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Last-gasp Rhys Patchell penalty helps Cardiff Blues to victory over Dragons

Published 27/12/2015

Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell kicked a late winning penalty against Newport Gwent Dragons
Cardiff Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell kicked a late winning penalty against Newport Gwent Dragons

Full-back Rhys Patchell landed a dramatic last-gasp penalty to secure a derby day victory for Cardiff Blues over Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Patchell had landed two penalties and a conversion of a penalty try before, having missed a conversion of wing Tom James' late try, he booted a touchline three-pointer to seal a 21-20 victory.

The Dragons had been 17-6 up during the second half after wing Ashton Hewitt scored a first-half try and fly-half Dorian Jones booted three penalties and a drop goal, with Jones' replacement Jason Tovey kicking a fourth penalty.

The win sends the Blues above the Dragons into ninth place in the Guinness PRO12 table but it was the home side who got off to a flyer as Jones landed a cracking 28-metre drop goal.

Jones was also involved in the only try, which went unconverted, of the first half when he threw a long pass to the left wing for Hewitt to collect and race to the corner, resisting the tackles of Patchell and wing Alex Cuthbert.

The Blues began to find their way into the match, and they did when Patchell got the Blues off the mark with a straightforward 24-metre penalty.

And another ruck offence saw Patchell's second penalty, this time from 25 metres, sail between the posts.

The sides fought tooth and nail for the derby day bragging rights, but the Dragons just about edged it by the interval as the Blues failed to come close to crossing the home line.

And just when it seemed the two-point gap would remain to the break, an infringement 40 metres out from the Blues pack saw Jones boom the ball between the posts, and the home fly-half extended the lead further moments into the second period when the ball was illegally kicked out of a ruck by the Blues on their 10-metre line.

The match became a war of attrition up front but the Dragons enjoyed a great breakaway when the Blues lost a scrum on the home 22. Flanker Nick Crosswell picked up and, two passes later, Hewitt was sent dashing down the left flank, with only some top cover stopping the dash to the line by scrum-half Charlie Davies.

The Blues were in danger of losing their composure as a third Jones penalty hoisted the Gwent side to a 17-6 advantage which their territorial dominance fully deserved.

But, after Dragons coach Lyn Jones made the strange decision of replacing his two best players - Jones and lock Rynard Landman - the Blues hit back when they drove a ruck to the home line only for it to be illegally pulled down.

Referee Ian Davies awarded a penalty try, that Patchell converted, and sent home number eight Lewis Evans to the sin-bin.

It set up a tense finale as Tovey put the Dragons seven points ahead only for a blistering unconverted try, set up by Dan Fish and scored by James, put the Blues within one goal of victory.

And, when the home side infringed at a ruck near the left touchline, Patchell completed the one-point triumph for the Blues.

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