11:11am Monday 9th December 2013
By Iwan Gabe Davies
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones was delighted with his side’s stunning 40-24 victory over Bordeaux-Bègles at Rodney Parade on Friday night, hailing it as the region’s best so far this season, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The bonus point win keeps his team well in the hunt for qualification for the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The Dragons face the French Top 14 side again in the return fixture at the Stade André Moga in Bègles on Thursday night.
Should they manage to do the double over their opponents, it will set up a grandstand finish against Bath at Rodney Parade in early January which will probably determine the outcome of the group.
The Dragons have only reached the last eight in the Amlin Challenge Cup once before and they went on to reach the semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Clermont Auvergne in 2007.
Friday night’s five-try demolition of Bordeaux-Bègles has given them a realistic shot at recording a rare win in France against opponents who are out of the tournament and likely to be more concerned at their Top 14 survival.
They are tenth in the league and will be concerned about keeping their powder dry for their trip to Toulouse before then hosting Brive later this month.
Jones was purring after his side’s vintage display in front of a disappointingly small crowd of 4,023 when the clash wasn’t even being broadcast live.
“I was very pleased with the performance and to score five tries was a big plus because Bordeaux-Bègles are a very strong side and I’m delighted we played with such tempo and intensity, scoring five excellent tries,” he said. “I was pleased with every player’s performance.
“If we can go to Bath in good condition (in January) then it’s going to take qualification down to the wire.
“Back to back games are always difficult and I expect them to be a bit cleverer against us on Thursday – the French are very clever people.”
Jones revealed his side had been honing their offensive work and it certainly paid off in a clinical display against a ropey visiting defence: “We came so close to beating Munster last week and we had been sharpening up our attack and that came through against Bordeaux-Bègles. It was, with a shadow of a doubt, our best performance of the season.”
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