Dragons roar past Ospreys
April 15, 2011
Aled Brew scored two tries for the Dragons
© Getty Images
Newport Gwent Dragons grabbed a Magners League bonus-point 32-28 victory as they just held onto beat the high-flying Ospreys in a brilliant Welsh derby on Friday night.
Watched by Welsh national coach Warren Gatland, the two sides produced one of the best games seen at Rodney Parade this season as they went hammer and tongs at each other for the entire 80 minutes.
A good victory for the Ospreys would have put them in a great position to secure an end-of-season play-off place and pressurise Ulster for second position. But they went into the half-time break losing by two points in 40 minutes of highly intense rugby at Rodney Parade. The lead changed hands four times in that period, with the Dragons having the slight edge in territory and possession.
Welsh fly-half Dan Biggar grabbed the opening points with a penalty after three minutes but just seconds later, a clinical move down the left by the Dragons left the Ospreys floundering and centre Ashley Smith away to score a great try.
Fly-half Jason Tovey converted but the lead was not to last as former Wales captain Ryan Jones was on the end of a move inside the home 22 to squeeze in at the corner after centre James Hook provided the scoring pass.
The Dragons' cause was not helped when fullback Will Harries went off with a leg injury, but they settled down with Tovey restoring the lead with a mid-range penalty before adding another on the half-hour. Tovey then sent a lovely ball past the Ospreys defence but, with the line wide open, wing Aled Brew could not get the ball from between his legs to run in unopposed. It was feisty up front too, with both hookers warned by referee Nigel Owens after a bust-up between the packs at a scrum.
Biggar booted a second penalty to make it 13-11 but, when the Dragons pressurised on the Ospreys line after the break, scrum-half Wayne Evans dived through a gap to score and gave replacement Matthew Jones a simple conversion.
Tovey kicked down the wing again for Brew to chase, the third time they had tried the tactic, and this time it paid off as Irish wing Tommy Bowe attempted to kick the loose ball over the in-goal line only to miss it completely and let Brew in for a try.
And, just before the hour, Brew made it two when Tovey tried to kick down the wing again; the ball bounced off a defender for the home wing to grab a pass 40 metres from the line, round Hook and score in the corner. That gave the Dragons a bonus point and it was all one-way traffic.
But, as the Dragons thought they had the game won, the Ospreys bounced back with a vengeance. First, Bowe made up for his earlier howler by running inside and out of the home defence for a corner try. Then a cross-kick from Hook was superbly caught by wing Nikki Walker for a run-in at the opposite corner.
The Dragons regained some composure but Hook steered the Ospreys into attacking situations and, as the clock ran down, the Ospreys were camped on the home line with only desperate defence keeping them out.
But, despite a series of attacking scrums, one last mistake by the Ospreys gave the Dragons a penalty in their own 22 that Tovey heaved into touch and they claimed a thrilling win.
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