Rodney Parade played host to the third round of the LV=Cup campaign on Saturday as the Dragons took on Northampton Saints in some extraordinary weather conditions.
With the weather not sure of what it was doing on Saturday afternoon the game began with the sun shining. But as the game progressed in the first half the elements were behind the home team as the heavens opened and it hammered down.
The Dragons began the game looking strong as they gained a scrum just five metres from the try line but a penalty is given away to the Saints and they get the ball away and into the Dragons half. Saints are very overpowering in the front row and take the penalty from the scrum. Dickson goes for the posts and they are the first ones to add points to the board as they lead 0-3 with 7 minutes gone.
Dragons finally get a penalty in their favour and Tovey makes it over the posts making it 3-3. With the wind behind him Tovey decides to go for another penalty as Northampton are penalised at the halfway line. Tovey makes it two from two and the Dragons lead after 20 minutes.
It doesn’t stay this way for long as the visitors are awarded a penalty try and Dickson converts it, 6-10. But the Dragons are back down the other side of the pitch and are awarded with a penalty, again this one is just shy of the half way line but he loses his perfect record with one that falls just before the bar.
In quick succession the Dragons get another chance to close the gap in the score as Jason Tovey steps up to take another penalty kick, this time he nails it 9-10. But the Saints respond with a quick try scored by Autagavaia but the try is not converted, 9-15 with 30 minutes gone.
Saints are down to 14 men after being penalised for too many offences at the breakdown, Dragons have the chance to catch up. But just as this happens hail and wind batters the pitch like nothing anyone has ever seen before. Its unbearable conditions and the game is paused as the referee calls for a break and the teams run off the pitch.
The teams are back on after a few minutes break and the Dragons have changed into the blue kit for the remainder of the game. Just before the referee calls for half time the Dragons scrumhalf Luc Jones fumbles over the try line but the TMO is called in to aid the referee in the decision making. Men of Gwent are awarded the try and Tovey converts it.
Half Time Dragons 16 - Saints 15
Five minutes into the second half Saints are back on the attack as they drive across the try line and they convert it. They take the lead once again 16-22, just as the sun starts to shine down on Rodney Parade.
Saints get another try with Gareth Denman crossing the white wash, but he try isn’t converted and the scores now stand Dragons 16 - Saints 27. The Saints aren’t finished here though as they cross the white wash once again and it’s converted this time, extending their lead to 16-34. Wardle looks to respond to this as he attempts a kick and run scenario to the try line. The referee once again goes to the TMO to help aid his decision but it goes against us and we are not awarded the try.
Full Time Dragons 16 - Saints 34
DRAGONS: Dan Evans,
Matthew Pewtner, Pat Leach, Ashley Smith, Will Harries, Jason Tovey, Luc Jones;
Phil Price, Elliot Dee, Nathan Buck, Cory Hill, Adam Jones, Lewis Evans (capt), James Benjamin, Netani
Reps: T. Rhys Thomas, Owen Evans, Joe Mills, Matthew Screech, Jevon Groves, Richie Rees, Kris Burton, Ross Wardle.
SAINTS: James Wilson, Ken Pisi, Tom Stephenson, Dom Waldouck, Fa’atonia Autagavaia, Glenn Dickson, Kahn Fotuali’i; Ethan Waller, Mike Haywood, Gareth Denman, Rob Verbakel, Christian Day, Teimana Harrison, Phil Dowson (capt), GJ Van Velze
Reps: Ross McMillan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Adam Parkins, Ben Nutley, Matt Williams, Alex Day, Sam Olver, George Pisi.
LV= Man of the Match: Christian Day
Referee: Andrew Small