Gough helps Dragons beat hangover

Newport-Gwent Dragons 21 - Glasgow 16
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The Independent Online

The Newport-Gwent Dragons returned to winning ways but it will take much more than a lethargic win over Glasgow to end their wait for a league title.

The Newport-Gwent Dragons returned to winning ways but it will take much more than a lethargic win over Glasgow to end their wait for a league title.

The gloom surrounding the Dragons following their Heineken Cup disappointment at Newcastle seven days ago hung over Rodney Parade like the dark rain clouds overhead. But if tries from Ceri Sweeney, Chris Anthony and Percy Montgomery could not clear the skies, they will have gone some way to lightening the mood.

"The Heineken Cup is an emotional competition so it knocks you around a bit when you go out, especially on the last weekend of the pool games," said the coach Chris Anderson. "The guys were pretty flat this week, the whole club was down. But we got this game out of the way and now we can start getting back on track. It wasn't pretty but I thought we showed some guts in defence and that was pleasing to see."

A low-key Celtic League encounter with Glasgow in pouring rain was hardly the tie to shake off a Heineken hang-over, and this was certainly an afternoon for those who can admire the finer arts of forward play and see beauty in confrontation. Or, simply, fans of mud wrestling. The Dragons slumbered early on and the risk of depression setting in was clear until the enthusiasm of two players, both recalled to the Wales squad this week after prolonged absences, finally galvanised those around them.

Kevin Morgan, whose Test career has been plagued by knee injuries, hacked and chased up field to put the Dragons within striking distance. From there Ian Gough, the lock ignored by Steve Hansen, marshalled a line-out to within inches of the line before Ceri Sweeney stepped inside for the opening try.

Sweeney converted and could have extended the lead further, but dropped Morgan's under-weighted pass over the line after the wing's break. Within minutes, however, Gough had created the second score from an exact same position as the first. This time the prop Chris Anthony lunged over.

Hal Luscombe scorched through the visitors' defence to send the full-back Percy Montgomery sailing over to extend the lead in the second half, before Glasgow rallied.

The Scottish side's Canadian prop Kevin Tkachuk crashed over five minutes from time before the impressive Dan Parks landed an injury-time penalty to steal an unlikely bonus point.

Newport-Gwent Dragons: P Montgomery; G Wyatt, H Luscombe, S Tuipulotu (R Oakley, 75), K Morgan; C Sweeney (C Warlow, 66), G Cooper; A Black (R Snow, 60), S Jones (J Richards, 60), C Anthony (R Thomas, 66), I Gough, P Sidoli (L Charteris, 64), J Ringer, M Owen, J Forster (capt).

Glasgow: K Logan; D Millard (C Shaw, 60), A Craig, A Henderson (G Morrison, 60), R Lamont; D Parks, G Beveridge; K Tkachuk, G Bulloch (capt; S Lawson, 54), A Kelly (B Prescott, 64), J Beardshaw, D Turner (A Hall, 53), S Swindall, P Dearlove (J van der Schyff, 10-22), C Mather.

Referee: C Stanley (Ireland)