir adding the extras for a 21-14 lead.
The game was increasingly being played in between the two 22s, with neither side quite able to find their fluency in attack. A Hanrahan chip almost put Williams in the clear, whilst both Forbes and Sebastian Cancelliere would go hunting for any opportunity.
Glasgow would have the final word of the half, though, stamping their imprint upon proceedings to claim the attacking bonus-point. With the Dragons short in defence after hooker Brodie Coghlan was shown a yellow card, strong carrying from McDowall and Jamie Bhatti would take Glasgow to within five metres. Whilst the pass from Johnson wouldn’t be the cleanest, Weir would have enough time to scoop up the loose ball and dive over the whitewash, converting his own score for a 28-14 half-time lead.
The Warriors thought they had also started the second half in ideal fashion, as a brilliant break from Johnson and good support from Weir took play to within 10 metres. Thomas Gordon and Jack Dempsey kept play alive, before Bean picked up and dived over the line. However, the TMO would rule his actions to be illegal, and the try was chalked off.
Glasgow wouldn’t be denied for long, though. A lineout on the Dragons 22 would see Brown carry strongly from the maul, with Price arriving quickly to whip the ball from the base of the ruck. His pass would find McDowall on a line picked to perfection, the centre charging through for the score despite the attentions of two defenders. Weir converted, extending the lead to 35-14 with 47 minutes played.
Back would come the home side once more, knowing that they needed to score next to retain their own hopes. Score next they did, making the most of their field position inside the Glasgow 22. A close-range maul was stopped initially, only for Taine Basham to pick up and dive through a gap to score. Hanrahan made it three from three from the tee, and the gap was back to 14 points.
The Dragons were now chasing the game, raising their physicality levels and speed of ball as they looked to stretch the Glasgow defence. Yet the Warriors would hold firm under all manner of pressure inside their own 22, Cancelliere and Josh McKay ushering Ashton Hewitt into touch to a roar of approval from the Glasgow bench.
Energised by their defensive resolve, the Warriors went in search of another score of their own. Jamie Dobie’s break took the visitors up to the Dragons’ 22, before Sione Vailanu’s looping pass sent Cancelliere in pursuit of the corner, the winger denied only by the Dragons’ scramble defence.
There would be no keeping the Argentinian off the scoresheet, however. With the Dragons pressing on the Glasgow 22, Cancelliere would pick off Hanrahan’s flat pass and pin his ears back, haring his way home from 80 metres to dive under the posts. Tom Jordan – on for Weir – would convert, and Glasgow had a 42-21 lead.
A late salvo from Chris Coleman with the clock in the red would salvage an attacking bonus-point for the home side, but there would be no doubt about the result. An unbeaten run extended to nine games, and the second block of fixtures finished off in style.
Tries: R Williams, Tomkinson, Basham, Coleman
Cons: Hanrahan 4
For Glasgow Warriors:
Tries: Forbes, Brown 2, Weir, McDowell, Cancelliere
Cons: Weir 5, Jordan
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Rhodri Williams (captain), 8 Taine Basham, 7 Sean Lonsdale, 6 George Nott, 5 Ben Carter, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Brodie Coghlan, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Huw Taylor, 20 Ben Fry, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Steff Hughes.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Stafford McDowall (captain), 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Cole Forbes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Sione Vailanu, 6 Thomas Gordon, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Lewis Bean, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Alex Samuel, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Cameron Neild, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Tom Jordan.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dewi Phillips (Wales), Elliot Mayor (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)