Planet Rugby

Dragons put Ulster away

06th October 2007 19:38

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The Dragons capitalised on Ulster's indiscipline to storm to a 31-11 Magners League victory on Saturday, lifting the Newport-based side off the bottom of the table.

After a shock victory at Llanelli Scarlets on the first day of the season, the Dragons had lost all four games since to prop up the table.

But they started off well enough as outside-half Ceri Sweeney, back from Wales' duty in the World Cup, booted an early penalty.

Kevin Morgan, also playing his first league game since Welsh interest in France ended last week, set up a first try of the game for wing Gareth Wyatt in the corner.

Ulster were roused into action and had a couple of attacks only to turn over the ball in prime positions before outside-half Niall O'Connor reduced the arrears on 16 minutes with a long-range penalty.

The Dragons piled on the pressure a few times on the Ulster line but the Irish side's defence was quite brilliant, twice turning over rucks when they were almost certain to concede a try.

But they were their own worst enemy when flanker Matt McCullough was sin-binned for elbowing, with Sweeney adding a 42-metre penalty as punishment.

And on the stroke of half-time Ulster put hands in a ruck for Sweeney to land his third penalty and give his team a 14-3 lead at the break.

O'Connor booted Ulster's second penalty of the night on 43 minutes when the Dragons strayed offside in midfield and, after a 10-minute lull in proceedings, the game livened up again as the Welsh region mounted a sustained attack.

Ulster had another man sin-binned as flanker David Pollock dived over the top of an attacking ruck, preventing a possible try and allowing Sweeney a simple three points.

The visitors then conceded a soft try as the Dragons were stopped on the opposition 10-metre line but scrum-half Wayne Evans fed Rhodri Gomar-Davies for the centre to race under the posts.

It gave the Dragons a healthy lead but that was soon cut when scrum-half Paul Marshall came within inches of a try before Ulster swept the ball to midfield for replacement Tom Court to crash over.

The game faded away towards the end until big lock Luke Charteris plunged over in injury time.

The scorers:

For the Dragons:

Tries: Wyatt, Davies, Charteris

Cons: Sweeney 2

Pens: Sweeney 4

For Ulster:

Try: Court

Pens: O'Connor 2

Yellow card: MucCullough (34, Ulster), Pollock (44, Ulster)

Dragons: 15 Kevin Morgan (c), 14 Gareth Wyatt, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 12 Gareth Maule, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Richard Parks, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Andrew Hall, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Hugh Gustafson.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly, 17 Adam Black, 18 Jamie Ringer, 19 Michael Owen, 20 Phil Dollman, 21 Ashley Smith, 22 Alex Walker.

Ulster: 15 Mark Bartholomeusz, 14 Mark McCrea, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Tommy Bowe, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson (c), 7 David Pollock, 6 Matt McCullough, 5 Tim Barker, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Justin Fitzpatrick.

Replacements: 16 Matt Miles, 17 Tom Court, 18 Carlo Del Fava, 19 Neil McMillan, 20 Kieran Campbell, 21 Kieran Hallett, 22 Bryn Cunningham.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Touch judges: Huw David (Wales), Phil Connett (Wales)

Citing commissioner: Gwyn Bowden

Television match official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)

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