Flood of defeats halted as Dragons find their paddle – Match report: Newport Gwent Dragons 14 Connacht 3

Campaign Series: TRY TIME: Dragons centre Pat Leach crosses the line for the game's only touchdown TRY TIME: Dragons centre Pat Leach crosses the line for the game's only touchdown

WHILE much of Britain is in the midst of a flooding mop-up mission, Newport Gwent Dragons are celebrating the end of a drought.

They headed into the game with Connacht on the back of seven losses – a regional record – and with just whipping boys Zebre beneath them in the RaboDirect Pro12 table.

The Dragons knew that an eighth on the spin was not an option and two long, painful months since Edinburgh were defeated at Rodney Parade they were finally able to toast another victim.

It wasn’t a night for fancy miss moves and flowing rugby – winning ugly was the order of the day and Darren Edwards’ side did just that.

They didn’t make the most encouraging start but defended stoutly and cashed in when the chances came their way.

And it was a brainy performance; once the Dragons got their noses in front they played a smart game to keep their hard-running but rather limited visitors in check.

Fly-half Dan Evans was once again excellent at fly-half, overcoming a shaky start to play a canny game, while the back row put in a fine shift that was full of energy and feistiness.

Flanker Nic Cudd followed up a fine performance against Northampton with a display of desire and commitment at the breakdown, the openside getting through a mountain of work.

The Dragons headed into the game with plenty of confidence courtesy of a good showing against Northampton in the LV= Cup five days previously.

However, they made a nervy start and allowed Connacht to live off their mistakes.

Former Cardiff Blues and Scotland fly-half Dan Parks booted a fourth-minute penalty and dictated play on an evening that was perfect for his kicking game. An already greasy pitch, a pre-match downpour and persistent drizzle played into his hands, or rather his trusty right peg.

The visitors were winning the battle for territory but the game swung the way of the Dragons before half-time.

First full-back Tom Prydie kicked a 25th-minute penalty to level that also saw Jason Harris-Wright yellow-carded and the hooker was swiftly followed to the sin bin by flanker Andrew Browne for use of the boot.

The Dragons made use of their two-man advantage when a patient attack – admirable given the conditions – was finished off by Pat Leach, who slid over in the left corner.

That seemed to settle the nerves of the previously anxious crowd and there were murmurs of cautious content as the hosts headed to the changing rooms with an 8-3 lead.

It got even better six minutes into the second half when Prydie booted the Dragons a score clear as Connacht’s indiscipline cost them again.

Given the rain that was lashing down, all the hosts needed to do was play it smart, to boss territory and keep the Irish province pinned back.

As it has so often this season, Dan Evans’ mammoth left boot proved invaluable to that aim.

And when Prydie booted another penalty to make it 14-3 with half an hour left the Dragons were in a position that they simply had to convert into a win.

The situation stirred Connacht to have their best spell of the game but the defence – with Leach and flanker Nic Cudd prominent – held firm.

But the door was opened slightly for the Irish province when captain Lewis Evans was shown yellow, Mr Vivarini getting fed up with their indiscretions.

A marvellous Dan Evans tackle saved a try that would have given them hope and their evening was summed up when a penalty try looked possible only for Connacht to be pinged for an early engagement It was as close as they were to come to crossing the Dragons line as they closed out the game well to earn a hard-earned and well-deserved win as well as a clean sheet to please defence coach Rob Appleyard.

An ugly win it may have been but it was one to produce smiles on Dragons faces – something that there have not been too many of in a trouble season.

And it was a four-pointer that gives the Dragons a real opportunity, Treviso away in seven days’ time is tough but do-able and after that comes a European double-header with Mogliano.

A streak of four on the spin is not out of the question ahead of the festive derbies – the Dragons will be hoping that when it rains, it pours when it comes to wins.

Dragons: T Prydie, W Harries, P Leach, A Smith (J Dixon HT), T Chavhanga, D Evans, W Evans (J Evans 57), P Price (O Evans 77), H Gustafson (S Jones 57), D Way (N Buck 54), A Jones, R Sidoli (I Nimmo 75), L Evans (captain, I Jones 79), N Cudd, T Brown.

Scorers: tries – P Leach, penalties – T Prydie (3) Connacht: R Henshaw, T O’Hallaran, D Poolman, D McSharry, G Duffy (captain), D Parks, K Marmion (D Moore 75), D Buckley, J Harris-Wright (E Reynecke 28- 35), N White (R Ah You 65), M Swift, M Kearney, A Browne, W Faloon, E McKeon.

