Match report: Dragons edge out Treviso
December 8, 2007
A drop goal from Ceri Sweeney carried the Dragons to a narrow 35-33 victory over Treviso in their Heineken Cup Pool 1 clash.
Newport Gwent Dragons secured their first win of this season's Heineken Cup but were forced to dig deep against Treviso.
Newport appeared to have the game in the bag when Richard Mustoe clinched the bonus-point fourth try within two minutes of the second half.
But the Italian champions produced a rousing response, taking the lead through Marius Goosen before Ceri Sweeney finally sealed the Dragons' win seven minutes from time.
Treviso lost experienced prop Salvatore Costanzo inside six minutes to a leg injury and found themselves three points behind a minute later following Sweeney's opening penalty in front of the posts.
Goosen twice levelled the scores following Sweeney's second but it was a loose kick that opened the doors for Newport's first try.
Kevin Morgan scooped up possession midway inside Treviso's half and beat two men before Paul Emerick sent captain Colin Charvis over after 18 minutes. Sweeney added the conversion.
Just two minutes later Newport were in for a second, this time through prop Rhys Thomas after Morgan's crossfield kick found Luke Charteris in space before his basketball pass set the front-row on his way.
Sweeney's conversion was wide but the Dragons led 18-6 until the 33rd minute when Rhodri Gomer-Davies extended it further.
Newport pressed left and right before American Emerick was held up inches short of the line and Gomer-Davies followed up, picking up and diving over for a try.
It was not until first-half injury time that the home crowd had something more to cheer when prop Nicolas De Gregory steamed over to hand Treviso a lifeline.
That hope looked to have evaporated when Richard Mustoe scorched through within two minutes of the restart.
The wing darted on to Sweeney's inside pass and galloped in from 40 yards out to secure a bonus point and Sweeney's conversion put Newport 32-13 ahead.
But Treviso launched a stunning comeback and captain Goosen was at the heart of it.
Dragons prop Thomas was shown a yellow card after 45 minutes for his team's persistent infringements and five minutes later Argentina wing Lucas Borges raced onto Robert Barbieri's pass to score.
Sweeney missed the chance to steady the ship when his penalty drifted wide and Treviso capitalised when Alberto Sgarbi beat Mustoe with ease to score a third try for Treviso.
Goosen added the conversion as well as two long-range penalties to put the home side 33-32 ahead 15 minutes from time.
But Newport switched back on and Sweeney's late drop-goal was enough to secure all five points.
Treviso 33 (13)
Dragons 35 (25)
Benetton Treviso: B Williams; L Borges, M Horak, M Goosen (capt), A Sgarbi; A Marcato, F Semenzato; N De Gregori, F Sbaraglini, S Costanzo, A Pavanello, C Van Zyl, R Barbieri, F Louw, D Kingi.
Replacements: D Vidal, M Barbieri, S Orlando, W Johnson, S Palmer, S Picone, N Mauger.
Newport Gwent Dragons: K Morgan; M Thomas, P Emerick, R Gomer-Davies, R Mustoe; C Sweeney, A Williams; A Black, S Jones, R Thomas, L Charteris, A Jones, C Charvis (capt), R Parks, M Owen.
Replacements: B Daly, H Gustafson, J Bearman, J Ringer, W Evans, A Thomas, A Smith.
Referee: Rob Debney (England)
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton