Glasgow Warriors cruised to a bonus point 40-7 victory over Dragons to move into second place in the United Rugby Championship with an explosive start key to their dominance at Scotstoun.

Glasgow have made their home ground a fortress so it was no surprise that they started the game with speed and they were in front after 30 seconds when Josh McKay got the opening score of the game to set up a good evening for the sold out home support. Stafford McDowall, captain for the night, got a second try after three minutes before McKay added another before half time.

Ben Afshar got his first try for the club early in the second half before Dragons then thought they had a try, but it was chopped off after a TMO review for obstruction. After a whole host of changes they did eventually get on the scoresheet though with Will Reed going over in the corner, and there was no TMO intervention to save Glasgow from conceding on this occasion.

The visitors have yet to pick up a point on their travels this season and that continued with Franco Smith’s men continuing to dominate and they added a fifth and sixth try on the night with Facundo Cordero getting his first try of his Warriors career on his debut before McDowall got his second of the evening with a great bit of play to put some extra gloss on the scoreline.

It was a night that then allowed a further debut in Glasgow colours as Scotland U20 vice captain Ruaridh Hart made his first steps into the professional game before the clock went red and Glasgow took the bonus point victory.

Fast start key to victory

Glasgow were quick out of the blocks at Scotstoun and although there’s the caveat that Dragons have been struggling all season, it was a bright beginning with Josh McKay crossing the line after 30 seconds and then Stafford McDowall got a try of his own two minutes later with Ross Thompson adding the extras for both of them to put them into an early 14-0 lead. It meant that even though there wasn’t much scoring for the rest of the first half, there was no doubts creeping into the supporters minds and the players could play a relaxed game. When McKay added a third before half time the really were in cruise control with their exciting brand of rugby with more to follow in the second half but a big part of the success they had came from that quick start that meant their opponents were fighting a losing battle from the first minute of the match.

Josh McKay turns on the style

The New Zealander was loving it out on the Scotstoun surface and every time he got the ball it looked like he could cause problems. The catch out of the air and then run through to open the scoring after 30 seconds summed up his night. After a pretty uneventful first half despite the incredibly quick start, it was McKay who got the next score when he made a great run into space and continued his fine performance. A hat trick might not have followed in the second half but he continued his efforts and looked a danger throughout the match. He missed the end of last season through injury but he’s been vital since returning if Glasgow are to go as far as they want in the URC and in the Champions Cup then he’s going to be key to whatever success they might get.

Glasgow go second

The bonus point win has helped Glasgow move into second in the table ahead of the Bulls and keeps them within touching distance of Leinster. A home semi-final in the playoffs is on the cards if they stay in the top four and Franco Smith’s side don’t look likely to give that away any time soon. They might have been missing a lot of key players because of internationals and injury but you wouldn’t have noticed with everyone showing up well to prove what a strong squad Smith has at his disposal with him even being able to hand out a debut to Hart late on in the match.

Stafford leads from the front

Stafford McDowall was captain and he led from the front with a brilliant display from outside centre. He got himself a try early and when he added a second late on in the match, there wasn’t much more you could ask for him in his performance. Scotland have a lot of depth at centre but with members of Gregor Townsend’s coaching staff in attendance then he would have done himself no harm in adding to the one Scotland cap he picked up against Italy last season and he’ll be hoping he can do that before the end of the Six Nations.

Bhatti hits 100

Jamie Bhatti might not have been afforded the opportunity to line out for Scotland in the Six Nations so far but he was back in action for Glasgow and performed well for the 57 minutes he was on the pitch. There is no doubt he’ll have been frustrated not to have played against France and Wales but similar to McDowall mentioned earlier, he’ll have done himself a favour with this showing and Townsend might be keen to look at him more over the next week before he selects his team to face England in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield next weekend.


Glasgow Warriors: J McKay, F Cordero, S McDowall, T Jordan, J Dobie, R Thompson (D Weir, 58), B Afshar (S Kennedy 61), J Bhatti (N MacBeth 57), J Matthews (A Fraser 76), L Sordoni (O Kebble 57), M Williamson (R Hart 76), A Samuel (S Manjezi 57), E Ferrie, T Gordon (G Hiddleston 61), H Venter

Tries: McKay 1 min, 37, McDowall 3 75, Afshar 44, Cordero 70

Conversions: Thompson 1, 3, 37, 44, Weir 76

Dragons: C Evans (W Reed 16), J Rosser (J Westwood 60), S Hughes, A Owen, O Andrew, A O’Brien, D Blacker (C Hope 61), R Jones (A Seiuli, 45), J Benjamin, C Coleman (L Yendle 58), J Davies (B Langton 61), M Screech, S Lonsdale, G Young (B Coghlan 10), D Lydiate (S Scarfe)

Trys: Reed 64

Conversions: O’Brien 64

Referee: Andy Brace

Attendance: 7216