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Shaun Connor hails Newport Gwent Dragons' resilience

Published 18/11/2016

Shaun Connor praised Newport's resilience
Shaun Connor praised Newport's resilience

Newport Gwent Dragons coach Shaun Connor praised his side's resilience after they came storming back in the second half to secure a 36-21 derby victory against the Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Tries by centre Sam Beard (2), lock Nick Crosswell, full-back Carl Meyer and flanker Harrison Keddie turned around a 16-10 half-time deficit at Rodney Parade, with the Dragons helped by a red card shown to Scarlets flanker Jack Condy for a punch.

The bonus point success keeps the Dragons in contention for a place in the semi-finals with games to come in the new year against Gloucester and Newcastle as they chase down Northampton.

"We're not so happy with the performance but the result was good for us," said backs coach Connor. "We were quite sloppy in the first half but were more accurate in the second.

"We always knew it would take time to wear them down and knew it would come down to the last 15 to 20 minutes.

"We had an experienced side out but there were a lot of youngsters in it as well - Ollie Griffiths, Leon Brown, Harri Keddie, Ashton Hewitt. The difference is that our youngsters have played a lot of rugby over the last few months and it's a positive that we have to blood them early.

"Now we go to Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO12 with a lot of confidence after winning three on the bounce at home. The crowd were fantastic again here so we are looking to give them a lot to cheer."

Scarlets coach Ioan Cunningham lamented Condy's red card, which came when the visitors were leading 16-10 early in the second half.

He said: "The red card definitely had an impact on the game but I've got to give credit to our players, we showed great character and some of our defensive sets at the end were outstanding.

"This group will grow from this experience, we stepped up against a strong Dragons side with players who regularly turn out in the Guinness PRO12.

"We will have to review the red properly and look at all angles before we comment. I don't know if we would have gone on to win but we definitely had the upper hand and momentum when it happened. It did have an impact.

"But the two weeks of Anglo-Welsh has been great for us, we've had some answers on players and developed the group."

The Scarlets, who thumped Bath in Llanelli on opening weekend, face Saracens and Northampton when the tournament returns and trail Pool Four leaders Leicester by four points.

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