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DRAGONS 14-24 MUNSTER

There was a general feeling of disappointment throughout Rodney Parade as it was felt that the Dragons did enough to secure a win against the PRO12 champions but came away with not even a bonus point

There was a general feeling of disappointment throughout Rodney Parade as it was felt that the Dragons did enough to secure a win against the current RaboDirect Pro 12 champions but came away with not even a losing bonus point.

The Dragons welcomed back club captain Luke Charteris for his first game of the season following his world cup wrist injury whilst scrum-half Wayne Evans made his 100th start for the regional team.

Problems in the scrum gave Munster a chance of the first points of the game when Ian Keatley scored with a penalty.

The Dragons played with high tempo and intensity and Andy Tuilagi crashed through the Munster defence on a few occasions but the curse of some poor handling kept the Dragons from scoring.

Poor indiscipline from Munster saw the Italian referee, Carlo Damasco, give a 45 metre penalty and Lewis Robling, starting his first game at outside-half for Dragons slotted over effortlessly.

After twenty minutes, Tom Brown picked up a loose ball from the scrum deep in the Dragons' half and some quick passing from Wayne Evans and Aled Brew saw Will Harries complete a mazy 50-60-70 yard run which left the Munster men dizzy and dazed before passing to Ashley Smith to score and put the Dragons in the lead.

Munster rallied and regained the lead after two more Keatley penalties but another Robling penalty gave the Dragons a slender 11-9 half-time lead.

During the half-time interval the 6,129 crowd were treated to a parade of the 6 Nations Triple Crown Shield by Danny Lydiate and Toby Faletau.

Jack Dixon became the RaboDirect Pro 12's youngest ever player when he replaced the impressive Andy Tuilagi (dead-leg) early in the 2nd half and showed some great promise both in attack and defence.

The Dragons continued their intensive and open style of play with some quick and slick passing and strong running but were constantly foiled by Munster infringements and Damasco's patience finally snapped when Munster scrum-half, Tomas O'Leary was yellow-carded for holding on to the ball in a tackle. This spurred the Dragons on even more and further pressure nearly brought more points than the lone Robling penalty in the 64th minute.

From then the final 15 minutes of the game belonged to Munster and the strength of their changes from bench showed as Denis Hurley cut right through the middle of the Dragons' defence before some good forward play and a long pass from replacement outside-half, Scott Deasy, set Luke O'Dea up to score in the corner and bring the scores level. Deasy hit a long range penalty to regain the lead for Munster and then a loose pass from Lewis Evans set up Felix Jones to look like the cat who got he cream as he ran in under the posts to deny the Dragons even a losing bonus point.

Both Darren Edwards and Luke Charteris spoke of their disappointment after the game as the Dragons did play some exciting rugby and probably deserved more than they got. Edwards commented that a 'reckless' 15 minutes had cost the game but stated that there were many positives to come out of the game including how the Dragons broke the staunch Munster defence on occasions and the performance of his young team, especially Robling and Dixon.
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