Mass brawl mars Dragons win
London Wasps face an uphill battle to make the knockout stages of this year's LV= Cup after losing 20-8 at Newport Gwent Dragons in a game marred by a mass brawl that spilled over the touchline.
The home side were 13-8 in front at the break thanks to a try from wing Matthew Pewtner and two penalties and a conversion from full-back Rhys Jones against a try from flanker Matt Everard and fly-half Joe Carlisle's penalty.
A try from Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt, converted by Jones, was the only score of the second half.
Both sides needed to sink their teeth into the competition at the second attempt having lost in round one a week ago. The Dragons went down 21-13 to Scarlets in Llanelli while Wasps were stung by Saracens at Adams Park.
After Jones and Carlisle exchanged early penalties, it was Wasps who had the first chance of a try when wing Tom Howe went storming up the right only for his pack to infringe at the breakdown and give away a needless home clearance penalty.
The Dragons were having problems competing among the front row with Wasps' Ricky Reeves, Neil Cochrane and Phil Swainston in control.
But, after a slow start, the match livened up in the second 20 minutes of the half.
Jones booted the second of his penalties from 35 metres to put the Dragons back in front but Wasps were on the front foot on the right wing where Howe, Jonah Holmes and Tommy Bell were causing problems.
It was from that area of attack that Wasps got their reward with a well-worked try when they took an attacking line-out and drove Cochrane over from five metres.
However, the two-point lead - Carlisle failed with the conversion - lasted only minutes as the Dragons grabbed an excellent breakaway try which ended with debutant lock Cory Hill, signed from Moseley this week, put in Pewtner on the right for Jones to convert with aplomb from the touchline.
After a nasty incident where Jonathan Evans was smashed full in the face by the ball when Jones tried to clear from the 22, the plucky home scrum-half picked himself up and nearly got the Dragons second try when another breakaway, this time from inside their own half, saw Wasps centre Ben Jacobs produce a try-saving tackle.
Tempers flared after another less-than-eventful 20-minute period when the sides engaged in a battle that required referee Steve Lee to issue a general warning to both captains.
As the atmosphere heated up inside Rodney Parade, so did the home side's belief as they began to gather the momentum they needed to close in on the victory.
It did not help Wasps' cause when the punches started flying again and, this time, the referee had had enough and sent replacement lock Kearman Myall to the sin bin.
Replacement wing Will Harries started Hewitt's great solo effort for the try that sealed the home win as the latter danced around the defence to score.
But the game finished with ugly scenes as both sides got stuck into each other on the touchline, sending players into the advertising hoardings before the referee decided to blow for full-time.