Scorers: penalty – D Parks

Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)

Argus star man: Nic Cudd

Attendance: 4,168

Comments (24)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:50pm Fri 23 Nov 12

CaptainB says...

The Gods of Rugby have shone down on the Dragons at last, winning ugly is fine by me.
Nic Cudd and Dan Evans both showing great promise.
The Gods of Rugby have shone down on the Dragons at last, winning ugly is fine by me. Nic Cudd and Dan Evans both showing great promise. CaptainB

11:55pm Fri 23 Nov 12

CM1 says...

4,000 people watching a do or die match in a region with a population of around 500,000!! Dreadful.
4,000 people watching a do or die match in a region with a population of around 500,000!! Dreadful. CM1

12:06am Sat 24 Nov 12

MazYork says...

CM1,you talk some rubbish. Still double what the County are getting - after all,
same population!
CM1,you talk some rubbish. Still double what the County are getting - after all, same population! MazYork

12:10am Sat 24 Nov 12

MazYork says...

CM1,you talk some rubbish. Still double what the County are getting - after all,
same population!
CM1,you talk some rubbish. Still double what the County are getting - after all, same population! MazYork

12:52am Sat 24 Nov 12

County says...

Erm yeah I think you'll find less people will tuirn up when they have to fork out for 23 league games a season instead of 11.
Erm yeah I think you'll find less people will tuirn up when they have to fork out for 23 league games a season instead of 11. County

1:17am Sat 24 Nov 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

The County are doing quite well why compare the two sports? The Dragons did well tonight, so credit to them, hope the County can do just as well on Saturday. They are diffent sports, why can't we just hope that both games do well?
The County are doing quite well why compare the two sports? The Dragons did well tonight, so credit to them, hope the County can do just as well on Saturday. They are diffent sports, why can't we just hope that both games do well? Robert Shillabeer

2:08am Sat 24 Nov 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

County wrote:
Erm yeah I think you'll find less people will tuirn up when they have to fork out for 23 league games a season instead of 11.
Umm the season is just as long, rugby may only have 11 home games in the Rabo, but add the other competitions and the amount of games is about 16 or 17. Not that far short. Anyway the number of games don't matter, rugby is rugby and soccer is soccer. Some fans support both some don't, it's all about what one enjoys. God result tonight, hopefully the County can do likewise and Newport Rugby on Sunday. Means a good weekend for Gwent sport.
[quote][p][bold]County[/bold] wrote: Erm yeah I think you'll find less people will tuirn up when they have to fork out for 23 league games a season instead of 11.[/p][/quote]Umm the season is just as long, rugby may only have 11 home games in the Rabo, but add the other competitions and the amount of games is about 16 or 17. Not that far short. Anyway the number of games don't matter, rugby is rugby and soccer is soccer. Some fans support both some don't, it's all about what one enjoys. God result tonight, hopefully the County can do likewise and Newport Rugby on Sunday. Means a good weekend for Gwent sport. Robert Shillabeer

4:15am Sat 24 Nov 12

spaniard says...

Stop the world, there is peace on earth, the financial crisis is over, Elvis still works down the chip shop , Wales beat New Zealand and the Dragons win a game.......ooops dreaming again
Stop the world, there is peace on earth, the financial crisis is over, Elvis still works down the chip shop , Wales beat New Zealand and the Dragons win a game.......ooops dreaming again spaniard

11:11am Sat 24 Nov 12

Regionalist says...

CM1 when you can't blithely kick population figures around as some sort of dig at the Dragons, if that's your view then attendances have been 'pathetic' for decades all across rugby mad Wales. How many will turn up at your club's game this afternoon i wonder?
CM1 when you can't blithely kick population figures around as some sort of dig at the Dragons, if that's your view then attendances have been 'pathetic' for decades all across rugby mad Wales. How many will turn up at your club's game this afternoon i wonder? Regionalist

12:54pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Doberman1 says...

Well done Dragons on a long overdue win. A turgid, low quality affair between 2 very poor teams, but a win is a win. Let's hope that we can build on the result but also improve drastically for the better quality league challenges which will soon arrive.
Well done Dragons on a long overdue win. A turgid, low quality affair between 2 very poor teams, but a win is a win. Let's hope that we can build on the result but also improve drastically for the better quality league challenges which will soon arrive. Doberman1

3:50pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Euwan Usami says...

