Woeful Dragons suffer record defeat - match report
Dragons 3 Glasgow 60
WHEN Newport Gwent Dragons were given a good old Scottish gubbing in Glasgow in November they were lucky that the television cameras weren’t there to broadcast the humiliation.
Last night they weren’t so fortunate.
The second-placed Warr-iors smashed the Dragons 60-3 at Rodney Parade, a RaboDirect Pro12 defeat even more embarrassing than the 37-6 loss in Scotland.
The scale of their humiliation is told by the aggregate scoreline of 97-9 with the Dragons line crossed 13 times and the Warriors’ none.
Last night they conceded 50 points for the first time at Rodney Parade and suffered the heaviest defeat in their history.
The region headed into the game on the back of three wins but it’s a case of one step forward, 97 back and it must leave plenty – both players and coaches – fearing for their futures.
The victories against the Ospreys, London Welsh and Treviso were far from perfect performances but the Dragons got the job done.
But last night they made far, far too many errors against a quality Glasgow side that were never likely to be as charitable as that trio.
The first half possession was split 50/50 yet the scoreboard read 27-3 to the visitors as the Dragons trudged under it towards their changing room.
It didn’t get any better after the break, Glasgow crossing for five tries in a shambolic final quarter with the hosts’ defence as soft as the Parade turf.
It was as lopsided a game as you could see and the region needs to improve tenfold if they are to avoid being Zebre’s first scalp of the season next Sunday.
The winless Italians have long had a ring around that fixture on their calendar and will fly into their visitors in Parma. If the Dragons’ basics fail them again then the season won’t just die a slow death – Zebre will be chasing them down.
Glasgow are a well-drilled and confident side, capable of mixing it up front and threatening out wide.
Make no mistake about it, the Warriors are the real deal and will fancy their chances of not only making the playoffs but earning a Scotstoun Stadium semi-final. That’s a trip not many would fancy.
They fancied their chances even without the likes of Scotland’s Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Sean Lamont, Ruaridh Jackson and Roddy Grant and with South African powerhouse number eight Josh Strauss on their bench.
That confidence was proved to be well-founded as they bossed the game almost from start to finish.
Tom Prydie, the Pro12’s leading point scorer, and Duncan Weir traded penalties in the first three minutes but then the visitors moved into a lead that they never looked like losing.
First a sustained attack on the Dragons’ line ended with centre Mark Bennett going under the sticks and then a cruel bounce from a Henry Pyrgos chip allowed mercurial Fijiian Niko Matawalu to go over.
Weir’s two conversions gave the Warriors a 17-3 lead after just 20 minutes and when he extended that lead with another penalty they were already getting towards a position where they could concentrate on the bonus point. And it was all too easy to get try number three on the stroke of half-time, the Warriors embarrassingly exposing fragile defence with a simple move.
Inside centre Alex Dunbar just ran down Steffan Jones’ channel from a scrum 10 metres out. That’s it.
He went over under the posts with Weir’s conversion making it 27-3 as the teams headed to the changing rooms.
Just like at Scotstoun in November when it was 20-6 at the break, all the Dragons had left to play for was pride.
They did well enough for 20 minutes without ever really threatening the Glasgow line but then returned to their bad habits on the hour to gift the Warriors their bonus point, replacement wing Taylor Paris going over untouched thanks to some appalling defence.
That triggered a rout with lock Tim Swinson going over either side of a Josh Strauss score, leaving most supporters to head for the exit and the rest only stayed to vent their frustration at the final whistle.
By then they had seen another score with Fraser Thomson making the humiliation complete.
In a season of plenty of embarrassing defeats, this was a new – and unacceptable - low.
Dragons: D Evans, W Harries, P Leach (A Hughes 66), J Dixon, T Prydie, S Jones (H Amos 55), J Evans (W Evans 60), O Evans (A Coundley 69) , H Gustafson (S Parry 60), N Buck (N Williams 69), I Nimmo (J Tyler 71), A Jones, L Evans (captain), N Cudd (J Groves 69), I Jones.
Scorers: penalty – T Prydie Glasgow: P Murchie, N Matawalu, M Bennett, A Dunbar, DTH van der Merwe, D Weir (S Wight 66), H Pyrgos (T Paris 60), G Reid (O Fainga’anuka 58), P MacArthur (G Price 64), J Welsh (E Kalman 64), T Swinson (J Gray 25-38), T Ryder, J Eddie (J Strauss 51), J Barclay, R Wilson (capt, J Gray 60).
Scorers: tries – M Bennett, N Matawalu, A Dunbar, T Paris, T Swinson (2), J Strauss, F Thomson; con’sions – D Weir (5), S Wight (2); penalties – D Weir (2) Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy) Attendance: 4311 Argus star man: N/A