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Newport Gwent Dragons 3 Glasgow 60: Warriors send records tumbling

WARRIORS re-wrote the record books with the biggest win in their history as a professional outfit – and a record victory win for any Scottish professional team – in Wales last night.

Mark Bennett bags the first try for Glasgow. Picture: Ian Cook/CameraSport
Mark Bennett bags the first try for Glasgow. Picture: Ian Cook/CameraSport

The eight tries and 60 points they scored also added up to the heaviest defeat Dragons have suffered.

Glasgow's performance was impressive, slick and, in the end, a slaughter. They started well and simply got better and better. The forwards laid the platform with solid play, particularly in terms of turnovers, but the backs were happy to exploit the gaps and there were clear signs of the coaching of Gregor Townsend in the approach and the success.

The result sent out a clear message to Glasgow's rivals at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12: not only are Townsend's men beginning to fire, they are also developing strength in depth.

Their chances of featuring in the play-offs were also boosted by Connacht beating Ospreys 22-10 in Galway last night for their first win over the reigning champions since 2008.

Glasgow gave a debut to centre Mark Bennett and much was expected after his impressive performances for Scotland under-20s. However, he will have been disappointed when he saw the quagmire of a pitch which is struggling due to two rugby sides and one football team playing on it regularly.

The Scots also had to rearrange their back-line, after wing Byron McGuigan was injured in the warm-up. Scrum-half replacement Niko Matawalu was a pacy enough option to bring into the starting line-up out wide, with Taylor Paris coming on to the bench.

The early exchanges were even, with Dragons wing Tom Prydie landing a 45-yard penalty from a breakdown offence and Duncan Weir replying a couple of minutes later. Bennett then scored the game's first try after a quarter of an hour.

Back home on loan from Clermont Auvergne, he showed a touch of class in the way he jinked past the last defender after the forwards released the ball following a series of drives on the line.

Things only improved for Glasgow, who were making territorial gains thanks in no small part to their solid defence and willingness to chase up home mistakes. Henry Pyrgos tried a speculative chip over the top into the 22, which suddenly became a try-creating kick.

The ball bounced high and backwards away from the Dragons defender for Matawalu to celebrate his starting place with a leap to grab it and he was able to reach out over the line on the way down. Weir converted both tries to secure a comfortable lead midway through the first half, before adding a penalty from out wide.

The emphasis on youth increased when second-row Tim Swinson went off injured and was replaced by Jonny Gray, younger brother of Richie and Scotland under-20s captain, and he showed an early willingness to throw himself into the fray. As he prepared to leave the pitch, with Swinson patched up, Glasgow notched their third try after another period of pressure.

This time it was a straightforward switch in midfield between Weir and Peter Horne that ended with the centre charging through the middle with enough power to break through and score under the posts.

Weir added the extras to give Glasgow a 27-3 lead at half-time, a scoreline surely beyond their wildest dreams at the outset.

Dragons returned for the second half in more determined mood, but Warriors weathered the storm and a combination of turnovers and good kicking put them back on the offensive. They also had the confidence to play a bit, putting the ball through the hands and managing to work overlaps.

Paris came on and, with his first touch of the ball, burst 30 yards to score the bonus point-securing try. All 15 Glasgow players gathered to celebrate behind the posts.

The floodgates then opened and the records tumbled for Glasgow.Swinson went over from a lineout drive, and South African back-row replacement Josh Strauss touched down on the left after Glasgow had attacked up the right.

Swinson added another, bursting through the middle of the home forwards. It was the first time anyone had scored more than 50 points against the Dragons at Rodney Parade. Fraser Thomson added an eighth try to round off Glasgow's evening.

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