A wins a win, there are likely to be a few more now with home and away games against the Italian minnows Mogliano to follow. Hopefully they can find some form to close out the season and I look forward to the promised investment in the squad for next season. They are only a few good signings from a decent side to be fair. I have seen the difference an addition of a few players have made to Newport RFC. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
A wins a win, there are likely to be a few more now with home and away games against the Italian minnows Mogliano to follow. Hopefully they can find some form to close out the season and I look forward to the promised investment in the squad for next season. They are only a few good signings from a decent side to be fair. I have seen the difference an addition of a few players have made to Newport RFC. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Euwan Usami

4:06pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Nptsportsfan says...

Good performance last night my first visit this season. In the games I watched last year the dragons seemed to start well and fade, but it was a slow start last night with the dragons getting stronger as the game progressed. The 17 year old from Monmouth looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Good performance last night my first visit this season. In the games I watched last year the dragons seemed to start well and fade, but it was a slow start last night with the dragons getting stronger as the game progressed. The 17 year old from Monmouth looks to have a bright future ahead of him. Nptsportsfan

8:46pm Sat 24 Nov 12

CM1 says...

MazYork, hmmmmm, no...think you will find its not the same population. Newport County's fan base is around 120,000 ie Newport and the population of Gwent is around 500,000.

Regionalist, wrong again. You seem to live in a parallel universe where rugby did not exist before the regional experiment. Just one of the Merit Table side would have had double the dragons crowd; add them together and you would have 30-40,000. That is where he dragons should be. Even if you consider the clubs in the top flight just before the regions, the combined attendances would be substantially in excess of this shambles. You cannot compare the dragons to a single club side, because it is not meant to be a single club side.
MazYork, hmmmmm, no...think you will find its not the same population. Newport County's fan base is around 120,000 ie Newport and the population of Gwent is around 500,000. Regionalist, wrong again. You seem to live in a parallel universe where rugby did not exist before the regional experiment. Just one of the Merit Table side would have had double the dragons crowd; add them together and you would have 30-40,000. That is where he dragons should be. Even if you consider the clubs in the top flight just before the regions, the combined attendances would be substantially in excess of this shambles. You cannot compare the dragons to a single club side, because it is not meant to be a single club side. CM1

2:52am Sun 25 Nov 12

Regionalist says...

Um, right again I think you'll find. Apart from the fact your population numbers, even if they were correct (see the latest census data) are a crude and arbitrary measure of the appetite for pro league rugby here in Gwent, if you want to harp on about missing chunks of history you might want to address the fact that immediately prior to regional rugby the likes of Ebbw Vale were struggling to get an average attendance over 500. Now leaving aside the rise of free televised matches, loss of industry and general decline of the communities that grew Welsh club rugby, please explain in realistic terms why I'm wrong exactly?
Um, right again I think you'll find. Apart from the fact your population numbers, even if they were correct (see the latest census data) are a crude and arbitrary measure of the appetite for pro league rugby here in Gwent, if you want to harp on about missing chunks of history you might want to address the fact that immediately prior to regional rugby the likes of Ebbw Vale were struggling to get an average attendance over 500. Now leaving aside the rise of free televised matches, loss of industry and general decline of the communities that grew Welsh club rugby, please explain in realistic terms why I'm wrong exactly? Regionalist

12:03pm Sun 25 Nov 12

East Newport Dave says...

Whatever the case is, gents, Newport/Gwent, call it what you want, is up against it in terms of the local economy and funding for our football and rugby teams. Whilst money is never the whole solution, it certainly helps. The only way for us to pull our way out of the mire is to go outside the door and support the team. I was a huge sceptic when it comes to regional rugby. I still am but the other choice is no professional rugby locally. I think what it requires from the boards of both the football and rugby is a realistic pricing structure. The gate fee for the last Dragons game was £10 to stand on the terrace. I think that is about right for where the Dragons are at. As a result I bought a ticket for the wife as well and we both bought drinks at the game - total spend £28.50. It I had bee charged full price I would have gone on my own and no drinks - approx £17. I understand the County charge far too much in admission fees. I would say - get the prices down and try to fill the ground. At a tenner it's not a bad evening out, even if we lose. If I have to pay the best part of £20, I want consistently high quality and we're not there yet. Neither are the County who, in fairness, are non-league.
Whatever the case is, gents, Newport/Gwent, call it what you want, is up against it in terms of the local economy and funding for our football and rugby teams. Whilst money is never the whole solution, it certainly helps. The only way for us to pull our way out of the mire is to go outside the door and support the team. I was a huge sceptic when it comes to regional rugby. I still am but the other choice is no professional rugby locally. I think what it requires from the boards of both the football and rugby is a realistic pricing structure. The gate fee for the last Dragons game was £10 to stand on the terrace. I think that is about right for where the Dragons are at. As a result I bought a ticket for the wife as well and we both bought drinks at the game - total spend £28.50. It I had bee charged full price I would have gone on my own and no drinks - approx £17. I understand the County charge far too much in admission fees. I would say - get the prices down and try to fill the ground. At a tenner it's not a bad evening out, even if we lose. If I have to pay the best part of £20, I want consistently high quality and we're not there yet. Neither are the County who, in fairness, are non-league. East Newport Dave

12:41pm Sun 25 Nov 12

CM1 says...

