Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Dragons too good for Zebre

Lewis Evans helped Newport Gwent Dragons down Zebre.

Newport Gwent Dragons maintained their perfect home start to the season by beating Zebre 30-7 at Rodney Parade.

Two tries by Wales Under-20s wing Hallam Amos and another from Richie Rees secured the Dragons' third RaboDirect Pro12 win of the campaign and condemned Zebre to yet another pointless evening.

Lyn Jones' side headed into the game with morale high thanks to home successes against Ulster and the Scarlets.

They faced a Zebre side buoyed by the only success in their history last time they had visited Wales.

The Italians, who failed to win a single game in 2012/13, had triumphed against Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital a fortnight earlier.

After a hectic start the visitors should have opened the scoring only for fly-half Luciano Orquera to strike the left upright with a simple penalty.

Instead that honour went to Jason Tovey when the Dragons number 10 slotted over a three-pointer after 13 minutes and he doubled the lead when he repeated the trick five minutes later.

It looked like the hosts would go into the break 9-0 up courtesy of another Tovey penalty but on the stroke of half-time the Dragons scored their first try of the match.

Former New Zealand international Brendon Leonard was disposed at the base of a scrum 10 metres from the Zebre line and the Dragons pounced, Fijian back row forward Netani Talei putting teenage wing Amos over in the corner.

Tovey added to the Italians' pain when he superbly converted from the left touchline for a 16-0 lead at the break.

And the hosts secured the win eight minutes after the restart when Lions star Toby Faletau - impressive throughout - set up Amos for a second after a powerful charge from a scrum on halfway.

Tovey made it five kicks from five to stretch the lead to 23-0 but the Italians finally got on the scoresheet when wing Leonardo Sarto gathered a kick to dot down in the right corner, Orquera adding the conversion.

But the Dragons regained their composure immediately and, with Zebre flanker Mauro Bergamasco in the sin bin, scrum-half Rees pounced after a dominant home scrum with Tovey again converting.

The hosts then piled on the pressure in the closing stages in a bid to secure their first four-try bonus point win since beating Zebre in the first game of last season.

But to the Italians' credit they stood firm despite the game being out of their reach, flinging their bodies on the line to prevent the Dragons from putting the cherry on top.

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