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Blues win Welsh derby as Dragons are left with only a bonus


Victory secure: Jason Tovey kicked the decisive penalty
Victory secure: Jason Tovey kicked the decisive penalty

By Steve O'Neill

Cardiff Blues ground out a 16-12 win in a fiercely-fought derby with the Dragons before a sell-out crowd at the Arms Park.

The hosts were outscored by two tries to one but two penalties and a conversion from Jarrod Evans and a penalty from Jason Tovey were just enough to give Blues a valuable four points.

Shane Lewis-Hughes scored their only try, with Taine Basham and Matthew Screech responding with tries for Dragons. Sam Davies added a conversion.

Dragons had the better of the opening 10 minutes but it was the hosts who took the lead.

The home side secured possession in the Dragons' half for Evans to bemuse two defenders with a mazy run before providing flanker Lewis-Hughes with an easy run-in.

The Blues looked sharp in attack and with Evans pulling the strings, the Dragons defence was under constant threat.

They suffered a blow when prop Keiron Assarati was forced off with a hip injury, but they overcame this setback to have more of the game in the second quarter and were rewarded with a penalty from Evans to extend their lead.

Two minutes from the interval, Dragons picked up the try that their first half efforts deserved. On halfway, the visitors' pack won a scrum penalty and a superb kick from Sam Davies secured his side a five-metre line-out. From there, Dragons' pack rumbled forward for Basham to score, with Davies missing the conversion to leave the Gwent side trailing 10-5 at half-time.

After the restart, Dragons lock Cory Hill was penalised for not releasing and, now with the wind in his favour, Evans attempted the kick from halfway only to see it come back off the crossbar.

Moments later, Dragons took the lead for the first time. Basham intercepted a pass from Josh Navidi to race into the home 22. The flanker was hauled down by Evans but the ball was recycled for Screech to burst through to score.

Davies converted, but Blues were quickly back in front when Dragons skipper Rhodri Williams was penalised for a high tackle and up stepped Evans to knock over the resulting kick.

Tovey's penalty 12 minutes from time made sure.

Meanwhile, Scarlets secured a record 44-0 win over Ospreys to move into second place in Conference B.

Two tries each from wings Steffan Evans and Ryan Conbeer, along with scores from Kieran Hardy and Josh Macleod, condemned the Ospreys to their 10th straight defeat. Leigh Halfpenny and Angus O'Brien also kicked 14 points between them.

• Dungannon won the Jack Kyle Cup for the third successive time, with a 26-15 victory over Ballymena at Eaton Park.

The home team led 15-12 at half-time but Dungannon stormed back with two late tries from hooker Daniel Mikolajczyk and Gordon Stewart.

Ballymena took the early lead with a John Glover try which was cancelled out by one from Mikolajczyk.

Aaron Nelson goaled a Bradley Mulholland try for the visitors, but Ballymena gained the upper hand with scores from scrum-half Ben Scullion and out-half Finlay Walker.

But Stewart's try sealed it, the second row forward winning a line out and was involved in the passing movement before crashing over in the corner.

Belfast Telegraph


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