Sunday 24 September 2017

Dragons clinch first league win of the season against Connacht

Hallam Amos scored a try in the Dragons' win
Hallam Amos scored a try in the Dragons' win

The Dragons secured a first Guinness PRO14 victory of the season thanks to a marvellous first-half exhibition of rugby against Connacht at Rodney Parade.

Although they failed to score in the second-half, the damage was done by the Welshmen through tries from Hallam Amos and Elliot Dee and three penalties and a conversion from Gavin Henson.

Connacht's only first-half points came from a Jack Carty penalty and, although they won the second period 5-0 after lock Quinn Roux was driven over by his pack, they rarely came close to overturning the 21-3 half-time advantage to the home side.

The Dragons will do well to score a better try this season than their first of a half which was one of their best for a number of years.

The pattern of the opening 40 minutes was laid down within two minutes as centre Jack Dixon ran left from halfway and fed Dee. The move continued through flanker Harrison Keddie as he roared to the 22 before playing in Amos out wide who scored an early try.

Connacht hit back immediately with a Carty penalty but that was the only blip in an otherwise one-sided first-half.

They went 12-3 ahead when Dee emerged from under a pile of bodies for a try which Henson converted.

Henson then booted three penalties as Connacht struggled to find a foothold in the game.

And the Irishmen did themselves no favours when lock James Cannon was sin-binned for infringing Dragons scrum-half Sarel Pretorius close to the try-line.

Connacht head coach Kieran Keane needed to inspire his side at half time and the Irishmen grabbed more territory, resulting in their reward when Roux was driven over by his pack.

Carty and second-half replacement scrum-half Kieran Marmion guided attacks but wayward passing and poor handling became an Achilles heel for the visitors, and the strong Dragons defence resisted.

Those handling errors, plus that huge second-half defensive shift from the Welshmen, sealed Connacht's fate and brought a loud roar from a delighted home crowd.

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