Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Dragons down rivals Cardiff

Newport Gwent Dragons claimed just their second away win over Cardiff since the inception of regional rugby at a packed Arms Park.

Two tries from line-out drives brought them their fourth victory on the trot in all competitions, although a final quarter rally did earn the hosts a losing bonus point after a 23-17 defeat.

In the end, it was the place kicking of 13-point Dragons full-back Tom Prydie that proved the difference between the sides in a rip-roaring Boxing Day derby.

There was no place in the Blues starting line-up for Kiwi fly-half Gareth Anscombe, who was restricted to a seat on the bench with Gareth Davies preferred at number 10, while Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton missed out through a shoulder injury.

The Dragons back-line featured youngsters Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan, who had been confirmed among the latest recipients of Welsh Rugby Union national dual contracts earlier in the day.

Just minutes before kick-off, the visitors were forced into a change with hooker Rhys Thomas suffering a groin strain in the warm-up, but his replacement Elliot Dee was to have a big impact on the game.

After a very physical opening in driving rain, it was Newport who put the first points on the board with Prydie landing a penalty from halfway.

Twice, fly-half Davies had opportunities to open the Blues' account, but he was wide of the posts on both occasions, the second miss from virtually in front.

It was obvious the Dragons had not come just to make up the numbers, as they took the game to their hosts up front and behind with real intensity, and their ambition was rewarded on the half hour.

Kicking a penalty to the corner, they secured possession through skipper Rynard Landman and then executed a well-worked line-out drive which motored over the whitewash with the impressive Dee gleefully touching down.

Prydie landed the conversion from wide out and a further penalty to stretch the visitors' lead ahead of Davies finding his range with the last kick of the half to make it 13-3 at the break.

The Blues made a double switch just five minutes after the restart with Anscombe coming on for Davies and prop Adam Jones replaced by Tao Filise having had a lecture from the referee along with Dragons loosehead Phil Price over their scrummaging.

But within a minute of the changes, the hosts found themselves in even more trouble as the Dragons secured a second try from a driving line-out.

This one went all the way from the 22, with the backs joining in as it neared the line, and Dee was once again the man to touch down.

But referee Leighton Hodges had already signalled a penalty try against the Blues for pulling down, with Prydie adding the conversion.

As the game moved into the final quarter, the hosts at last managed to find some continuity, stringing together 14 phases that culminated in Kiwi lock Jarrad Hoeata driving over.

Then 10 minutes from time replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle stretched over for a second converted try following an Anscombe break to cut the deficit to three points.

But a fifth successful kick from Prydie sealed the historic win for the Dragons.


From Belfast Telegraph