Dragons down Leinster

Date published: January 29 2016

Newport Gwent Dragons secured just their fourth win of the Pro12 season following a 23-13 victory over play-off chasers Leinster.

Ashton Hewitt's converted try took Newport 7-0 in front but the Irish province responded with Luke McGrath crossing the whitewash and Fergus McFadden adding a penalty and conversion.

The Welsh region were back ahead at the interval through 10 Jason Tovey points before McFadden closed the gap to 17-13 five minutes into the second period. However, successive Tovey three-pointers secured the win to take them closer to the teams above, while Leinster failed in their quest to go top of the table.

These sides have endured contrasting fortunes in the Pro12 this season but it was the Dragons – a team that resided in the bottom half going into this encounter – who opened the brighter. They controlled the early stages and deserved their 7-0 lead, which was garnered through speedster Hewitt.

Newport built pressure close to the opposition line and that allowed the wing space to burst between two defenders and cross the whitewash. Tovey was on target with the conversion before the visitors registered their first points of the encounter via McFadden's boot.

That score laid the platform for Leinster to move up a gear and gain the advantage as McGrath spotted a gaping hole in the hosts' defence to go under the posts. However, Leo Cullen's men failed to maintain the intensity and the Dragons went back ahead after Dan Leavy had been sin-binned.

Further good work from Hewitt got them on the front foot before Rynard Landman took the ball into contact. The lock managed to get his hands free and off-load to Tovey who touched down. The stand-off was once again successful off the tee and he then added a drop-goal which opened up a seven-point buffer at the interval.

The gap was closed to four following McFadden's second half three-pointer and the Irish province piled on the pressure looking for the try that would give them the lead. But that failed to materialise and a pair of Tovey penalties sealed the win.

The scorers: 

For Dragons: 
Tries: Hewitt, Tovey
Cons: Tovey 2
Pens: Tovey 2
Drop Goal: Tovey

For Leinster: 
Try: McGrath 
Con: McFadden
Pens: McFadden 2

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Rhys Thomas (captain), 1 Boris Stankovich
Replacements:  16 Elliot Dee, 17 Phil Price, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James Benjamin, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones, 23 Nick Scott

Leinster: 15 Zane  Kirchner, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Cathal Marsh, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Peter Dooley, 7 James  Tracy, 6 Michael Bent, 5 Ross Molony, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Dominic Ryan, 2 Dan Leavy, 1 Jodi Murphy
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Oisin Heffernan, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Peadar Timmins, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Noel Reid

Referee: Marius Mitrea (France)
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans (Wales) Sean Brickell (Wales)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)