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Match Report

Dragons continued preparations for the new Guinness PRO14 season with a defeat against Northampton Saints at Rodney Parade.

Scrum half and summer recruit Rhodri Williams grabbed a well-worked try on home soil as Dragons made a flying start to the encounter. 

But the English side powered back in the second half with a hat-trick from hooker James Fish seeing them go clear in the final stages.

Dragons made six changes from the side that defeated Ealing Trailfinders last weekend, with Jack Dixon captaining while Richard Hibbard made a first start on home soil.

Wales international Dan Biggar and James Haskell made their first appearances of the season for Saints.

The Dragons flew out of the traps with fly half Josh Lewis slotting an early drop goal to reward home pressure.

The Dragons were really impressing with their physicality with a thunderous tackle from skipper Dixon popping out the ball before midfield partner Adam Warren flew away and fed wing Goodchild.

Early home pressure was rewarded further on 12 minutes when the ball was spun down the line to Rhodri Williams who cut back inside and dived over from close range.

Dragons were playing a high tempo game to keep the visitors pinned back. And when they did kick in behind, elusive full back Jordan Williams showed his quick feet to break from deep and start a counter.

Saints started to shuffle their pack to try and get a foothold in the game, but it was wing Ken Pisi who started the comeback as he picked off a pass inside the home half for an interception score.

Five minutes later Saints struck in identical fashion as scrum half Cobus Reinach flew out the line to take a pass and race over unopposed from 60 metres.

The home pack looked to respond with a big driving maul before a turnover forced Rhodri Williams to show all this pace to tear back and cover the danger.

A late charge from the Dragons saw Williams again turn Saints with a great grubber kick for George Gasson, but the visitors held out to take a four-point lead into the break.

Back row Aaron Wainwright stopped early pressure at the start of the second half, as he ripped ball and rattled up field before solid defence won a knock-on to halt mounting Northampton pressure.

But there was nothing the home pack could do when Saints powered over for a third try from a driving maul and then added another in similar fashion when David Ribbans went over. 

Dragons showed plenty of heart and battled back with Tiaan Loots and Dafydd Howells combining down the short-side before Tyler Morgan crashed into contact.

The home side opted to kick for the corner from the resulting penalty, but Saints were refusing to be breached.

And, after holding firm under huge pressure, the Saints had the final word with two late scores from Fish. 

Timeline:

05m Lewis dg 3-0

12m R Williams t Lewis c 10-0

25m Pisi t Biggar c 10-7

30m Reinach t Biggar c 10-14

46m Fish t Grayson c 10-21 

60m Ribbans t Grayson c 10-28

76m Fish t Grayson c 10-35

78m Fish t Grayson c 10-42 

Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams (Howells 61), 14 Joe Goodchild, 13 Adam Warren (Morgan 61), 12 Jack Dixon (Loots 49), 11 George Gasson (Will Talbot-Davies77), 10 Josh Lewis (Botica 49), 9 Rhodri Williams (R Davies 49 (R Williams 73)); 1 Ryan Bevington (Ellis 40), 2 Richard Hibbard (Lawrence 40), 3 Brok Harris (Fairbrother 40), 4 Matthew Screech (Nansen 49), 5 Rynard Landman, 6 Aaron Wainwright (Taylor 49), 7 Nic Cudd, 8 Lewis Evans (Benjamin 49)

Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Brandon Nansen, 20 Huw Taylor, 21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Jacob Botica, 23 Tiaan Loots, 24 James Benjamin, 25 Tyler Morgan, 26 Dafydd Howells, 27 Will Talbot Davies.

Saints: 15 Tom Collins, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Ken Pisi, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Cobus Reinach; 1 Francois van Wyk, 2 Mikey Haywood, 3 Ehren Painter, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 James Craig, 6 James Haskell, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Paddy Ryan

Replacements: 16 Alex Waller, 17 Will Davis, 18 James Fish, 19 Joe Gray, 20 Ben Franks, 21 Courtney Lawes, 22 David Ribbans, 23 Luther Burrell, 24 Jamie Gibson, 25 Heinrich Brussow, 26 Mitch Eadie, 27 Alex Mitchell, 28 James Grayson, 29 Nafi Tuitavake, 30 Rory Hutchinson, 31 Matt Worley, 32 Tom Emery

Referee: Adam Jones

Attendance: 3,331

 

T C D P Dragons V Northampton T C D P
Ryan Bevington 1 Francois van Wyk
Richard Hibbard 2 Mike Haywood
Brok Harris 3 Ehren Painter
Matthew Screech 4 Api Ratuniyarawa
Rynard Landman 5 James Craig
Aaron Wainwright 6 James Haskell
Nic Cudd 7 Lewis Ludlam
Lewis Evans 8 Teimana Harrison
1 Rhodri Williams 9 Cobus Reinach 1
1 1 Josh Lewis 10 Dan Biggar 4
George Gasson 11 Ken Pisi 1
(C) Jack Dixon 12 Piers Francis (C)
Adam Warren 13 Fraser Dingwall
Joe Goodchild 14 Ollie Sleightholme
Jordan Williams 15 Tom Collins
T C D P Replacements T C D P
Gerard Ellis 16 Alex Waller
Rhys Lawrence 17 Will Davis
Lloyd Fairbrother 18 James Fish 3
Brandon Nansen 19 Joe Gray
Huw Taylor 20 Ben Franks
James Benjamin 21 Courtney Lawes
Rhodri Davies 22 David Ribbans 1
Jacob Botica 23 Jamie Gibson
Tiaan Loots 24 Heinrich Brüssow
Tyler Morgan 25 Mitch Eadie
Dafydd Howells 26 Alex Mitchell
Will Talbot-Davies 27 James Grayson 2
Nafi Tuitavake
Rory Hutchinson
Matt Worley
Tom Emery

Head to Head Statistics

Dragons       Northampton

 
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Friday December 21

Cardiff Blues

GP14

Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

KO 7:35 PM

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