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April 01, 2023
Glasgow Warriors 73 - 33 Dragons
European Challenge Cup match played at Scotstoun on Saturday April 1st 2023 | No comments
Johnny Matthews went over for five tries, a new club record Glasgow Warriors secured a European Challenge Cup quarter final with a thumping 73-33 win over Dragons at Scotstoun this evening.
It was an evening of new records. It was the highest points tally ever posted by a Glasgow side and their eleven tries was also a new landmark. Johnny Matthews, the hooker, scored five of them, another club record, as the Warriors booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. Their opponents will be South African side the Lions, who defeated Racing 92 51-28 and will travel to Scotstoun next Saturday.
Four of Matthews' scores came in the first half after George Horne had opened the scoring for Warriors. Jordan Williams, Rio Dyer and Jared Rosser replying for Dragons in a first-half that saw their prop Aki Seiuli red-carded.
Matthews made it five early in the second period before George Turner, Cole Forbes, Huw Jones and a double from Kyle Steyn completed the rout..
Will Reed and Elliot Dee also crossed for Dragons but Glasgow had too much power for the men from Wales.
Warriors are on a fine run of form with just one defeat in their last 13 in all competitions, and it took just two minutes for them to strike. A great break from Steyn opened up the Dragons and George Horne was on hand to go over for the try.
Dragons enjoyed a bright spell of play, controlling ball and territory but rarely looked like breaking down a tight home defence. Glasgow made them pay when Matthews touched down from a rolling lineout maul in their next visit into Dragons territory.
Dragons hit back with a well-worked try that was finished off by Williams to narrow Glasgow's lead.
Glasgow prop Allan Dell showed power and pace to break through the Dragons defence into open field before slowing to find Matthews on his shoulder to charge to the line for his second try.
Matthews didn't have long to wait for his hat-trick try, this time coming from another rolling maul.
Dragons wouldn't go away, though, and Dyer went over in the corner after a clever set-piece move caught out the Warriors defence.
Dragons' hopes of finding a way back into the match suffered a significant blow when former Glasgow man Seiuli was shown a red card for a reckless clearout that made contact with Horne's head.
Glasgow made the numerical advantage count immediately with Matthews going over again after great work from his pack.
Dragons had the last word of the first-half, Rosser powering over to reduce the deficit to 33-19.
The visitors had no answer to Glasgow's mauling power and Matthews burst over early in the second period for his fifth try.
Reed dived over for Dragons' fourth try to keep their feint hopes alive at 40-26 but that didn't last long after Glasgow substitute Turner got into the try-scoring action from another maul.
From the re-start Dempsey made ground before slick work from Ollie Smith and George Horne put Cole Forbes over to bring up the half-century of points.
Warriors were now right in the mood and another sweeping move involving Rory Darge, Horne and Steyn was finished off by Jones.
Darge, Horne and Steyn combined for a brilliant tenth try and, while substitute hooker Dee crossed late on for Dragons, Jones put Steyn in again in the closing seconds to take the match past the 100-points mark.
"There are a lot of things we can do much better, but for tonight we must take the joy out of the win," said Glasgow Head Coach Franco Smith. "There was a conversation in the changing room - I don't want to say we are disappointed, but we are not completely happy with how it went. That's the group - not me. The fact that we've allowed them to score three tries with only 14 players on the field hurts.
"The fact they scored any points hurts for us because it's our objective to be as good as we can be on both sides of the ball," added Smith. "For tonight there is a lot of joy we must take, but it is not our objective to chase records. If it happens, compliments to the players and coaches, definitely. But our objective is to be the best we can be. We took some good strides but we can still be a lot more clinical."
Smith praised the contribution of man-of-the-match Johnny Matthews, in particular the try he ran in after a great break from prop Allan Dell. "It was great to see," said Smith. "But I think the one he scored from general play was also really good. I think Johnny will be the first guy to thank the guys in front of him for their hard work in the maul. He's the ball-carrier in that regard and he gets the accolade with the tries. But I'm glad our set-piece is getting better."
Warriors will wait anxiously for news on Sione Vailanu, who went off with a knee injury. "We'll assess it fully during the week," said Smith. "He came down hard on his knee."