CAPTAIN Cory Hill says the Dragons owed their long-suffering supporters a derby victory – and that their desire in defence delivered it.

The Rodney Parade region ended their 23-game losing streak against Welsh rivals in the Guinness PRO14 with a nervy 23-22 success in Newport.

Jason Tovey’s late penalty proved to be the difference with Ospreys fly-half Sam Davies missing with an 80th-minute effort from the tee.

After shipping nine tries in a 59-10 hammering against Leinster the last time they had played at Rodney Parade, the Dragons limited the visitors to a Justin Tipuric score.

Defence coach Hendre Marnitz was sacked in November with head coach Bernard Jackman taking over the role only for him to be axed himself at the start of December.

Academy manager James Chapron has been holding the defensive reins while the board hunt a new boss and the players dug deep to protect their line in another tight derby.

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“We’re pretty relieved,” said Hill. “We had a tight one against the Blues at the Arms Park when we felt that we deserved something out of it and finally we have got the result, finally one has gone our way with the last play of the game.

“We just knew that we had to match the Ospreys’ physicality. We knew that they were going to come around the corner first phase, they have done that for years and are really good at it.

“We knew that we had to beat them in the race around the corner and keep coming off the line.

“The Ospreys bench came on and added a lot; they had two playmakers and were going wide, so we knew that our scramble defence had to be top-notch.

“Credit to the boys, they scrambled and it showed how much it meant to us. We owed the fans one.

“[Academy manager] James Chapron has taken over [the defence] and there have just been a couple of clear messages to keep progressing from what Bernard was doing.

“We are progressing every week, working hard for each other and reaping the rewards.”

Skipper Hill made a key call at the start of the second half when, just minutes after the Ospreys had chipped away at their 13-6 half-time lead through Davies’ left boot, the Dragons opted to go for seven points.

“They came out for the first five minutes of the second half and really put us under pressure. They took the three points, which was massive for us,” said the Wales forward.

“We took a chance by going to the corner this week rather than the posts and came away with seven points. It was a massive turning point in the game.”

The Dragons produced a move honed at their Ystrad Mynach training base with hooker Elliot Dee hitting Matthew Screech from the lineout, the ball was shifted to flanker Aaron Wainwright who then put Samoa lock Brandon Nansen on the charge.

He was tackled by wing Luke Morgan but Dee then sniped over from the breakdown.

“We’ve had it in our armoury for weeks, the howling wind at the Blues didn’t do us a favour and we had to take more front ball to set up the drive,” said Hill.

“It’s been in our armoury and it managed to come off, sending Brandon around the tail to try and get over Sam [Davies], then we worked hard around the corner. Elliot Dee is a poacher and a pick and go did it.”

The Dragons now turn their attentions to ending another PRO14 hoodoo – they haven’t won on the road since March, 2015 and on Saturday take on the Scarlets in Llanelli.