European wrap: Warriors fall but Dragons roar on

Andrew Lawton
09 December 2017

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Round three of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup got underway on Friday night, with two Guinness PRO14 teams in action.

Glasgow Warriors – still yet to lose in the league this season – were unable to carry the form over as they went down to Montpellier at Scotstoun in the Champions Cup.

But the Challenge Cup saw the Dragons get the points, with a whole host of Guinness PRO14 teams continuing their European adventure across the next two days.

Glasgow fall short at Scotstoun

Warriors losses at Scotstoun have become something of a collector’s item this season, though Dave Rennie’s side were unable to get the win against Vern Cotter’s Montpellier.

That was despite the hosts taking the lead, a lovely set piece move seeing Leonardo Sarto drive and dive under the posts for his side’s first score.

The try quality was to get better, with a Finn Russell out-of-the-back offload catching everyone by surprise – except George Turner, who gleefully made the most of the chance to dive through the gap and score.

By this time Kelian Galletier had already got the French side on the board and he quickly had his second before half-time, while a penalty score had the Top-14 side ahead 19-17 come the referee’s whistle.

A Jacques du Plessis score extended the advantage, but Sarto’s second of the evening was something to behold as Glasgow went the length of the field before the wing did what he does best to finish off.

Francois Steyn’s penalty took the difference to seven points, with Warriors unable to get the decisive try as they fell to a third defeat of the Champions Cup campaign, losing 29-22.

Dragons fire the flame through the Rodney Parade snow

Dragons moved to the top of Pool 1 in the Challenge Cup with a three-try, 15-0 win over Enisei-STM at Rodney Parade – in a game which saw no kicks between the posts.

They had to be patient but the opening score on 23 minutes was worth the wait, Arwel Robson’s positive work doing the damage as Adam Warren touched down.

The score was to stay at 5-0 until the second half, with some clever work seeing Dragons double up as Angus O’Brien’s grubbed kick found the on-rushing Aaron Wainwright.

The flanker was to make no mistake, scoring his first try for the Dragons and an all-important one at that at 54 minutes.

The third was to come ten minutes from time, centre Warren again getting on the scoresheet, though the bonus point was to prove elusive in Newport.

What they said…

Dragons backs coach Shaun Connor said:

“After last week’s performance where we played well, it’s probably a step backwards tonight, but it’s a victory so we’ll take the positives out of it.

“Enisei came here tonight with a game plan and they played it well, by trying to take momentum out of the game and slowing it down.

“Dan Babos and Arwel Robson wouldn’t have been used to that kind of game. It was physical and they priobably like a more flowing, running game. But tonight was a battle and they will be better for it.

“We’re disappointed to not get the bonus point, but we go on to Newcastle next week and if we can win that game it sets us up for the double header against Bordeaux.

“We’re on 10 points now after 3 games and 20 points is generally a good figure to qualify for the knockouts so a couple wins with bonuses or three wins and we’ll be there, still challenging for a knockout place.”

Glasgow coach Dave Rennie added:

“For us to put Montpellier under pressure, we needed to build phases and try and run them off their feet, but we tried to run around them all night and came unstuck

“They scored 21 points while we had guys in the bin and we lost by seven. We’ve talked about Europe and you’ve got to have attacking balance.

“We have to be prepared to go through the middle a couple of phases and then use it. Really, we’re trying to run around them all day.

“We certainly won’t be taking a second string team over to France next weekend, but we’ll also have the Edinburgh game in the back of our minds.”

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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