Two late penalties from Toby Flood helped Leicester Tigers to a 29-20 win over the Dragons in the LV= Cup at Welford Road on Saturday.
Flood made his first appearance in more than six months to help Leicester kickstart their LV= Cup campaign with a hard-fought win.
Flood, who ruptured an Achilles tendon in the Heineken Cup semi-final against Cardiff on May 3, came on as a replacement midway through the second half.
Flood took over the kicking duties from Jeremy Staunton and landed two important penalties which helped Leicester, missing 19 players through injury and international calls, snuff out a potential fightback from a spirited Dragons side.
For all their early domination, Leicester still turned around a point adrift after allowing Dragons to overturn an 11-point deficit with two brilliantly taken tries.
Two penalties in three minutes from Staunton and a pushover try from number eight Jordan Crane, back on club duty after being dropped by England for his ponderous performance against Australia, gave Leicester an apparently commanding lead.
They looked set to build on it but twice surrendered possession in Dragons' territory and were punished for their lapses.
There appeared to be no danger when Scott Hamilton lost the ball as he tried to free former Australia winger Lote Tuqiri, making his first start, but the visitors were quick to spot a lack of defensive cover.
Former Northampton winger Will Harries broke free on the right and full-back Jason Tovey completed the counter-attack by cutting back inside through some flimsy tackling. Shaun Connor added the conversion.
The try that gave Dragons the lead was more spectacular. Leicester appeared on course for another pushover try after they twice shunted the Dragons backwards at scrums.
But Dragons brought on Pat Palmer to stabilise their scrum and they secured their own put-in when they wheeled Leicester off the ball.
Leicester were again caught napping when Dragons attacked from their own line and former Wales winger Aled Brew went the length of the pitch to score a superb individual try.
But the lead disappeared within two minutes of the start of the second half.
Ben Youngs and Ben Kay both punched holes in the Welsh side's defence and Anthony Allen exploited the overlap to score an unconverted try.
Leicester sustained the pressure and took a firm grip on the game when referee Tim Wigglesworth lost patience with Dragons' spoiling tactics in the scrum.
Staunton added the conversion but the visitors hit back with a penalty from Connor followed by another opportunist try from centre Rhodri Gomer Davies, who intercepted a stray pass from Hamilton.
Replacement fly-half Adam Greendale somehow missed a straightforward conversion and Flood slotted two penalties in six minutes when he took over the kicking duties.
Flood almost celebrated his comeback with a try but Tovey managed to get in the way of a scoring pass from Anthony Allen.
Tries: Crane, Allen, Penalty try
Pens: Staunton 2, Flood 2
Tries: Tovey, Brew, Gomer-Davies,
Leicester Tigers: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Lote Tuqiri, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Will Hurrell, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Ben Pienaar, 6 Craig Newby, 5 Ben Kay (c), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Robbie Harris, 18 Johnny Harris, 19 Calum Green, 20 Dan Hemingway,21 James Grindal, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Matt Smith.
Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 William Harries, 13 Rhodri Gomer-Davies, 12 Tom Riley, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Shaun Connor (c), 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Hoani Macdonald, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Peter Bracken, 2 Duane Goodfield, 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Daniel Watchurst, 18 Patrick Palmer, 19 Toby Falatau, 20 James Harris, 21 Adam Greendale, 22 Martyn Thomas, 23 Alex Walker.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth