Dragons upset Ulster
September 30, 2011
Jason Tovey landed five penalties and a conversion against Ulster
© PA Photos
New South African signing Tonderai Chavhanga gave the Newport Gwent Dragons plenty to cheer about in their 22-9 victory over Ulster at Rodney Parade on Friday.
It was a second victory of the season for the Dragons and, for Ulster, it was a blow to their progress as they finished without even a losing bonus point to take over the Irish Sea.
The game was effectively over by half-time as a try from Tom Riley and 14 points from the boot of Jason Tovey gave the Dragons a 19-6 lead, and Ulster could do nothing after the break to prevent a second successive loss after defeat by the Ospreys last weekend.
The Irishmen began well as they looked to put that defeat behind them and saw fly-half Paddy Jackson put over an early penalty.
The Dragons, though, replied straight away when outside-half Tovey booted the first of four penalties before the break. But Jackson had the first half-chance of the match when he received a pass from wing Craig Gilroy on the home 22 only to drop it.
Chavhanga, touted as one of the fastest wings around, showed why the Dragons had gone for him when he took a ball on the right just inside his own half and stormed 25 metres up the field before hoofing the ball forward. Ulster were lucky not to be penalised for a late tackle when the South African was pulled to the ground.
Ulster did not do themselves any favours either when centre Nevin Spence, a key player in their midfield, was sin-binned for a high tackle on the South African sprinter.
Within seconds, it led to the only try of the match when the Dragons worked their way to the Ulster 22, won a ruck and then saw scrum-half Wayne Evans feed Tovey who in turn passed for centre Riley to go through a gap left by Luke Marshall and Gilroy.
Tovey converted and, with two more penalties against one from Jackson before the break, the Welshmen were in the driving seat.
Another penalty after the interval from Tovey, taking his tally to 17, sent the Welshmen to a 22-6 lead. Jackson booted his third penalty of the night to draw Ulster back to within 13 points but it was a hard slog even to get within kicking range for them.
Chavhanga had another couple of runs but was shepherded well by wing Ian Whitten for a considerable amount of the game. And it was Whitten who went closest to an Ulster try when the Irishmen produced their best move of the match, a multi-handling drive up the centre of the pitch before it was swung wide for Spence to put in Whitten.
The wing ran to the line and dived to put the ball over but Tovey grabbed his legs and, after consultation with the video referee, match official Neil Patterson disallowed the try. It knocked the heart out of the Irishmen and invigorated the Dragons, who finished well and were worthy of the victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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