Planet Rugby

Dragons overcome Cardiff Blues

26th December 2013 18:54

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Toby Faletau scoring for Dragons

Try-scorer: Toby Faletau

The Dragons took the spoils in their Welsh derby against Cardiff Blues, winning the PRO12 game 22-16 at Rodney Parade on Thursday.

A stunning first-half try from Lions number eight Toby Faletau and five penalties from Jason Tovey sent the Dragons on their way to an impressive derby victory in front of a bumper home crowd.

Blues hooker Kristian Dacey crossed over for the visitors but the Dragons held on to secure a vital win.

Tovey, against his old employers, kicked the Dragons into an early lead with barely two minutes on the clock.

Wales and Lions number eight Faletau got the home fans on their feet 15 minutes in as he ran in a try from the halfway line after a smart line-out move by the hosts. Tovey added the extras to open up a 10 point lead over their Welsh rivals who were struggling to cope with the ferocity of the Dragons defence.

Cardiff Blues eventually mustered up some possession and they made full use of the ball as Leigh Halfpenny danced over the halfway line to get the Blues forward, before Dacey evaded two tackles to run in the try. Halfpenny split the posts with the conversion to slash the Dragons' lead to three points as the game approached the half hour mark.

The hosts came desperately close to extending their lead as Dan Evans released Hallam Amos on the left-wing but the Wales winger fell short of the try-line.

Cardiff were growing in confidence and Phil Davies' side drew level with the final play of the first-half as Halfpenny kicked over a penalty to make it 10-10 at the break.

The Dragons flew out of the blocks in the second-half and centre Ashley Smith thought he had scored his side's second try but the TMO over-ruled the score after Fijian flanker Netani Talei blocked Rhys Patchell in the build-up.

Cardiff hit-back instantly as Halfpenny kicked over his second penalty of the match to give the Blues a three point lead. But Tovey responded with a penalty of his own to level the scores with half an hour left on the clock.

Pat Leach gathered a perfectly timed offload from Faletau before storming into the Blues' half and Tovey nailed his third penalty of the evening to put the Dragons back in-front.

The Dragons were rampant and Blues number eight Robin Copeland was sin-binned as the hosts turned up the heat as the game ticked into the final quarter.

Tovey split the posts once again after the Blues were penalised for blocking before adding another penalty minutes later to open up a nine point lead as Copeland returned to the field.

Halfpenny clawed the Blues back to within six points of the home side with his third penalty of the evening with only 10 minutes of the match to remaining. But the hosts held on to secure a well deserved derby win and climb up to sixth in the Pro12 table.

The scorers:

For Dragons:
Try: Faletau
Con: Tovey
Pen: Tovey 5

For Cardiff Blues:
Try: Dacey
Con: Halfpenny
Pen: Halfpenny 3

Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Netani Talei, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Nathan Buck, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ross Wardle.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 B Bourrust, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (c).
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Ellis Jenkins, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Richard Smith.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wal)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy, Jon Mason (both Wal)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wal)

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