Derby delight as Dragons thrill Parade fans with victory over Blues

Free Press Series: ON THE ATTACK: Hallam Amos is tackled by Alex Cuthbert ON THE ATTACK: Hallam Amos is tackled by Alex Cuthbert

Newport Gwent Dragons 22 Cardiff Blues 16

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons moved into the top half of the RaboDirect PRO12 after an excellent team performance saw them deservedly beat their biggest rivals the Cardiff Blues, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.

A pulsating Boxing Day derby in front of a packed and passionate Rodney Parade saw them claim sixth spot in the league and go into the return fixture away on New Year’s Day full of confidence.

They also took full advantage of the Ospreys’ earlier 10-6 away victory over the Scarlets to become the second placed Welsh region moving ahead of the Parc y Scarlets side and the Blues.

The Dragons got off to a great start when their fly-half Jason Tovey slotted over a second minute penalty after the visitors were guilty of being miles off side as the home side went through the phases.

An entertaining opening saw the hosts definitely shade things, playing some sparkling rugby and wing Will Harries looked dangerous when given the opportunity.

Blues outside-half Rhys Patchell should have been sin binned in the 13th minute for clearly taking out his opposite number Tovey, but all the Dragons got from referee Ian Davies was a penalty.

And the Dragons deservedly stretched their lead after a quarter of an hour when number eight

Toby Faletau scored a sparkling try after a smartly-taken short line from an attacking position just outside the 22.

Hooker T Rhys Thomas threw to tighthead prop Nathan Buck whose cute pass outside found the British and Lions and Wales star who romped home, Tovey nailing a tricky conversion to give his side a 10-0 lead.

The Dragons continued to have the upper hand and wing Hallam Amos probably shouldn’t have kicked when he did well to gather a tough pass to steam through the Blues defence.

Had the Wales international passed to supporting runners, they could have exploited their numerical advantage to go even further ahead and deliver a potential knock-out blow.

But it was the Blues who scored next after they fashioned a try from practically nothing after a break by the visitors’ full-back Leigh Halfpenny, hooker Kristian Dacey crossing after some weak defence. Halfpenny’s conversion made it 10-7.

The home side tore through the Blues defence again after half an hour, their excellent full-back Dan Evans causing problems and only a try-saving tackle by Patchell on Amos prevented another try.

At the end of the half, Dragons back Ashley Smith saved the day when a chip and chase by Lions wing Alex Cuthbert caused the home team’s alarm bells to ring, the centre diving on the ball deep in his half as the hosts snuffed out the attack.

A Halfpenny penalty on the stroke of half-time drew the sides level at 10-10 in a breathless first 40 that saw Lyn Jones’ men the better team but guilty of being turned over at crucial stages.

In the 42nd minute Smith looked to have crossed for a cracker of a try to send the home crowds delirious but it was disallowed when official Davies went to TV match official Derek Bevan, Dragons blindside Netani Talei taking out Patchell at the ensuing ruck.

And after being 10-0 down, the Blues took the lead for the first time in the 45th minute when Halfpenny was on target with a penalty in the 45th minute.

The Dragons drew the scores level with a Tovey penalty five minutes later before centre Pat Leach ripped through from the restart as the hosts gained excellent territory as the Blues gave away another penalty.

Tovey was on target again as his side regained the lead, 16-13.

With their superb fans roaring them on, the Dragons were well in the driving seat and the visitors’ problems were compounded when their highly regarded number eight Robin Copeland was yellow carded with 25 minutes to go.

There was a big blow for the Rodney Parade side as the third quarter drew to an end when Amos was forced to leave the field with a leg injury after a heavy tackle.

A well struck penalty by Tovey, who outplayed possible Wales rival Patchell, put his side six points up, the No 10 controlling matters well as the Dragons looked to tighten their grip on the game.

Copeland seemed to return to the field too early, certainly a couple of minutes before his ten minutes were up.

But the home supporters didn’t care after the sublime Tovey drilled his fifth penalty, another difficult attempt, to take the Dragons 22-13 ahead.

A last ditch tap tackle on Cuthbert by the wonderful Leach saved what could have been a second Blues try but a long range Halfpenny brought them back within a converted try about ten minutes to go.

The Dragons were made to sweat in the closing stages but they held on to secure a memorable victory.

Dragons: Daniel Evans; Will Harries, Pat Leach, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos (Ross Wardle 59); Jason Tovey, Wayne Evans (Richie Rees 60); Owen Evans (Aaron Coundley 66), T Rhys Thomas (Sam Parry 66), Nathan Buck (Francisco Chaparro 66), Andrew Coombs (capt), Cory Hill (Rob Sidoli 71), Netani Talei (Nic Cudd 62), Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Steffan Jones.

