Skrela masterclass proves too hot for Dragons
Dragons 19 Toulouse 42
Holders Toulouse delivered a workman-like performance to collect priceless points on the road in their quest for a fifth European title yesterday evening.
It was only the French giants' eighth win from 15 European starts on Welsh soil, and they were indebted to a kicking masterclass from fly-half David Skrela at Rodney Parade.
Skrela booted 21 points from four penalties, a drop-goal and three conversions, though he was also sin-binned. Centre Florian Fritz kicked two penalties when Skrela was off, and flanker Thierry Dusautoir, No 8 Louis Picamoles and full-back Maxime Medard scored tries.
After Skrela had kicked a penalty to put Toulouse 15-9 ahead, referee Andrew Small sin-binned him for holding back Dragons scrum-half Wayne Evans off the ball. Jones kicked the resulting penalty, but the Dragons' temporary one-man advantage was immediately cancelled out when home prop Ben Castle received a yellow card for offside and Toulouse clocked up a deserved 18-12 interval advantage.
Toulouse came out firing for the second period, and after a second Fritz penalty, Dusautoir powered over for their first try in this season's Heineken Cup. Skrela marked his return to the contest by booting an easy conversion. Medard then sliced the Dragons' defence to shreds, Skrela adding the extras, but Will Harries nabbed a sharp score in response.
Toulouse had the final say when Picamoles powered over, and the only disappointment for the visitors was their failure to collect a fourth touchdown that would have given them a five-point maximum.
Scorers -- Dragons: M Jones 4 pens, con; Harries try. Toulouse: Skrela 4 pens, 3 cons, d-g; Fritz 2 pens; Dusautoir, Medard, Picamoles 1 try each
Dragons: W Harries; A Hughes, T Cheeseman, T Riley, A Brew; M Jones, W Evans; P Price (H Gustafson 74), S Jones, B Castle (P Palmer 57)(s-b 36-46), S Morgan, R Sidoli (L Charteris 54); D Lydiate, G Thomas, A Coombs (T Faletau 54)
Toulouse: M Medard; V Delasau, F Fritz, Y Jauzion (C Johnston 57), C Heymans (V Clerc 58); D Skrela, N Vergallo; D Human (J Poux 74), W Servat, Y Montes (C Poitrenaud 57), Y Maestri, R Millo-Chluski (S Sowerby 64), J Bouilhou (Y Nyanga 55), T Dustautoir, L Picamoles
Referee: A Small (RFU)