I am not about to repeat myself regionalist; enjoy your regional rugby, I decided to jump this sporting ship for others of greater interest.

ENEwportD, good points....but it is not for me.
I am not about to repeat myself regionalist; enjoy your regional rugby, I decided to jump this sporting ship for others of greater interest. ENEwportD, good points....but it is not for me. CM1

5:20pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Keith Barnett says...

What is of greater interest CM1??
What is of greater interest CM1?? Keith Barnett

6:31pm Sun 25 Nov 12

CM1 says...

American football, which I have been watching since the early 80s: the sport is professionally run, where the owners and sport recognise that you need the support of the genuine fans, not theatregoers, to be financially profitable; talent and money is generally well distributed, resulting in strong competition (aside from a couple of teams), which creates exciting matches; big crowds, creating a big atmosphere; a cohesive sense of collective pride in the city in their team; highly skilled sportsmen, who, in the majority of cases, are exceptionally professional and understand their privileged position in society. I could go on.

I have been lucky enough to go to a game in the US and blues v dragons it wasn't!! In many ways it is impossible for rugby to compete with that, due to population etc but there was a huge sense of occasion and it was exciting; something I no longer get from a rugby match. Watching your local team with 70,000 like minded souls is, at the end of the day, more exciting than sitting in a virtually empty stadium with a couple of thousand.
American football, which I have been watching since the early 80s: the sport is professionally run, where the owners and sport recognise that you need the support of the genuine fans, not theatregoers, to be financially profitable; talent and money is generally well distributed, resulting in strong competition (aside from a couple of teams), which creates exciting matches; big crowds, creating a big atmosphere; a cohesive sense of collective pride in the city in their team; highly skilled sportsmen, who, in the majority of cases, are exceptionally professional and understand their privileged position in society. I could go on. I have been lucky enough to go to a game in the US and blues v dragons it wasn't!! In many ways it is impossible for rugby to compete with that, due to population etc but there was a huge sense of occasion and it was exciting; something I no longer get from a rugby match. Watching your local team with 70,000 like minded souls is, at the end of the day, more exciting than sitting in a virtually empty stadium with a couple of thousand. CM1

8:50am Mon 26 Nov 12

East Newport Dave says...

.........and you can't get much more local than American football??!!??
.........and you can't get much more local than American football??!!?? East Newport Dave

1:51pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Regionalist says...

Glad to hear you're not in the business of repeating yourself CM, this website will be all the better for one less dose of your revisionist nonsense.
Glad to hear you're not in the business of repeating yourself CM, this website will be all the better for one less dose of your revisionist nonsense. Regionalist

5:07pm Mon 26 Nov 12

East Newport Dave says...

American football has less relevance in Wales than rugby does in the US. I can't believe CM1 has bothered to enter the debate with this rubbish (trash!!).
American football has less relevance in Wales than rugby does in the US. I can't believe CM1 has bothered to enter the debate with this rubbish (trash!!). East Newport Dave

10:35pm Mon 26 Nov 12

CM1 says...

You are bright; the majority of people in the stadium are local, clearly I am not! I don't care what relevance it has to Wales, I was asked what the sport was, so I was happy to say. If you don't like it, that is your tough luck. At this rate you will have very little rugby to watch, so enjoy it while it lasts, as you have already lost the top level of the game. It does have relevance by the way, as the money I invested in rugby now gets saved up for trips to see the non-relevant sport!
You are bright; the majority of people in the stadium are local, clearly I am not! I don't care what relevance it has to Wales, I was asked what the sport was, so I was happy to say. If you don't like it, that is your tough luck. At this rate you will have very little rugby to watch, so enjoy it while it lasts, as you have already lost the top level of the game. It does have relevance by the way, as the money I invested in rugby now gets saved up for trips to see the non-relevant sport! CM1

3:59am Tue 27 Nov 12

East Newport Dave says...

............and to go and see your local team!!??!!
............and to go and see your local team!!??!! East Newport Dave

9:49pm Tue 27 Nov 12

CM1 says...

You do like to repeat yourself.

And, so what......
You do like to repeat yourself. And, so what...... CM1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree