Connor praises Dragons spirit
Newport Gwent Dragons coach Shaun Connor praised his side's sprit after their impressive 28-20 LV= Cup victory over Sale at Edgeley Park.
The build-up to the game had been tumultuous for the Dragons after head coach Paul Turner was suspended pending an internal disciplinary hearing. But three quick tries at the start of the second period from wingers Adam Hughes (two) and Aled Brew, aided by 13 points from the boot of Matthew Jones saw the Welsh side prevail.
"What impressed me was the heart out there. There was a 15-minute period at the end where we were just constantly defending," said Connor.
"But the spirit and heart to stick at it even though we conceded late in phase play.
"We came here to do a job, we came here to play, we were focused on the game and the boys have delivered. We talked at half-time about controlling phase play a little bit better. We gave the ball back to Sale a little bit too easily and against a side like Sale, they'll punish you."
Sale head coach Pete Anglesea was understandably frustrated by his side's defeat, a loss that dents their semi-final chances.
Having gone into the game top of their group, this defeat leaves them needing other results to go their way if they are to progress.
"We didn't start very well in the second-half, whether there's a lack belief in there I don't know," he said.
"I've told them to look at Marc Jones and how Marc Jones played. I thought he was absolutely 100% committed, he obviously wanted to win. We showed glimpses of good stuff but defensive errors against a well-drilled Newport Gwent Dragons team cost us in the end.
"I heard a quote from somebody downstairs that it looked like a team that was battle-hardened in the Heineken Cup against a team that's battle-hardened in the Amlin Challenge Cup, maybe the lack of intensity in the last two weeks has shown."