Planet Rugby

Dragons open with fire

06th September 2009 16:00

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Aled Brew Dragons

Aled Brew: Got the Dragons on their way

The Dragons have kicked off their Magners League campaign with a sturdy 23-6 win over Ulster at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

Both teams were keen to make a better start than they did 12 months ago when they lost at home.

The Dragons went down 12-6 to Glasgow Warriors while Ulster were beaten 16-9 at Ravenhill by the Scarlets.

Those defeats heralded a miserable league season which saw them both clubs linger down the wrong end of the table.

And this initial meeting of the new campaign took a bit of time to liven up but was woken sharply by a fine try by the Dragons when outside-half James Arlidge cut through a gap on the right and gave a pass to wing Aled Brew to storm home form 15 metres into the corner.

Ulster hit back when the Dragons infringed 30 metres in front of their posts, making the straight-forward kick easy for outside-half Ian Humphreys.

The Dragons restored their five point advantage when Arlidge struck a 25 metre penalty.

An Ulster onslaught, led by scrum-half Isaac Boss, near the home line failed to deliver any points.

During the first half Ulster's forwards were turned over in the loose by the well drilled home eight and were bullied in the set-pieces.

Italian referee Carlo Damasco was busy with the whistle as the front rows went down time and again.

He eventually sent both Dragons loose-head prop Ali McKenzie and Ulster's South African tight-head BJ Botha to the sin-bin.

But, after Arlidge and Humphreys added further penalties, the Dragons got an iron grip on the match.

A superb dash through the flaky Ulster half-backs by centre Tom Riley saw him link with full-back Jason Tovey and then with wing Richard Fussell for a great touchdown.

When hooker Steve Jones slammed into Humphreys as the outside-half tried to field a high ball, centre Ashley Smith was on hand to kick up field and drop on to score.

The match disintegrated into an error-strewn affair as the Welsh side were able to claim a comfortable victory.

The scorers:

For the Dragons:
Tries: Brew, Fussell, Smith
Con: Tovey
Pens: Arlidge 2

For Ulster:
Pens: Humphreys 2

Yellow cards: McKenzie (37, Dragons), Botha (37, Ulster)

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Aled Brew, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 James Arlidge, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Nigel Hall, 2 Tom Willis (capt), 1 Ali McKenzie.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Steve Jones, 18 Gethin Robinson, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Grant Webb, 21 Martyn Thomas, 22 Alex Walker.

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Isaac Boss (c), 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Brendon Botha, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Thomas Anderson, 20 Paul Marshall, 21 Paddy Wallace, 22 Darren Cave.

Referee: Carlo Damasco
Assistants: Phil Fear (WRU), Neil Perkins (WRU)
TMO: Huw Lewis (WRU).

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