Dragons see off Treviso challenge
Newport Gwent Dragons pulled away from the bottom of the Guinness Pro12 table with a 33-15 bonus-point victory over basement side Benetton Treviso at Rodney Parade.
It was the first victory from four attempts in the league this season for the Welshmen, who grabbed two tries either side of half-time.
Wing Hallam Amos got a brace in the opening period before centre Ashley Smith and scrum-half Jonathan Evans went over after the break.
Treviso's tries came in the latter part of the match, when number eight Matt Luamanu and his replacement Leo Auva'a both crashed over. Dragons outside-half Jason Tovey added three penalties and two conversions against a penalty and conversion for former Worcester back Joe Carlisle.
By half-time, the Dragons were on course for victory in a period which started lively but then faded to a drab, error-strewn mess.
Tovey, back in action from injury, took advantage of a Treviso error for a 26-metre penalty. And soon after, Treviso wing Andrea Pratichetti threw a lazy pass on halfway wide to be easily intercepted by Wales international Amos for a score near the posts that Tovey converted.
Victory for the Welsh region would take them above rivals Cardiff Blues and they put themselves in a position to do just that when a great move down the left saw Amos run to the line from 25 metres.
He was hounded by covering centre Luca Morisi, but just managed to dive in at the corner to touch the ball down before hurtling into touch. TV official Gareth Simmonds ruled it in and, with Tovey's excellent touchline conversion, the home crowd were in cheer.
However, the game went down several gears after this. The Dragons defence held firm under pressure but there was not a great deal of creativity at either end.
That changed after the break when the Dragons came out firing. Within minutes of the re-start, they had the try bonus point as Smith went over the Treviso line on the right after some great work by Tovey.
Soon after former Wales full-back Lee Byrne ran down the left and passed inside to Evans for the half-back to run in easily and put Newport firmly in control.
Tovey's conversion left the Dragons 24 points ahead, but when former Wales back row cap Andy Powell was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes after a high tackle, the home side were under pressure.
Treviso decided to make a game of it and scored when Luamanu picked up from a scrum five metres out and drove over for the unconverted touchdown.
That try decision went to the TV ref and Simmonds found himself called on again when Auva'a, Luamanu's replacement, collected an attacking line-out ball five metres out and drove around the blindside to crash over for Carlisle to convert.
Suddenly Treviso were back within range of the Dragons or at least a losing bonus point. However, a mistake in front of their posts put paid to any remarkable comeback and a couple of penalties from Tovey secured a much-needed win for the Welsh region.