Dragons Suffer Narrow Defeat at the Arms Park
Dragons suffered a narrow 17-16 defeat to Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday afternoon.
Dean Ryan’s men couldn’t back up their impressive 52-32 win over the Scarlets two weeks ago with a tense defeat to their rivals as they were left to rue missed chances in the second half.
The home side scored tries from Josh Adams and Teddy Williams alongside five points from the boot of Ben Thomas and two points from Jarrod Evans as they backed up their win over Dragons at Rodney Parade earlier in the season.
While the Dragons, who saw points come from hooker Rhys Lawrence and nine points from fly half Sam Davies, suffered another defeat to their rivals.
The result means that all four Welsh regions head into next week’s final derby matches with one victory and one defeat each and all to play for in Round Three of the Rainbow Cup, where the Dragons will host the Ospreys.
The opening ten minutes saw both teams trying to find each other out with a lot of the play coming in the middle of the field.
But it was the Blues who scored the opening try twelve minutes in through Josh Adams, after some good phase play from the home side.
The speed of ball allowed fly half Thomas to make half a break and make a lovely offload for recently announce Lion Adams to cross. Thomas himself added the extras to give the home side a 7-0 lead.
Dragons fly half Davies had an opportunity to respond instantly off the tee but his penalty pulled wide.
Blues extended their lead after using their captain’s review and Moriarty was deemed to have not wrapped the arms in the tackle. Thomas added the three and the home side left 10-0 after the opening quarter.
Dragons struggled for territory throughout the first half with problems coming on their own set piece preventing them from getting a foothold into the game.
But the away side did manage to enter the Blues 22m with five minutes to go of the first half but after some strong carries, prop Dillon Lewis got over the ball to relieve the pressure.
The away side finally got on the scoreboard on the stroke of half time with Davies adding three off the tee, seeing the teams head into the break 10-3.
Dragons had plenty to do in the second half and started well putting pressure on the Blues try line.
The away side’s cause was helped with Owen Lane being shown a red card for a high shoulder to Gonzalo Bertranou’s head off the ball - under the new laws it meant the Blues are down to 14 for 20 minutes of the second half.
Dragons made the extra man count as replacement hooker Lawrence powered his way over from close range after some strong carries from the pack. Davies added the conversion and the scores were level at 10-10 after 50 minutes.
Davies put the away side into the lead for the first time in the game at the 54th minute mark with another penalty right in front of the posts.
Dragons maintained their pressure in the second half and looked like scoring their second try before a Jason Harries deliberate knocked on prevented the try and he was sent to the sin bin for his efforts.
Blues managed to get away with it thanks to a Josh Turnbull turnover on his own try line, which allowed them to clear their lines and keep the deficit to just three points.
Dragons did manage to extend their lead to six points before the red card replacement as Davies knocked over another three points off the tee - giving the away side a six-point lead with 12 minutes to go.
Blues, though, regained the lead with six minutes to go as replacement lock Williams powered his way over and Jarrod Evans added the conversion.
It got even worse for Dragons as Lawrence was shown a red card for a shoulder challenge in the build up to the try, thanks to the Blues captain’s challenge.
Davies had the opportunity to instantly respond but his long range kick drifted just wide of the posts with five minutes to go.
11m Adams t Thomas c 7-0
19m Thomas p 10-0
40m Davies p 10-3
46m Lawrence t Davies c 10-10
53m Davies p 10-13
66m Davies p 10-16
72m Williams t Evans c 17-16
Cardiff Blues: Hallam Amos; Jason Harries, Owen Lane, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Ben Thomas, Jamie Hill; Rhys Carré, Kirby Myhill (capt), Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Cory Hill, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Sam Moore
Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Brad Thyer, Will Davies-King, Teddy Williams, James Ratti, Ellis Bevan, Jarrod Evans, Willis Halaholo
Dragons: Ioan Davies (Lewis 61), Jonah Holmes, Aneurin Owen, Jamie Roberts, Rio Dyer, Sam Davies, Gonzalo Bertranou (Babos 73); Josh Reynolds (Bateman 43), Taylor Davies (Lawrence 43), Leon Brown (Brown 73), Joe Davies, Matthew Screech (Carter 12), Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham (Keddie 47 (T. Davies 78)), Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Greg Bateman, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Harrison Keddie, Dan Babos, Josh Lewis, Jack Dixon
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU, 52nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones, Mike English (both WRU)
TMO: Sean Brickell (WRU)