Newport Gwent Dragons move to the top of their European Rugby Challenge Cup group with an 11 try rout over Romanian minnows Bucharest.
The Dragons completed the double over the Bucharest Wolves
with a 69-17 victory to follow up their 37-10 success at the Ghencea Stadium
last week. These results along with the Newcastle Falcons loss to Stade Francais
have put the Dragons top of the group and have boosted confidence for when the
Dragons make the trip up north to Newcastle for a crucial game when the
competition resumes in January.
Although the Dragons broke their record points haul, previously 66 points against the same opposition, they did not have things all their own way from the first whistle. First, with the clock on only 4 minutes; centre Ashley Smith was forced to leave the field after coming off second best when making a superb tackle to halt a Bucharest attack. The Romanian outfit were then able to capitalise on a charge down deep inside the Dragons 22m and barged over for an early score which was converted to put the Wolves seven points to the good after seven minutes.
The Dragons responded well though and replied with quickfire tries of their own to ease the minds of the home faithful. With the bonus point wrapped up by the 24th minute it was no longer a case of winning but by how many. Half time saw the score stood at 38-7 and the introduction of Taulupe Faletau following his autumn exploits with the Wales team.
Man of the Match Tom Prydie was in scintillating form and had his hatrick in the bag on 53 minutes, Geraint Rhys Jones added the extras to bring up the 50 point mark for the Dragons. With the Dragons so ascendant it was inevitable that complacency would creep in and Bucharest were able to claim two tries of their own in the second half, sandwiched either side of a Coombs try – his 3rd in two games, to bring their points total to 17 points. The Dragons closed the game out though with two more tries to round of f the scoring at 69-17.
The win has poised the group nicely with the Dragons travelling to Newcastle next month for a game that is likely to decide who finishes top of the group and gets home advantage in the quarter finals. Winning the group is not the only carrot to spur on the Dragons though as they will surely be looking to gain revenge at Kingston Park for their 30-26 loss to the Falcons earlier in the campaign.
Dragons: Tom Prydie, Matthew Pewtner, Ross Wardle, Ashley Smith ,Hallam Amos, Jason Tovey , Jonathan Evans; Phil Price, T Rhys Thomas, Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Cory Hill, James Thomas, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans (captain).
Scorers: Tries – N Cudd, R Wardle, H Amos, J Evans, T Prydie (3), R Thomas, A Coombs, GR Jones, L Jones; Conversions – GR Jones (7)
Bucharest: Luke Samoa, Adrian Marian Apostol, Catalin Dascalu, Andrei Ilie, Ionut Botezatu, Florin Vlaicu, Grigoras Diaconescu; Constantin Pristavita, Otar Turashvili, Vlad Badalicescu, Paul Ailenei, Onal Ageacai, Vali-Catalin Mototolea , Johan Van Heerden, Razvan Ailenei.
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Manof the Match: Tom Prydie (Dragons)