Scarlets scrape past Dragons
December 30, 2011
Johnathan Edwards bagged the only try at Rodney Parade
© Getty Images
The Scarlets capped an excellent festive period with a narrow 10-6 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night.
Home fly-half Jason Tovey kicked two first-half penalties before going off at half-time with an injury, while a lone Johnathan Edwards try and late penalty from Aled Thomas were enough to secure the spoils for Nigel Davies' men - their second Welsh derby win in four days following their 22-14 Boxing Day victory against the Ospreys.
After some good early work from the home team, Edwards pounced early for his touchdown. The Scarlets won turnover ball on halfway and went towards the left flank, where wing Andy Fenby sped down the touchline before passing inside to Dan Newton.
The fullback slung the ball back out to Edwards, who raised his arm in celebration before crashing over, with Newton adding the conversion from wide out.
Tovey found the target on 25 minutes with a second penalty attempt, but it was to be a frustrating night from the tee for the home side. Centre Lewis Robling, making only his second start for the region, tried a simple 20-metre penalty in front of the posts following a knock to his fly-half only to spoon it wide of the uprights.
The Dragons' Welsh international No.8 Toby Faletau then had an easy chance to put wing Tonderai Chavhanga in at the right corner but threw a terrible pass that the South African dropped, with the Scarlets scampering to cut off the attack.
The Scarlets did not help themselves either when back-rower Kieran Murphy ended the first-half in the sin-bin for deliberately coming in from the side at a ruck, giving Tovey a wide penalty which he knocked over.
Credit to the Scarlets pack during Murphy's absence. They dogged out the 10 minutes and began to regain some impetus following a flurry of replacements - including Wales wing George North.
The Scarlets lost their way again though and, but for a goal-kicker - Tovey left the field at the break with a leg injury - the Dragons would have been in front. Robling's night went south, as did his confidence, when he missed three penalties. All were in front of the posts although one, in fairness, was from distance.
After all their hard work up front, it was fitting that the Scarlets pack earned their side a 45-metre penalty with seven minutes remaining. Thomas made no mistake and while there was a late rush by the Dragons, wing Aled Brew dropped a pass inside the Scarlets 22 to signal the end of the game.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September