Scorers: Tries – Toby Faletau (15), Conversions – Jason Tovey (15), Penalties – Jason Tovey (2) (50), (51) (62) (65)

Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Gavin Evans, Dafydd Hewitt, Dan Fish; Rhys Patchell (Gareth Davies 65), Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs (capt), Kristian Dacey (Rhys Williams 50), Benoit Bourrust (Scott Andrews 59), Chris Dicomidis, Filo Paulo, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Thomas Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Rory Watts-Jones, Lewis Jones, Richard Smith.

Scorers: Tries – Kristian Dacey (25), Conversions – Leigh Halfpenny (25), Penalties – Leigh Halfpenny (40) (45) (69).

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

Attendance: 8, 526

Argus star men: Jason Tovey and Pat Leach

Comments (17)

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8:18pm Thu 26 Dec 13

franklee64 says...

Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really

Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see

Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out??
Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region

only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!!
Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out?? Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!! franklee64

8:47pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Robert Shillabeer says...

franklee64 wrote:
Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really

Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see

Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out??
Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region

only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!!
There were 8526 there Mr TAX MAN honestly! Seriously there were one or two empty seats just by me in the Hazell Stand, but the end terraces were quite full. on the discipline side we had no yellow cards today, a step forward, the Blues had one should have been at least one more for the late tackle when we were threatning to score a second try in the second half, but he gave a penalty against us for some dermpt up thing which no one around me could see why. A six point win is acceptable lets hope we can do it in Cardiff on New Years Day folks.
[quote][p][bold]franklee64[/bold] wrote: Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out?? Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!![/p][/quote]There were 8526 there Mr TAX MAN honestly! Seriously there were one or two empty seats just by me in the Hazell Stand, but the end terraces were quite full. on the discipline side we had no yellow cards today, a step forward, the Blues had one should have been at least one more for the late tackle when we were threatning to score a second try in the second half, but he gave a penalty against us for some dermpt up thing which no one around me could see why. A six point win is acceptable lets hope we can do it in Cardiff on New Years Day folks. Robert Shillabeer

8:49pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Robert Shillabeer says...

franklee64 wrote:
Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really

Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see

Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out??
Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region

only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!!
There were 8526 there Mr TAX MAN honestly! Seriously there were one or two empty seats just by me in the Hazell Stand, but the end terraces were quite full. on the discipline side we had no yellow cards today, a step forward, the Blues had one should have been at least one more for the late tackle when we were threatning to score a second try in the second half, but he gave a penalty against us for some dermpt up thing which no one around me could see why. A six point win is acceptable lets hope we can do it in Cardiff on New Years Day folks.
[quote][p][bold]franklee64[/bold] wrote: Oh Mr Gabe-Davis you are such a comedian, kind of like your journalism really Back to the Game - I Thought the majority of he Dragons players played well and played like they wanted to wear the Dragons Jersey so was nice to see Dragons should of and could of won by more that 6 points if it wasn't for the poor and silly discipline when are Kingsley, Darren and Lyn goin to sort it out?? Once the Dragons sort out heir silly discipline problems I cant see why they cant be the2nd if not be the 1st best welsh region only criticism I have is the announcement of the attendance just over 8,000 ?? REALLY = 8526 !!!!!!!!!!!!! ...... no way was that the Crowd - all 4 sides of the pitch were packed to the rafters and people were turned away as the game was a sell out - so who are they trying to kid , there was well ovr 10,000 there today and the region know it was!![/p][/quote]There were 8526 there Mr TAX MAN honestly! Seriously there were one or two empty seats just by me in the Hazell Stand, but the end terraces were quite full. on the discipline side we had no yellow cards today, a step forward, the Blues had one should have been at least one more for the late tackle when we were threatning to score a second try in the second half, but he gave a penalty against us for some dermpt up thing which no one around me could see why. A six point win is acceptable lets hope we can do it in Cardiff on New Years Day folks. Robert Shillabeer

8:50pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Euwan Usami says...

Great, tense, derby entertainment, Dragons deserved winners. Nice to see a great result like that in front of a "Full house" though I agree the official attendance figure was for the benefit of the tax man rather than the stats.
Great, tense, derby entertainment, Dragons deserved winners. Nice to see a great result like that in front of a "Full house" though I agree the official attendance figure was for the benefit of the tax man rather than the stats. Euwan Usami

10:59pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Warbles says...

"excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.
"excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination. Warbles

12:03am Fri 27 Dec 13

Dragonsfan81 says...

Warbles wrote:
"excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.
I for one agree with the comment about Dan Evans.. every time he gets the ball he kicks it away and the dragons chase on the kick today was not very good at all! The dragons showed what they could do with ball in hand with that ruled out try, that would have been a great team try if it had been no crossing! All in all a great and pleasing win from the dragons today! I think we can win at the arms park too? Why not!
[quote][p][bold]Warbles[/bold] wrote: "excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.[/p][/quote]I for one agree with the comment about Dan Evans.. every time he gets the ball he kicks it away and the dragons chase on the kick today was not very good at all! The dragons showed what they could do with ball in hand with that ruled out try, that would have been a great team try if it had been no crossing! All in all a great and pleasing win from the dragons today! I think we can win at the arms park too? Why not! Dragonsfan81

12:05am Fri 27 Dec 13

franklee64 says...

Correct there were no yellow cards however 2 blatant stupid penalties today prevented the score being higher

(1) Ashley Smiths Try di-allowed for a deliberate obstruction by dragons 5
(2) Richie Rees pull back whilst the Dragons were on the blues 5 meter line

I think lewis evans gives away too many penalties to play for wales &Dan Evans is VERY overated, his head looks like he jut their to pick up his paycheck

Toby & Hal opitomise what being a Dragon is all about "wear the jersey with pride and play like you proud to be a dragon"

Harries is good but at times he "believes in his own hype" and thinks he is better than what he is

great defence by blues but even better offence by dragons, I say it again .....cut out the stupid penalties and dragons will be in the playoffs I have no doubt
Correct there were no yellow cards however 2 blatant stupid penalties today prevented the score being higher (1) Ashley Smiths Try di-allowed for a deliberate obstruction by dragons 5 (2) Richie Rees pull back whilst the Dragons were on the blues 5 meter line I think lewis evans gives away too many penalties to play for wales &Dan Evans is VERY overated, his head looks like he jut their to pick up his paycheck Toby & Hal opitomise what being a Dragon is all about "wear the jersey with pride and play like you proud to be a dragon" Harries is good but at times he "believes in his own hype" and thinks he is better than what he is great defence by blues but even better offence by dragons, I say it again .....cut out the stupid penalties and dragons will be in the playoffs I have no doubt franklee64

2:34am Fri 27 Dec 13

Iwan Davies says...

Gee whiz guys! As they would say in New Zealand, that was pretty good, eh? They were all excellent. Fair play. Dan Evans was superb as was Andrew Coombs. They were all great. Harsh words by franklee64. Frankly, what did I do?
Gee whiz guys! As they would say in New Zealand, that was pretty good, eh? They were all excellent. Fair play. Dan Evans was superb as was Andrew Coombs. They were all great. Harsh words by franklee64. Frankly, what did I do? Iwan Davies

2:45am Fri 27 Dec 13

Iwan Davies says...

Have to say as well, the Dragons fans were immense last night. Couldn't see half the game as they kept jumping up and down! Best fans in Wales
Have to say as well, the Dragons fans were immense last night. Couldn't see half the game as they kept jumping up and down! Best fans in Wales Iwan Davies

12:04pm Fri 27 Dec 13

phantom14 says...

Good result against a very poor side, but we did not let them play and they had no idea home to overcome a blitz defence, which is down to poor coaching.Think Ash Smith is our best 12 by miles, looks for options and organises well rather than just run into contact. Hope Amos not badly injured but please coach him not to look to kick the ball away as his first option, it did look like someone had a word at halftime as he did look to recycle the ball before going off.Same again in Cardiff please.
Good result against a very poor side, but we did not let them play and they had no idea home to overcome a blitz defence, which is down to poor coaching.Think Ash Smith is our best 12 by miles, looks for options and organises well rather than just run into contact. Hope Amos not badly injured but please coach him not to look to kick the ball away as his first option, it did look like someone had a word at halftime as he did look to recycle the ball before going off.Same again in Cardiff please. phantom14

12:42pm Fri 27 Dec 13

hazellboy says...

great result against a team that has hit form lately, 2 wins against Glasgow in Europe, just shows what we can achieve if the platform is good as we more than held our own up front, lets hope for more of the same on new years day, also would like to see a top ref down there, I thought the ref yesterday was out of his depth, looked like a rabbit in the headlights
great result against a team that has hit form lately, 2 wins against Glasgow in Europe, just shows what we can achieve if the platform is good as we more than held our own up front, lets hope for more of the same on new years day, also would like to see a top ref down there, I thought the ref yesterday was out of his depth, looked like a rabbit in the headlights hazellboy

1:00pm Fri 27 Dec 13

blackandamber says...

