Embed from Getty Images

Scots Shows The Benefit Of World Cup Returns As Welsh Regions Struggle

Dragon Bet image 2

By Paul Jones

If the four Welsh regions need reminding of the need to get their Wales World Cup players back in action as soon as possible, it was provided by Glasgow Warriors at the weekend.

Glasgow coach and former Newport player Franco Smith spoke of his pride in the Scotland World Cup stars who helped secure a 43-25 victory over Leinster on the opening weekend of the URC season.

The first Welsh region to take on the might of Leinster will be the Dragons who the Irish province at Rodney Parade on November 12.

Huw Jones, Rory Darge, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings and George Horne all featured in the bonus point win at Scotstoun just a fortnight after playing in the final group game against Ireland out in France.

Centre Jones produced a try-scoring Player of the Match display, while scrum-half Horne also touched down on his 100th appearance for Glasgow as they built on a 24-13 half-time lead.

Head coach Smith said: “This is the fourth team I have coached where I have had a lot of internationals coming back off the World Cup or the Six Nations and there’s always a little bit of doubt.

“But I am really proud of these boys. They stand up for what Glasgow Warriors is about and they proved they care a lot.

“It’s difficult to ignore that kind of experience. There is another bunch of them coming in this week and they will take the baton on.”

Reflecting on the seven-try win over Leinster, Smith said: “It was a classic start of the season game, with good intent from both teams. We made a lot of beginning of the season errors, but if you don’t try, you are not going to get better.

“We are excited to start with a win. I am really grateful for the attitude of the boys and the fact they were so resilient in defence.”

Having gone unbeaten until the final round of the regular season last term, Leinster have now lost in round one, with head coach Leo Cullen left to reflect on missed opportunities.

“It’s the first game of the season, so we know both teams are going to be a little bit off in lots of different areas and that was probably the case,” said Cullen, who didn’t have any Ireland World Cup players on duty.

“Glasgow were pretty clinical in terms of their scoring opportunities. On the flip side of that, we had lots of chances. We had that period just before half-time where we had multiple penalties and then we got turned over, which was a little deflating.

“We regathered our composure and got it back to 24-20 and we were pounding away at the try line against 14 men at that stage, but we couldn’t quite get over for a score.“Unfortunately, we gave away a few tries at the end which took the game away from us.

“It’s a bit painful to go through and we are a little bit frustrated, but for the young guys there were lots of good learning in there.”

Leinster will now turn their attention to next Saturday’s meeting with the Hollywoodbets Sharks at Dublin’s RDS.

“We’ve got a seven game block at the start of the BKT URC season and you’ve got to accumulate as many points as you can,” said Cullen. “We’ve got nothing yet, so we need to get up and running next week.”

The Dragons and Cardiff will lock horns at Rodney Parade in the first Welsh derby of the season on Sunday having both let winning positions slip in their opening fixtures.

The Dragons led 14-3 against Edinburgh at half-time before ultimately going down 22-17, as Scotland fly-half Ben Healy kicked the visitors to victory late on.

Head coach Dai Flanagan said: “Our discipline let us down. It cost us. We gave 20 penalties away, so we have to take a long hard look at ourselves.

“Some stuff we hadn’t seen in the two pre-season matches crept back into our game under pressure and fatigue. We have got to put some heat on each other.

“It’s hard to pick out positives in that performance, if I am totally honest. We have got to be better. We have got to dust ourselves down. We have got a big derby next week.”

As for Cardiff, they were 19-10 up at the break against Benetton and still ahead with just a minute to go at the Arms Park, only for Jacob Umaga to snatch the spoils with a penalty awarded after prop Ciaran Parker was sent off on his league debut for the hosts.

Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt remained philosophical, saying: “We’ve been on the other side of those late kicks on occasions and it’s important not to judge an entire game on one moment.

“We were really good in the first half, our set piece and defence were excellent and we took our chances well. But we need to look at why we couldn’t keep it going in the second half.”

There were no wins for the Welsh regions on the opening weekend, with the Ospreys losing 34-26 to Connacht in Galway and the Scarlets leaking nine tries as they were thumped 63-21 by the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

Elsewhere, Munster began the defence of their title with a 34-21 bonus point victory over the Hollywoodbets Sharks, with fly-half Joey Carbery named Man of the Match.

The South African derby saw the DHL Stormers hold off a late rally from the Emirates Lions to win 35-33 in Johannesburg.

Dragon Bet image 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *