Planet Rugby

Dragons nick scrappy derby

01st January 2008 18:02

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Richard Mustoe's last-minute try helped the Dragons kick 2008 off in fine style with a 15-13 win over the Scarlets on New Year's Day, denying the Llanelli outfit top spot in the Magners League.

It was an average first-half, though, as both sides seemed to be suffering from a New Year hangover.

Outside-half Rhys Priestland got the only points of the first quarter when Dragons scrum-half Andy Williams was harshly penalised for a deliberate knock-on as he attempted to disrupt possession for Wales opposite number Dwayne Peel.

The Scarlets looked the more capable of crossing for a try, with full-back Morgan Stoddard a constant threat.

And it was a darting run from the man capped by Wales against world champions South Africa last November which led to the first touchdown of the match.

That assault put the Scarlets near the Dragons posts and, after they won a scrum, the home eight disintegrated and gave away a penalty try for deliberately wheeling the set-piece.

Priestland's conversion was simple from in front of the posts but the Scarlets did themselves no favours just before the break when flanker James Bater held onto the ball at a ruck inside his own 22 and was sin-binned.

That gave home outside-half Ceri Sweeney an easy 20-metre shot at goal and some relief as the sides headed into the changing rooms.

Yet the Dragons, who put in a gritty display at Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day, especially when down to 13 men in the first-half, wanted that first double over the side from West Wales.

And, after both teams changed front row men, the initiative changed in the scrum towards the Gwent side.

They made it tell when they were awarded an attacking scrum inside the Scarlets 22.

Williams received quick ball and sent Sweeney on a darting run past Priestland for centre Ashley Smith to take the scoring pass and go under the posts.

Sweeney's conversion levelled the match at 10-10 but the Scarlets were soon back in front as Priestland slotted his second penalty.

The hosts had dramatic chances to win the match in injury-time, initially messing up an attacking lineout inside the Scarlets' 22.

And they were given a final opportunity with a scrum in the 88th minute when the ball was swung across the backs to American centre Paul Emerick.

He gave it to full-back Kevin Morgan, who slipped a tackle and sent Mustoe in at the corner to snatch victory and a league double for the Gwent region.

The scorers:

For the Dragons:

Tries: Smith, Mustoe

Con: Sweeney

Pen: Sweeney

For the Scarlets:

Try: Penalty try

Con: Priestland

Pens: Priestland 2

Yellow card: Bater (34, Scarlets, killing the ball)

Dragons: 15 Kevin Morgan, 14 Richard Fussell, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Andy Williams, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Colin Charvis, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Peter Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Rhys M Thomas, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Huw Gustafson.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly, 17 Adam Black, 18 Andrew Hall, 19 James Harris, 20 Phil Dolman, 21 Aled Thomas, 22 Alex Walker.

Llanelli Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Dafydd James, 13 Regan King, 12 Jon Davies, 11 Mark Jones, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Nathan Thomas, 7 James Bater, 6 Simon Easterby, 5 Scott Macleod, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 James Hayter, 1 Iestyn Thomas.

Replacements: 16 Deacon Manu, 17 Daniel George, 18 Adam Eustace, 19 Dafydd Jones, 20 Liam Davies, 21 Ceiron Thomas, 22 Nathan Brew.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)

Touch judges: Hugh Watkins (Wales), David Bodilly (Wales)

Television match official: Neil Ballard (Wales)

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