Dragons suffered a 10-24 URC defeat at the hands of a physical DHL Stormers under the lights at Rodney Parade on Friday night.
A second half brace from Stormers winger Leolin Zas alongside 14 points from the boot of fly half Manie Libbok was enough for the South African side to claim their first win of the URC season.
Josh Lewis scored the Dragons only try of the game in the first half and despite five points from Sam Davies it wasn’t enough for the Men of Gwent to seal back-to-back wins.
While DHL Stormers have ended their tour to Europe on a high the Dragons will be looking to bounce back against Welsh rivals Cardiff Rugby at the Arms Park next week.
It was a nervy but physical start at Rodney Parade with both sides trying to feel each other out in the early stages.
Despite plenty of early possession for the hosts it was the visitors who took the lead through the boot of Libbok on 15 minutes, with a penalty off the tee.
The physicality from both sides continued but the Stormers captain Salamaan Moerat was a bit too eager to put his stamp on the game and was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Taine Basham.
Dragons made the most of the extra man and scored the opening try through full back Josh Lewis, who pounced on the ball over the line after a lovely grubber kick from Sam Davies.
Davies added the extras before extending the home side’s lead further with three points off the tee after another penalty for Dragons.
Stormers produced a late fightback to end the half and two more penalties from Libbok narrowed the score to just one point as the visitors entered half time 10-9 down.
The South African side dominated territory after the break but brilliant defence from Dragons kept them out until the final fifteen minutes.
Stormers were camped on the Dragons try line, and managed to maintain the ball thanks to some questionable refereeing decisions.
The pressure eventually told as Zas scored his opener in similar fasion to the Lewis score, a kick through from Libbok and Zas collected to score. Libbok missed the extras.
With just over five minutes to go Libbok extended his side’s lead to seven points thanks to another penalty.
Dragons pushed to try and claim a draw at the end but a breakaway from the Stormers off a scrum in their own 22m saw Zas score his second under the sticks after collecting a long deep kick. Libbok added the extras and sealed a first win for the Stormers in the 2021/2022 URC campaign.