Duncan Bell’s shock return to the rugby field ended in victory as Newport Gwent Dragons defeat Glasgow Warriors 24-23 in a thrilling RaboDirect PRO12 encounter.
Bell has not played a professional game for two years after he ended his career while at Bath and is the current head coach at Lydney.
The 39-year-old was called in by the Dragons to help their depleted squad which has been suffering after a spate of injuries, suspensions and illness.
Glasgow had won their last four games in the RaboDirect PRO12 but when the Dragons took the lead for the first time ten minutes before the end thanks to Ross Wardle’s try, they managed to hold out for a vital victory.
The Warriors made the faster start and were 7-0 up within three minutes.
After a kick was charged down the ball fell to Rob Harley who finished under the posts – with Finn Russell adding the simple conversion.
Jason Tovey got the Dragons’ first points on the board seven minutes later with a successful penalty but it was soon cancelled out by a Mark Bennett’s three points.
The Dragons were soon driving towards the line and after a beautiful off load Owen Evans touched down for the try.
Tovey put the conversion over to bring the game level but the fly-half then had to leave the field through injury and was replaced by Dorian Jones.
The Warriors were back in front before half-time, Niko Matawalu latched on to a loose ball and ran the length of the opposition’s half.
Russell’s conversion was followed by the whistle just five minutes later and the visitors led 17-10 at half time.
The second half started slowly and two missed penalties by Rhys Jones, for the Dragons, came either side of Russell putting his side into a ten-point lead with his successful kick.
Cory Hill’s try and the resulting conversion from Rhys Jones put the home side within three points but Russell scored another penalty to keep his team clear of a comeback.
Another charge down, this time for Dragons, led to them taking the lead for the first-time, Wardle made it across the try line before Rhys Jones added the two points.
The in-form Russell had a chance to snatch the win with six minutes to go but his penalty was just short and the Dragons saw out the remainder of the game to get their first victory in four games.