SCRUM Web Columnist ‘The Pen’ is a happier man this week after a Warriors’ win:
I won’t lie to you, I was worried going into the Dragons game and after 20 minutes, I was even more worried, but that Warrior spirit pulled them through and broke the losing streak!
The first 30 minutes were tough. Everything we’ve seen over the last few weeks against Scarlets, Ulster and Ospreys was on display. A lack of cohesion, mistakes… you name it, it was there and we struggled to deal at times with the Dragons.
I must say though, the try scored by the Welsh was questionable at best.
It looked very much like the ball was grounded short but the referee and his TMO decided that it was over and with Dragons converting and adding to their earlier penalty, it was 0-10 and things were not looking good.
But the heads didn’t go down and when Nick Grigg collected the ball from Peter Horne and bludgeoned his way over the line it suggested that something was different from the games which had preceded this.
With Brian Alainu’uese in top form and carrying like a removal man wanting to finish early on a Friday, Glasgow had a solid foundation and it wasn’t long before Grigg was battering his way over the whitewash again after a couple of lovely steps and he was in for his second of the game.
14-10 and beginning to click, there was more than a tinge of sadness as Richie Vernon, collecting the ball from the restart, pushed off his right foot and something betrayed the big fella and he was down and in some considerable pain. I’d like to wish my big mate Richie a very speedy recovery and hope it’s not as serious as it seemed.
When the second half kicked off, it took just two minutes for birthday boy Rory Hughes to score. When it seemed like he was shut down, he spun and pushed his way through the Dragons and set the tone for the rest of the half.
Glasgow were now in the mood and they cast aside the shackles of those recent defeats and expressed themselves as only the Warriors can.
Following another great Grigg run and Corey Flynn almost losing his head in contact, Horne sprayed the ball to the wing with a perfectly weighted kick to Ratu Tagive who scored his first Warriors try.
Another player who made headlines during the week after signing a new two year deal and being selected for his 50th Warriors appearance, Lee Jones got himself on the score sheet and the game was dead and buried.
The question then became how many they wanted to try and get and it came from a lovely little inside pass from that man Grigg to Mark Bennett and with his pace there was going to be no stopping him in his quest for the line.
It was Horne who wrapped up the Warriors scoring following another lovely move but annoyingly, Glasgow took their eye of the ball with the clock in the red and a horrendously loose pass which let the Dragons in.
This was a much, much improved Warriors performance than we’ve seen over the last few weeks. Once that first 20-30 minutes was out of the way and they found their way into the game there was only ever one winner and the Warriors relied on a few excellent performances to get them the victory.
Horne had a cracking game at 10 and showed that he is back to full fitness and looking sharp. Mark Bennett looked like the Bennett we knew from last season and he may have secured his place on the bench for the Calcutta Cup match on Saturday.
Tim Swinson also continued to show that he is in the form of his life and he really has stepped his game up this season.
For me though, two performances summed up the Warriors game. Nick Grigg was a nuisance all afternoon and with his power and pace, the Dragons didn’t have a clue how to handle him. For his size, standing just 5ft 9”, he’s deceptively powerful and he has pace to burn.
While Grigg turned the afterburners on, Brian Alainu’uese was tuning up that big diesel rig of his and he was virtually unstoppable. The big guy had a tough start to life as a Warrior and I for one questioned whether he had what it takes to earn a regular deal, but having seen his performances in the last few games I’d offer him a two or three year deal tomorrow.
He offers something a little different to what we have and if nothing else, to be able to have Jonny, Swinno, Cummings and Big Bad Brian as options in the boiler room is a headache that many coaches would kill for.
So are the play-offs still a realistic possibility? Personally, I doubt it. A first 30 minutes like this against Leinster and Munster (granted we’ll be at near full strength) will see us with more than a molehill to climb and those two sides will not be as wasteful as the Dragons.
It’s now just over weeks before the team go again against Connacht and that will be a much sterner test than that offered by the Dragons.
The Warriors will have to ensure they are on top form to overcome the lads from Galway. Let’s hope the team can keep the performance levels going and that pesky Calcutta Cup doesn’t get in the way…
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