Glasgow ......10

HOW on earth can a Scottish representative team take the pitch with so little fire? And why on earth was Callum MacGregor dropped from this Glasgow side after they had beaten Newbridge in their first game to make way for John MacLeod, who is not exactly setting the heather alight?

Ah, sweet mysteries of life. And, call me old-fashioned, but isn't losing like this one hell of an easy way to earn #500? It was worrying.

Newport are a big, strong, cumbersome, scrummaging team - this was another day when Glasgow slid back at the scrummage - with little or no mobility and little or no track record, but Glasgow let themselves become deluged under the monotony of grinding scrums, rolling mauls, kicks to touch, and painful rugby.

When the occasional Glasgow up-and-under would have spread mayhem and panic, the ball was instead transferred lamely from hand to hand, procession-like, with little drive or guile to cross the gain line.

``I know, it was just hard to get people up for some reason,'' said captain Gordon Bulloch after the game. ``The whole atmosphere was flat and I don't know what it was. We tried to vary our tactics but it didn't work and I feel we have let people down.''

Other players I talked to confirmed that the pre-match had been lifeless, but at this level players have to be able to motivate themselves.

Shade Munro made his intentions obvious early on, when going into a ruck with a bit of All-Black style aggression. The Newport chaps didn't like it, so Munro had to shrug his shoulders, give a wry smile, and slink away. Oh that he had been copied by the rest of his team-mates.

That, along with some superb lineout work, was the good side of an impressive Munro. The bad side, flopping on the opposition's side in rucks, was copied by David McLeish and John Shaw.

Newport were 11-3 ahead at half-time, Glasgow's effort having been depleted through the departure of Ian Jardine with a recurrence of the groin problem that has kept him out since the summer.

Glenn Metcalfe was drafted into the centre alongside Alan Bulloch, and capitalising on their advantage, Newport swung the ball left to right. An outrageous decoy move bemused Glasgow's centres, outside centre John Colderly ran outside Bulloch, and right winger David Smith gobbled up the pass to score gratefully.

Newport had a try by Brian Davies, but it went unnoticed by the ref, then Shaun Connor, a tidy stand-off, ran on the angle and beat Alan Bulloch on the outside to extend his team's lead.

Glasgow fought back, one searing break by Jamie Weston from deep inside Glasgow's 22-metre line was backed up by Murray Wallace, who ran to the line and scored. A penalty try should have been awarded when a neat backs move left Bulloch running in space, but when he looked to offload the ball to Derek Stark, his winger was nowhere to be seen - having been obstructed by Martin Llewellyn and Colderly.

A scrum close to Newport's line and a chance to attack had disastrous consequences. Jamie Weston was challenged at the base of the scrum and knocked the ball on. The Welsh took advantage and hacked upfield, replacement stand-off Alex Lawson picked it up and ran for his life, and no-one from Glasgow could get back in time as he fell over the line.

With self-belief and passion Glasgow should, and would, have won this match. The prospect of making amends on Wednesday against Agen, the best team in France, now beckons. Teams:

Newport: Smith, Hurford, Lowry, Colderly, Llewellyn, Connor, Davies, Duggan, Jones, Alvis, Goodey, Gough, Workman, Atkins, Parkes. Replacements: Lawson for Connor (21min), Bishop for Jones (53), White for Atkins (62).

Glasgow: Sangster, Stark, A Bulloch, Jardine, Craig, McLeod, Weston, Perrie, G Bulloch, Robertson, Munro, Norval, Wallace, McLeish, Shaw. Replacements: Metcalfe for Jardine (25).

Scorers: Newport: Connor 1t, 2p, 1c; Llewellyn 1t, 1c; Smith 1t. Glasgow: Wallace 1t; Sangster 1p, 1c.