IT looked grim for Munster when they fell behind in the second half with a man in the bin, but the champions fought back in typical style to carve out an exciting win.
It was their first win in Rodney Parade in three seasons and it keeps them on course to become the first side to retain the title.
Luke O'Dea and Felix Jones struck for late tries decide this one against a Dragons side who looked more like title contenders than basement battlers.
Munster, with 20 players missing either through international duty or injury, trailed 11-9 at the end of an entertaining first half where both sides showed a great willingness to go forward.
A penalty by Lewis Robling extended the Dragons lead to 14-9 but Munster, with Mick O'Driscoll leading the way on his 200th appearance, struck back and a superb break by Denis Hurley set up the platform which saw O'Dea go over.
Scott Deasy was off target with the conversion, but he edged the visitors ahead with a penalty in front of the posts. Munster sealed the deal when Jones pounced on a loose pass to race home, with Deasy adding the conversion.
Scorers -- Dragons: Smith try; Robling 3 pens. Munster: O'Dea, Jones try each; Keatley 3 pens; Deasy con, pen.
Dragons: W Harries; T Chavhanga, A Tuilagi (J Dixon, 46), A Smith, A Brew; L Robling, W Evans; N Williams (P Price 55), S Jones (S Parry 77), N Buck (D Way 53); L Charteris, R Sidoli; J Groves, L Evans, T Brown.
Munster: F Jones; L O'Dea, S Tokula, L Mafi, J Murphy (D Hurley, 57); I Keatley (S Deasy 54), T O'Leary; M Horan (W du Preez 54), D Fogarty (M Sherry 54), S Archer (BJ Botha 63); D Foley (B Holland 63), M O'Driscoll; Dave O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell (P Butler 77), J Coughlan.
Referee: C Damasco (Italy).