Lock Joe Davies scored his first ever try as Dragons produced a stunning late burst to secure a bonus point 24-7 win over Oyonnax in the EPCR Challenge Cup under the lights at Rodney Parade.
Davies grabbed his try for the club five minutes from time - on his 120th appearance for the Men of Gwent – to speak a late flurry of points.
Wing Ashton Hewitt had earlier score in the second half to move second in the club’s all-time try scoring chart with 36 – level with Hallam Amos.And wing partne
r Rio Dyer put the icing on the cake as his two late scores – one with the final play – to wrap up maximum points in blustery conditions.
Dragons made four changes for the first ever meeting between the sides, as Sio Tomkinson, Elliot Dee, Joe Davies, and Ryan Woodman all started. Dyer made his 50th appearance for the club.
And the home side flew out of the traps and went through the phases to rattle up close only to spill possession a few yards out and deny themselves a dream start.
Oyonnax went on a first attack and turned down two kicks to the posts in blustery conditions, but they were repelled by a solid home defence who drove men back.
A searing break from Joe Ravouvou set up another visiting attack and Oyonnax went over in the corner only for the TMO to belatedly spot the ball was lost and rule the score out.
Dragons were playing into a strong wind and the French were looking to expose the conditions at every opportunity as they flew down the left and Ravouvou kicked ahead but was beaten to the ball by Dyer.
Pressure finally told as a neat move saw the ball tossed high over men for centre Leo Treilles to dot down for the opener. Jules Soulan added the extras.
The wind was causing havoc with the kicking game as Dragons twice kicked out on the full to hand possession back and then an offside gave Oyonnax another attacking platform.
Dragons were pinned back by the wind as Tomkinson looked to break from deep and then Dyer put his men down only for referee Cross to again penalise the hosts.
A big home scrum saw greeted by a huge roar from the terrace, but a lost lineout saw a rare attacking chance lost as the French visitors took a 7-0 lead to the sheds.
Dragons needed a strong start to the second half and got it as superb backs move saw Will Reed release Hewitt who showed all his finishing skills to score. Reed converted from out wide.
Oyonnax were not being pinned back but a loose pass and then penalty for not releasing gave them an exit they desperately needed.
Ryan Woodman secured a turnover with great work at the breakdown as Dragons looked to work back up field.
Dragons bulldozed up close only to be penalised and then Tomkinson broke down the shortside but a resulting penalty from Reed was pulled left.
Tempers flared at the midpoint of the half when the home side won a penalty as Rhodri Jones was held at the ruck. But again, Reed was wide left with his penalty attempt.
Dyer injected some pace from deep with a jinking run and drilled kick down the line before a quick lineout move saw Dee go over but play was brought back.
Harri Ackerman was on for his debut, replacing the injured Tomkinson for the final 12 minutes.
Oyonnax spilled a high up and under from Williams and then full back Salles then tried to find touch but only succeeded in kicking to Dyer.
The dam finally burst five minutes from time when a quick tap and go sent Davies over to a huge ovation.
Dyer dotted down after an intelligent hack in behind from captain Hughes.
And the final play of the game saw a sweeping move from deep go through the hands of Blacker, Hughes, Reed and Jordan Williams before Dyer completed the job.
22m Treilles t Soulan c 0-7
44m Hewitt t Reed c 7-7
75m Davies t 12-7
77m Dyer t 17-7
80m Dyer t Reed c 24-7
Dragons RFC: Jordan Williams, Rio Dyer, Sio Tomkinson (Ackerman 70), Steff Hughes, Ashton Hewitt (Baldwin 78), Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (Blacker 76); Rhodri Jones (Seiuli 66), Elliot Dee (Coghlan 66), Lloyd Fairbrother (Coleman 66), Joe Davies (Lonsdale 76), George Nott, Ryan Woodman, Harri Keddie (Young 78), Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: Brodie Coghlan, Aki Seiuli, Chris Coleman, Sean Lonsdale, George Young, Dane Blacker, Harri Ackerman, Corey Baldwin
Oyonnax: Maxime Salles, Souleymane Coulibaly, Leo Treilles, Pedro Bettencourt, Joe Ravouvou, Jules Soulan, Charlie Cassang; Rory Sutherland, Manu Leiataua, Thibault Berthaud, Victor Lebas, Ewan Johnson, Filimo Taofifenua, Hugo Hermet, Loic Godener
Replacements: Julien Ratajczak, Adrien Bordenave, Antonin Corso, Steve Mafi, Ilan El Khattabi, David Odiase, Alexis Pisani, Iraki Mirtskhulava
Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ire)