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Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 1
Dragons win but lose Lydiate to injury
ESPNscrum Staff
November 10, 2011

Newport Gwent Dragons collected a bonus point during a predictably facile 33-3 victory over Italian minnows Cavalieri Prato in their Amlin Challenge Cup clash at the Stadio Lungobisenzio on Saturday afternoon - but their win was marred by an injury to Dan Lydiate.

Wing Aled Brew and lock Rob Sidoli touched down for the Welsh region during the opening 40 minutes, with fly-half Jason Tovey, who ended with eight points to his name, converting both scores. The hosts managed a solitary penalty from Rima Wakarua by way of a reply.

The Dragons surged clear in the second period, with South African speedster Tonderai Chavhanga crossing for his first try in the Amlin Challenge Cup before flanker Lewis Evans crashed over to secure the bonus point for the visitors.

Martyn Thomas put the seal on a comfortable win for the Welsh with his late score but the Dragons' success was overshadowed by the news revealed afterwards by coach Darren Edwards that Wales back-row Lydiate, who had been forced off on 28 minutes, had injured the same ankle which troubled him during the World Cup. "We'll scan him when we get back," Edwards told BBC Sport Wales.

Also in Pool 4, James Hook kicked all of Perpignan's points as they beat Exeter Chiefs 15-12 at the Stade Aime Giral on Friday night.

The Wales international kicked five penalties to Gareth Steenson's four to seal the win for last season's Heineken Cup semi-finalists. Exeter had led 12-3 in the first half after Steenson slotted successive kicks.

However Hook landed three first-half penalties before kicking two in the opening stages of the second half - one while Chiefs flanker James Scaysbrook was in the sinbin - to ensure Perpignan started their campaign with a victory.

The match marked Perpignan's return to the second tier of European action after nearly a decade in the Heineken Cup and their experience proved to be vital as they narrowly overcame the Chiefs who are in only their second season of European action.

Newcastle Falcons put their Aviva Premiership woes behind them as they posted a 27-19 victory over Lyon in their Pool 2 clash at Kingston Park on Saturday afternoon.

After Jeremy Manning and Eric Tomamichel had exchanged early penalties, the Falcons bagged the opening try of the game through lock Tim Swinson seven minutes in. Fly-half Manning failed to convert but he made amends by landing a penalty moments later.

Tomamicheal's boot drew the visitors back to within two points but they lost momentum after the sin-binning of lock Arnaud Dorier on 27 minutes and Newcastle took advantage, sending replacement James Fitzpatrick over just before the break.

The Falcons, with just one Premiership victory to their name so far this term, looked poised to go on and record a bonus point-clinching victory when Jordi Pasqualin dotted in the 55th minute but Lyon posted an almost immediate reply through No.8 Nicolas Bontinck.

However, Lyon lost their composure as they went chasing the game in the final ten minutes and lost Alipate Fatafehi and Boontinck to the sin for giving away penalties which Manning converted to see Newcastle home.

Toulon opened their campaign on Friday night with a 52-22 thumping of Pool 2 rivals Petraca Padova. The hosts ran in three tries before the break through tight-head Levan Chilachava, centre Baptiste Bonnet and loose-head Romain Frou but a try from lock Agustin Cavalieri and the boot of fullback Eoghan Hickey kept Padova in touch at the break.

But they were blown away in the second half with winger Christian Loamanu, fullback Benjamin Lapeyre, replacement Xavier Chiocci and flanker Alafoti Faosiliva all crossing with a penalty try adding to the Italians' woes. Toulon fly-half Julien Dumora finished the game with 13 points with flanker Scott Palmer grabbing a late consolation score for Padova.

Sale Sharks produced a stirring second-half fightback in their Pool 5 showdown with Brive but still left the Stade Amedee Domenech empty handed after coming out on the wrong side of a 26-18 scoreline.

Brive struck early through fullback Scott Spedding, who crossed with just five minutes on the clock, and the boot of Riaan Swanepoel helped the home side into a commanding 19-6 lead at the break. They pulled further clear shortly after the restart with a try from Mathias Atayi, who touched down while Sale had just 13 players on the field following the sin-binnings of David Seymour and Fraser McKenzie.

Sale kept battling, though, and were rewarded for their endeavour when Rob Miller created a try for Tom Brady on the hour mark. Buoyed by that score, the Sharks bossed the final quarter and got themselves right back into the game when Johnny Leota crashed over with seven minutes to go. However, Brive held firm and Sale ultimately failed to even salvage the losing bonus point their late really warranted.

Agen top Pool 5 after racking up seven tries in their 50-10 demolition of Spanish outfit Rugby Club La Vila in Alicante, with winger Silvere Tian helping himself to a hat-trick. Tian's fellow wing, Leka Tagotago, also crossed, with hooker Jalil Narjissi and locks Dewald Senekal and Lisiate Fa'aoso accounting for the French side's other scores.

In Pool 1, Stade Francais produced a second half comeback to claim a 23-14 victory over Worcester Warriors in their meeting at Sixways.

Tries from fullback Chris Pennell and winger Marcel Garvey and two conversions from fly-half Joe Carlisle put Worcester in control at the break with two penalties from No.10 Felipe Contepomi keeping Stade in the contest after they had lost veteran prop Rodrigo Roncero to a yellow card.

But the Warriors were unable to hammer home their advantage after the break with Contepomi edging his side ahead with three further penalties before winger Paul Sackey struck with a try on the hour mark. Contepomi set the seal on the win and denied Worcester a losing bonus point with a sixth penalty five minutes before the end.

Christian Wade bagged his second hat-trick of the season as London Wasps made a storming start to their Pool 3 campaign with a 47-14 rout of Bordeaux Begles on Saturday night.

Wade crossed twice inside the opening ten minutes, either side of a try for Bordeaux centre Felix Le Bourhis, and the in-form winger dotted again shortly after the midway point of the first half.

Wasps had the bonus point in the bag by the half-hour mark thanks to Dominic Waldouck's touchdown as the visitors reached the interval 27-7 ahead, with Nicky Robinson having converted two of their four scores and also adding a penalty for good measure.

Thierry Brana gave Brive a glimmer of hope when he dived over early in the second half but Wasps responded with further tries from Tom Varndell and Nic Berry as they cruised to a fine away win.

Former All Black Joe Rokocoko bagged his first try in European rugby as Bayonne kicked things off in Pool 3 earlier in the day with a 43-10 rout of Italian outfit Rovigo at the Stadio Mario Battaglini.

Converted tries for Thibault Lacroix and Cedric Heymans and a penalty from Benjamin Boyet helped the visitors into a 17-3 half-time lead but Rovigo threatened a shock win when lock Tommaso Reato dotted just three minutes into the second half.

However, Bayonne quickly regrouped and ran out comfortable winners thanks to further tries through Jean Joseph Marmouyet, who crossed twice, Lacroix again and Rokocoko.

Bucuresti claimed an emphatic 34 -7 victory over Crociati Rugby to head Pool 1 after the first round of matches. Wing Marian Apostol ran in a hat-trick while replacement lock Christian Munteanu touched down and Florin Vlaicu landed four conversions and two penalties. Carlo Festuccia scored Crociati's only try, which was converted by Jacopo Zucconi.

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