Glasgow Warriors 73-33 Dragons
An unforgettable evening at Scotstoun saw Glasgow Warriors book their place in the EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-finals in history-making style, earning a dominant 73-33 victory over the Dragons in front of the Warrior Nation.
Johnny Matthews became the first player to register five tries in a single match for the club, whilst the 11 tries and 73 points each set new club records in their respective categories.
On a near-perfect night for rugby, it was the Warriors who made the perfect start. Kyle Steyn was the catalyst, the skipper stepping away from two defenders and racing into open space. A trademark inside support line from George Horne allowed Steyn to send the scrum-half under the posts, Horne’s conversion making it a 7-0 lead with just two minutes on the clock.
With the Dragons keen to throw the ball around as they searched for a response, Glasgow’s defence would then be subjected to a frenetic spell of early pressure. Instead, it would be the hosts who would be next to cross the whitewash, with Glasgow in a clinical mood early on. An offside Dragons defender allowed Domingo Miotti to boot the penalty to the corner, before Matthews would rumble his way over from a five-metre maul for a score confirmed by the Television Match Official. Horne again added the extras, giving his side a 14-0 lead after a quarter of an hour.
This time, however, the Dragons would respond immediately. Some clever interplay from Jordan Williams and Aaron Wainwright would see the visitors make their way to the Glasgow five-metre line, and when the ball was recycled it would allow Williams to cross in the corner. Will Reed converted superbly from the touchline, reducing the deficit to seven points.
Glasgow had a response of their own, though, and it was a response that will be hanging in the front-row hall of fame forevermore. A loose ball in midfield was regathered by Allan Dell, with the loose-head prop breaking through and charging into space. Matthews was on his shoulder on the perfect support line, rampaging over from 30 metres for a try that brought Scotstoun to its feet. The conversion went astray, the only blip on a fabulous score.
Scotstoun was in full voice, and Matthews would waste no time in wrapping up a memorable hat-trick inside half an hour. Horne’s chip and chase would force the Dragons to concede a penalty, from which moment there was a sense of inevitability about what would come next. A short five-metre maul later and Matthews was celebrating in front of the West Stand, Horne adding the extras for a 26-7 lead after 28 minutes.
Back would come the visitors once more, as the men of Gwent rallied in search of a route back into the match. Rhodri Williams’ looping pass would send Rio Dyer racing over the whitewash for his side’s second score, Reed this time pulling the conversion attempt wide to leave the score at 26-14.
Yet any Dragons momentum would be halted on 32 minutes, with Aki Seiuli shown a straight red card for head-to-head contact on Horne. It took the Warriors 60 seconds to take full advantage, and it would be Matthews again that would be the beneficiary. Horne converted, and Glasgow were in command.
Jared Rosser would cross for the Dragons to narrow the gap at the interval, but Glasgow were in no mood to let their visitors back into the match. On an historic evening at Scotstoun, Matthews took three minutes of the second half to create club history. Another try saw the hooker become the first player in Glasgow Warriors history to score five times in a single match, Horne converting for a 40-19 lead.
Elliot Dee would respond in kind just moments later for a score that – allied with Reed’s conversion – would bring the Dragons back in touch, only for the Glasgow maul to once again prove too powerful for the visitors to handle. This time, though, it would be George Turner, sprung from the bench to replace Matthews, who would benefit, rumbling over untouched for Glasgow’s seventh try. Horne converted, taking the score to 47-26 after 55 minutes.
Having watched the forwards take care of business for the majority of the match, it was then time for the Warriors back-line to spring into life. Straight from the restart, Ollie Smith was on the shoulder of a barnstorming Jack Dempsey to collect the offload and feed Horne, who turn sent Cole Forbes racing clear. The winger would beat the last man and dive over to bring Scotstoun to its feet, Horne converting for a sublime score.
The crowd were still on their feet when the hosts struck again, and in scintillating fashion. Rory Darge’s break from five metres in front of his own line saw the flanker burst into space, Horne again the conduit to slip the ball to Steyn. The skipper would draw the last man to send Huw Jones under the posts to a cacophony of noise, Horne adding the extras for a 61-26 lead.
Try number 10 was on the cards, and Glasgow delivered in style with nine minutes remaining. Once more the lineout was the catalyst, Turner this time peeling blind and feeding Horne. The scrum-half flipped the offload out of the back of the hand to Steyn, the winger duly applying the finish for a 66-26 lead.
Dee would cross for his second try of the night with four minutes remaining, but the final word would belong to the Warriors. With the home crowd urging their side on, Steyn would apply the coup de grace by racing over in front of the East Stand, Horne nailing his ninth conversion of the night to put the final seal on an historic night.
The final whistle was drowned out by the chants from the Warrior Nation, rising to acclaim their heroes This was a night that, undoubtedly, belonged to Glasgow.