Ospreys 40 Dragons 17
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons suffered yet more misery on their travels after being crushed by the Justin Tipuric-inspired Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.
The Rodney Parade region were given a 40-17 RaboDirect Pro12 tonking and also saw Wales and Lions star Toby Faletau stretchered off in a neck brace and taken Morriston Hospital to cap a miserable night in Swansea.
An error-strewn performance saw the Dragons concede a bonus point for the first time this season and they could have few complaints.
Once again the Dragons' commitment could not be questioned but they were hindered by a raft of mistakes, a lack of composure and some infuriating decision-making.
Captain Andrew Coombs stood tall with an inspirational display but could not prevent his side being overpowered up front yet again.
It wasn't quite as demoralising as the post-Six Nations hammering in 2012/13 when the Dragons were thumped 52-19 and saw their line crossed seven times but it wasn't far off.
The honeymoon period is well and truly over for director of rugby Lyn Jones, who will need his side to show more steel and sharpness when Leinster head to Newport next Friday.
The Dragons headed west looking to end a woeful run of away derby defeats that stretched back to their October 2010 success at the Liberty Stadium.
They were also striving for their first road win of the season after being turned over at Edinburgh, Munster and Bath.
Not even a muddled Ospreys selection was enough to convince most to tip a Dragons win in Swansea.
However, the visitors made a dream start when wing Tom Prydie crossed against his former region, profiting when his grubber kick ricocheted into the hands of Andrew Coombs, who produced a lovely offload to put his winger over down the right.
Kris Burton expertly converted from the touchline and the visitors had a 7-0 lead after just four minutes.
It was downhill from then.
The Ospreys swiftly ate into that advantage when Wales fly-half Dan Biggar, who was playing at full-back, knocked over a penalty.
And the hosts were in front when four missed tackles – by Ross Wardle, Owen Evans, Jevon Groves and Dan Evans – allowed diminutive fly-half Matthew Morgan to gallop 60 metres before Faletau snared him just shy of the line.
Unfortunately he was able to offload to Lions openside Justin Tipuric, who crossed after juggling the ball, with Biggar adding the extras for a 10-7 lead.
Morgan showed good vision to spot the mismatch and then exploit it with lovely balance to ride the tackles, but it was not a score that will look good on Monday's defensive debrief.
Biggar struck two penalties to a Burton drop goal and the Dragons were a tad fortunate to be just six points behind at the break.
It is testament to the strides that they have made in defence that Tipuric was the only Osprey to cross their line despite a number of visits to the 22.
But they needed to disrupt the Ospreys' steady stream of possession if they were to head back east with something to show for their endeavour.
Those hopes suffered a blow when phase after phase of play ended with a Morgan drop goal before that man Tipuric struck the killer blow on 47 minutes.
When the ball came his way from a lineout he showed the skills of a three-quarter rather than a flanker to chip last man Hallam Amos and gather.
The Dragons were in blue but cyan was the colour of the night, with Tipuric's eye-catching scrum cap buzzing around the park.
The Wales ace seemingly played across the back row, scrum-half, fly-half, centre and wing, causing the visitors all manner of problems with ball in hand and also being a menace at the breakdown.
He was a pain in the backside for the Dragons and will be presenting Warren Gatland with a selection headache – how can he accommodate all of his talents at 6, 7 and 8?
Things were already getting ugly at 26-10 and then back row forward Ieuan Jones was yellow-carded just minutes after getting on.
Treatment for Faletau didn't take the wind out of their sails and a penalty try at scrum time left the Ospreys with just under half an hour to secure their bonus.
It came with 10 minutes left on the clock, replacement hooker Scott Baldwin peeling off a driving lineout.
The Dragons Argentine prop Francisco Chaparro fell on a loose ball from a lineout to reduce the gap late on but it did little to disguise a mismatch.
Ospreys: D Biggar, J Hassler, J Spratt, A Bishop, E Walker, M Morgan, T Habberfield (T Habberfield), R Bevington (D Jones 48-66), R Hibbard (S Baldwin 66), A Jarvis (A Jones 27), A W Jones (captain, L Peers 66), J King, T Ardron, J Tipuric, M Allen (J Bearman 45).
Scorers: tries – Tipuric (2), penalty, S Baldwin; conversions – D Biggar (4); penalties – D Biggar (3) ; drop goal – M Morgan
Dragons: D Evans (W Harries 53), T Prydie, R Wardle, L Robling (A Hughes 50), H Amos, K Burton, R Rees (J Evans 64), O Evans (N Williams 64), S Parry (H Gustafson 64), D Way (F Chaparro 57), M Screech, A Coombs (captain), J Groves (I Jones 50), L Evans, T Faletau (A Jones 52).
Scorers: try – T Prydie; conversion – K Burton; drop goal – K Burton Yellow card: Ieuan Jones
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Argus star man: Andrew Coombs