Warbles wrote:
"excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.
I couldn't agree more. Mindless kick it up in the air and hope for the best cost us 7 points. The name of the game is possession. You've got it you can score, they haven't got it they can't score simples.
[quote][p][bold]Warbles[/bold] wrote: "excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.[/p][/quote]I couldn't agree more. Mindless kick it up in the air and hope for the best cost us 7 points. The name of the game is possession. You've got it you can score, they haven't got it they can't score simples. blackandamber

1:03pm Fri 27 Dec 13

blackandamber says...

Iwan Davies wrote:
Have to say as well, the Dragons fans were immense last night. Couldn't see half the game as they kept jumping up and down! Best fans in Wales
I agree in part but where are the extra 3500 the rest of the time.
[quote][p][bold]Iwan Davies[/bold] wrote: Have to say as well, the Dragons fans were immense last night. Couldn't see half the game as they kept jumping up and down! Best fans in Wales[/p][/quote]I agree in part but where are the extra 3500 the rest of the time. blackandamber

2:42pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Euwan Usami says...

blackandamber wrote:
Warbles wrote:
"excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.
I couldn't agree more. Mindless kick it up in the air and hope for the best cost us 7 points. The name of the game is possession. You've got it you can score, they haven't got it they can't score simples.
Agree alot of people are driven crazy by all the kicking in the modern game but remember how the game ended with the Blues trying to run out of their own half, getting caught behind the gain line and conceding penalty after penalty. This is what teams are trying to avoid by kicking out of their own and attempting to play in the opposition half. This is the theory anyway. Often, it's true, it can all look a big aimless.
[quote][p][bold]blackandamber[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Warbles[/bold] wrote: "excellent full back Dan Evans"??? It was one of his many aimless up-and-unders that led to their try. He seems to have lost all confidence in his ability to run from deep. Apart from that their was strength all round; Amosvand Harries are a fantastic combination.[/p][/quote]I couldn't agree more. Mindless kick it up in the air and hope for the best cost us 7 points. The name of the game is possession. You've got it you can score, they haven't got it they can't score simples.[/p][/quote]Agree alot of people are driven crazy by all the kicking in the modern game but remember how the game ended with the Blues trying to run out of their own half, getting caught behind the gain line and conceding penalty after penalty. This is what teams are trying to avoid by kicking out of their own and attempting to play in the opposition half. This is the theory anyway. Often, it's true, it can all look a big aimless. Euwan Usami

2:59pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Warbles says...

I have no problem with kicking into open spaces, but many of the high kicks are straight up, gain no more than a few metres and gives us less than a 50:50 chance as it allows the opposition time to close up while we usually have to back-track.
I have no problem with kicking into open spaces, but many of the high kicks are straight up, gain no more than a few metres and gives us less than a 50:50 chance as it allows the opposition time to close up while we usually have to back-track. Warbles

12:15am Sun 29 Dec 13

SWBorderer says...

Jason used to have a great understanding with Brewy when it came to kicking, he doesn't seem to have struck that note with anyone this time, it used to be very effecrive.
Be fair, how many of us even dreamt that we would be in this position at the end of the year. There is still a lot of hard work to do but at least we are competative again.
Jason used to have a great understanding with Brewy when it came to kicking, he doesn't seem to have struck that note with anyone this time, it used to be very effecrive. Be fair, how many of us even dreamt that we would be in this position at the end of the year. There is still a lot of hard work to do but at least we are competative again. SWBorderer

8:10am Sun 29 Dec 13

East Newport Dave says...

Very positive position now. Good coaching balance and Gareth Davies on the board. everything is much more business like. Crowds are up and they have a better idea of how to juggle admission prices. If it is correct 8,500 for a Boxing Day attendance v Cardiff is poor, but clearly it was closer to 11,000. If they are fiddling they are playing a dangerous game and will come unstuck. I'm sure that there must have been someone who works for HMRC in the crowd.
Very positive position now. Good coaching balance and Gareth Davies on the board. everything is much more business like. Crowds are up and they have a better idea of how to juggle admission prices. If it is correct 8,500 for a Boxing Day attendance v Cardiff is poor, but clearly it was closer to 11,000. If they are fiddling they are playing a dangerous game and will come unstuck. I'm sure that there must have been someone who works for HMRC in the crowd. East Newport Dave

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