Flashback: Dragons fire at Perpignan


Ahead of Saturday’s European Challenge Cup opener with Perpignan, we look back in the archives to 2007 when we made the same journey to face the French side in the Heineken Cup.

Perpignan 23 Dragons 19 – 7th November 2007

Dragons scored a late try to earn a surprise bonus point in a narrow defeat to Perpignan in Pool One of the Heineken Cup.

Ceri Sweeney followed up tries by Joe Bearman and Gareth Wyatt as the Welsh region out-scored their hosts three tries to two at Stade Aime Giral.

But the boot of Cedric Rosalen proved the difference between the teams as the 2003 cup finalists held on for victory on the opening night.

Dragons made their return to the Heineken Cup after failing to qualify last season and were handed a daunting opening tie at Perpignan, who boasted one of the best home records in the competition after winning 20 of their previous 22 games at Stade Aime Giral.

Yet it was the Dragons who were first to find their way over the line through experienced wing Wyatt in the 13th minute.

Rosalen opened the scoring with a penalty for Perpignan but scrum half Nicolas Durand failed to collect Wyatt’s speculative chip and the Dragons wing pounced to hand the Dragons a surprise early 5-3 lead that Ceri Sweeney failed to extend with the conversion.

Perpignan took the most direct route to strike back within five minutes with a try for Guilhem Guirado. The hooker barged over close to the posts after Rimas Alvarez Kairelis supported Scotland Gavin Hume’s initial break.

Rosalen added the conversion but only after the game was delayed for almost ten minutes when Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate was stretchered off following extensive treatment on the pitch, injured during the build up to Perpignan’s try.

Two more tries from the reliable boot of Rosalen handed Perpignan a 16-5 lead at the break but again it was the Dragons who started brightest in the second half.

Wales veteran Colin Charvis put the Dragons on the front foot, scrum half Andy Williams kept the attack moving onwards before Lydiate’s replacement, Bearman, stormed over on 50 minutes.

Sweeney’s conversion reduced the deficit to four points as the Welsh region threatened a remarkable comeback with Perpignan short of confidence following a losing start to the French Championship campaign.

However, as the Dragons grew in belief Perpignan’s summer signing Henry Tuilagi delivered a timely boost when his side needed it most when the giant No.8 Samoan smashed through the Welsh defence on the hour to re-establish their 11-point lead.

Indiscipline cost Perpignan as Scotland star Nathan Hines was singled out when Irish referee Alan Lewis lost patience with his team’s indiscretions and flashed the yellow card for an infringement at a ruck on 68 minutes.

That saw the momentum swing the opposite direction as Sweeney exploited a dog-leg in the home defence after the Dragons forwards made the most of their extra man to seal a valuable bonus point.

Perpignan: Jerome Porical; Federico Martin-Aramburu, David Marty, Gavin Hume, Julien Candelon; Cedric Rosalen, Nicolas Durand; Kisi Pulu, Guilhem Guirado, Nicolas Mas, Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, Nathan Hines (capt), Viliami Vaki, Damien Chouly, Henri Tuilagi.

Replacements: Mickael Ladhuie for Guirado (74), Sebastian Bozzi for Mas (74), Olivier Olibeau for Alvarez (80), Charles Geli for Tuilagi (63), Chris Cusiter for Durand (75), Thomas Anies for Rosalen (70), Adrien Plante.

Dragons: Martyn Thomas; Gareth Wyatt, Rhodri Gomer-Davies, Ashley Smith, Richard Mustoe; Ceri Sweeney, Andy Williams; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Luke Charteris, Michael Owen, Dan Lydiate, Richard Parks, Colin Charvis

Replacements: Ben Daly for S. Jones (64), Hugh Gustafson for Black (66), Joe Bearman for Lydiate (21), Jamie Ringer for Charvis (75), Wayne Evans for Wyatt (64), Aled Thomas, Paul Emerick for Davies (66.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

Att: 10,250

Ticketing Banner 1
Would you like to be part of our success? FIND OUT MORE
Headline Sponsor
Primary Partners