Glasgow Warriors stopped their run of defeats and kept alive their slim hopes of making the Pro12 play-offs with a resounding 7-try victory over a Newport team whose slip into decline seems to gather pace quicker than Stuart Hogg.
The visitors started brightly and took a 10-0 lead following a penalty from Angus O’Brien and a try by lock Rynard Landman, who managed to roll the tip of the ball onto the line.
Whatever Henry Pyrgos said to the other Warriors’ players as they waited for the TMO’s decision worked wonders, as from the 23rd minute to the 79th, the Warriors scored 47 unanswered points.
The Warriors claimed the restart, and when Mark Bennett put a perfectly weighted grubber kick through, the retreating Dragons were forced over their own line to concede a 5m scrum. Take one: Pyrgos to Horne to Grigg, who bullied his way over the line, only to be held up. Take two: the same trio combined, but this time Grigg was able to get the ball down and reduce the deficit.
Less than ten minutes later, the diminutive centre then put the home side in the lead with a tremendous solo score. Spotting a gap between tight-head Brok Harris and earlier try-scorer Landman, he raced away, side-stepped full-back Tom Pyrdie and put the Warriors in the lead.
Half-time: Glasgow 14-10 Dragons
The second half must have had Newport head coach Kingsley Jones pulling what’s left of his hair out in absolute despair, as time and time again, the Warriors were able to either find gaps or simply burst through. (For those who like their stats, Newport completed 131 tackles, but missed 31.)
Next over the try-line was Rory Hughes, who cut a nicely angled line through the middle to take the ball at pace, and the big winger powered through at least three attempts at tackles before going over. Prior to this, the Castlemilk man, with his left knee heavily strapped, had looked in a bit of bother, and this was to be his last involvement.
The dominance continued, and with Glasgow just a few metres short of the line on the right a cross-kick from Horne gave home debutant Ratu Tagive the simple task of catching the ball in acres of space and touching down on the left. Horne, whose distribution and variation of pass throughout was exceptional, to the point it was like having two scrum-halves on the pitch, inexplicably missed the conversion, but that was the only blot on an otherwise tremendous display from the Scotland star still getting back to match sharpness.
Lee Jones then pirouetted through to celebrate his new contract with a try, Mark Bennett – who was a constant threat throughout – then motored through more lacklustre defending to add more gloss to the scoreline. Peter Horne, who had moved back to his more natural position of inside centre with the introduction of Brandon Thomson, took a simple inside pass from the South African fly-half, to add 5 points to his own personal tally.
Newport scored a last-minute consolation try through Tyler Morgan following some kamikaze passing from the home side, but it still meant a remarkably easy bonus-point win for the men in black. Hughes’ injury and another stretchering-off for cult hero Richie Vernon were the only downsides to a dominant Glasgow display.
Credit must also be given to Brian Alainu’uese, who once again thundered his way through all that stood before him.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Attendance: 7,067 (allegedly)
SRBlog Man of the Match: Sponsor’s MOTM went to Big Brian Alai… right I’m just calling him Big Brido from now on, but I’m going to give it to Peter Horne. I’ve said before I prefer him at centre, even to the man himself, but he passed exquisitely off either hand, which really kept Newport guessing, and let Bennett and Grigg cut right through a hapless Dragons’ defence.