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Dragons
17
V
22
Saturday October 21
KO 2:05 PM
URC
Rodney Parade,
Newport
Edinburgh Rugby
MATCH REPORT

Late opening day defeat for Dragons

Dragons suffered more opening day pain as a fightback from Edinburgh saw them edge to a 22-17 victory in the BKT United Rugby Championship at Rodney Parade.

The Men of Gwent flew out of the traps with Sio Tomkinson touching down and newcomer Corey Baldwin a try scorer inside the first quarter.

The accurate boot of Ben Healy kicked Edinburgh back into contention and a try from Ben Velacott with 15 minutes left saw the Scots suddenly come alive.

And the fate of Dragons – who have not won on the opening weekend since 2013 – was sealed courtesy of two late penalties from man-of-the-match Healy.

Dragons made a dream start after 66 seconds as fly half Angus O’Brien found wing Jared Rosser in the inside line and he cut the defence open before Tomkinson supported and burst over.

The trio nearly combined for sensational second as O’Brien kicked cross field, after Corey Baldwin burst down the right, and Rosser caught in full flight and nearly found Tomkinson again on his shoulder.

Edinburgh looked to respond but impressive work by captain Steff Hughes earned the turnover before O’Brien pumped Dragons deep into the visiting 22.

Rosser was proving a constant threat down the left as he again made big gains before the Scots regrouped and earned a turnover for themselves.

The home side won a penalty on the floor and opted to kick to the corner instead of taking the three points on offer.

The pack drove up close and sucked in players as Bradley Roberts went close, before Hughes cross field kicked to an unmarked Baldwin to score a first try for the club on debut.

The Scots replied as Matt Currie made a break down the left and, when they worked the ball in field, they forced an attacking lineout.

Brilliant defensive work from Matthew Screech, though, halted the maul and win a penalty.

Ollie Griffiths, on his 100th appearance, stole ball close to the line as Dragons continued to defend with real discipline.

Edinburgh finally got on the scoreboard through new recruit Ben Healy on the half hour and they started to the turn the screw as the half came to close.

A penalty for sacking the drive was sent to the corner but Ben Carter disrupted the lineout and Dragons cleared. Seconds later more solid maul defence forced the turnover.

The home crowd was then incensed in the final minute of the half when spilled ball in midfield allowed Tomkinson to run home, but play was pulled back for a knock on to jeers from the terraces.

A high tackle early in the second half gave Healy the chance to cut the lead to 14-6. Dragons secured an early opening as Baldwin tore through a hole and Cai Evans slotted a penalty to nudge the home side further ahead.

O’Brien’s last ditch tap tackle halted a slick Edinburgh backs move that threatened a first away try of the afternoon.

An aerial duel between the teams resulted in a 50:22 from O’Brien and a penalty saw him nudge to the corner only for Edinburgh to repel the drive.

Healy added three more off the tee to keep the Scots in touch while Griffiths and Rhodri Williams combined down the right flank only for the scramble defence from Edinburgh to win vital ball back.

Edinburgh hit back 15 minutes from time when Velacott finished off a line break and Healy converted to cut the lead to a point.

Dragons were dealt a further blow when Evans was forced off to spark and back line reshuffle. Healy saw a drop goal drift wide as he kicked for the lead from distance.

The momentum was firmly with Edinburgh and after howls from the terraces for what appeared a clear forward pass the visitors won another penalty and led for the first time as Healy struck.

And the visiting fly half put the final nail in the coffin with a penalty with time up to consign Dragons to defeat.

Timeline:

02m Tomkinson t Evans c 7-0

16m Baldwin t Evans c 14-0

30m Healy p 14-3

43m Healy p 14-6

46m Evans p 17-6

56m Healy p 17-9

65m Velacott t Healy c 17-16

73m Healy p 17-19

80m Healy p 17-22

Dragons RFC: Cai Evans (Reed 66), Corey Baldwin (Dixon 58), Sio Tomkinson, Steff Hughes, Jared Rosser, Angus O’Brien, Rhodri Williams (Blacker 64); Rodrigo Martinez (Jones 64), Bradley Roberts, Lloyd Fairbrother (Yendle 64), Matthew Screech (Davies 70), Ben Carter, George Nott (Lonsdale 64), Harri Keddie (Lonsdale 36-40), Ollie Griffiths

Replacements: James Benjamin, Rhodri Jones, Luke Yendle, Joe Davies, Sean Lonsdale, Dane Blacker, Will Reed, Jack Dixon

Edinburgh: Cammy Scott, Ross McCann, Mark Bennett, Matt Currie, Wes Goosen, Ben Healy, Ben Vellacott; Boan Venter, Dave Cherry, Javan Sebastian, Glen Young, Jamie Hodgson, Tom Dodd, Cameron Neild, Tom Dodd, Luke Crosbie

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Robin Hislop, Angus Williams, Marshall Sykes, Connor Boyle, Charlie Shiel, Chris Dean, Jordan Edmunds

Referee: Eoghan Cross

Attendance: 4,212

Dragons T C D P
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1 -- -- --
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Edinburgh T C D P
1Boan Venter
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2David Cherry
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3Javan Sebastian
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4Glen Young
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5Jamie Hodgson
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6Tom Dodd
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7Luke Crosbie
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8Cameron Neild
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9Ben Vellacott
1 -- -- --
10Ben Healy
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11Wes Goosen
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12Matt Currie
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13Mark Bennett
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14Ross McCann
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15Cameron Scott
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REPLACMENTS
Dragons T C D P
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Edinburgh T C D P
16Adam McBurney
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17Robin Hislop
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18Angus Williams
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19Marshall Sykes
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20Connor Boyle
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21Charlie Shiel
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22Chris Dean
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23Jordan Edmunds
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