Planet Rugby

Dragons sack Stradey Park

01st September 2007 19:46

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The Dragons started the Magners League season in the best possible fashion on Saturday, winning a swashbuckling Welsh derby 30-23 against the Scarlets at Stradey Park.

A 20-point blitz in the opening quarter set the Gwent side on their way to a famous triumph against a lacklustre home side.

The Scarlets did hit back with 17 unanswered points straight after the interval, but it was not enough to deny the visitors.

Both sides may have been missing their glut of Wales internationals but few could have expected the scoreboard to have read 20-0 to the Dragons after just 20 minutes.

It was a stunning start from the visitors, who claimed the game's first try after just 58 seconds.

Prop Rhys Thomas was the man to benefit from a superb piece of work from on-loan wing Richard Mustoe, who collected the kick-off and weaved his way into the home 22.

Thomas eventually finished the move off to set the Dragons on their way to an advantage not even their coach Paul Turner could have dreamed off.

With the Scarlets struggling desperately, it was one of their former team-mates, fly-half Aled Thomas, who punished them with three first-half penalties and two conversions.

The second came after wing Gareth Wyatt expertly intercepted from halfway to stun Stradey into silence.

At 23-3 at half-time it looked a long way back for the out-of-sorts home side.

But no doubt after some harsh words from director of rugby Phil Davies at the interval, the response was immediate.

A piercing three-quarter movement from the Scarlets backs saw veteran wing Garan Evans race in at the corner, and soon after replacement prop Iestyn Thomas ploughed over from a well-drilled lineout catch and drive.

A Thomas penalty reduced the arrears to just three points 15 minutes into the half, but even though they were down to 14 with Aled Thomas in the sin-bin, the Dragons hit back strongly with a converted try from impressive scrum-half Andy Williams.

Another Ceiron Thomas penalty made it 30-23 after 68 minutes to set up a thrilling climax but the Dragons had enough in the tank to hold out.

The scorers:

For the Scarlets:

Tries: Garan Evans, Iestyn Thomas

Cons: Ceiron Thomas 2

Pens: Ceiron Thomas 3

For the Dragons:

Tries: Rhys M Thomas, Wyatt, Andy Williams

Cons: Aled Thomas 2, Dollman

Pens: Aled Thomas 3

Yellow card: Aled Thomas (Dragons, 54)

Llanelli Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Garan Evans, 13 Regan King, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Matthew Watkins, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Gavin Cattle, 8 Nathan Thomas, 7 James Bater (c), 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Adam Eustace, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 James Hayter, 1 Phil John.

Replacements: 16 Iestyn Thomas, 17 Ken Owens, 18 Vernon Cooper, 19 Jon Edwards, 20 Liam Davies, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Jonathan Davies.

The Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Gareth Wyatt, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Andy Williams, 8 Nic Fitisemanu, 7 Richard Parks, 6 Jamie Ringer, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Rhys M Thomas, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Adam Black.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly 17 Huw Gustafson 18 Peter Sidoli 19 Dan Lydiate 20 Gareth Maule 21 Gareth McCarthy 22 Wayne Evans

Referee: James Jones (Wales)

Touch judges: David Bodilly (Wales), Richard Hughes (Wales)

Television match official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)

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