Dragons fight back for super win
DRAGONS 23 TREVISO 14
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons made it three wins from three thanks to a great comeback in a spirited performance after trailing 14-0 at one stage in the first half.
After back to back victories over Ospreys and London Welsh in the LV= Cup, it was the hosts’ first PRO12 league win since their 14-3 victory over Connacht at home at the end of November.
And they thoroughly deserved their triumph after showing fine character but one mustn’t forget Treviso were without 13 first choice players.
Those missing men will be involved with Italy and their 23-man squad as they aim to build on last week’s excellent Six Nations win over France when they visit to Murray-field to face Scotland this weekend.
Treviso belied those missing stars because they were on fire at the start of the match and went into a 7-0 lead after just five minutes.
Outside centre Doppies La Grange crashed over despite some heroic defence by the home side, fly half Alberto di Bernardo converting.
Stung into action, the Dragons mounted a wave of attacks and came close to opening their account but were kept out by some stout tackling by the visitors.
And it was the well organised and highly charged Italians who went further ahead when some shocking defence play allowed replacement back rower Filippo Giusti, after just coming on the field, to exploit a three-to-one overlap, di Bernardo making it 14-0 after 27 minutes with the extras.
Dragons outside half Steffan Jones, who missed with an early long range attempt from half way, got the hosts on the scoreboard with a penalty after half an hour’s play.
But he missed a kickable chance just minutes later as the Dragons fought to get back into the game and the No 10 was guilty of missing a sitter just before the interval.
Jones, who has been in such good form of late and set a regional points record with 27 against London Welsh last weekend, was temporarily relieved of the kicking duties and Tom Prydie made it 14-6 just before the half time whistle.
The Dragons outside half was back to his old bad kicking habits when he missed his fourth shot at goal early in the second half.
But he made amends with a fine try after 57 minutes after some excellent direct play in midfield by the impressive Pat Leach saw the centre give him the scoring pass, Prydie’s conversion making it 14-13.
Treviso lost wing Christian Loamanu to the sin bin from the restart for taking a Dragons player out in the air and wing Will Harries should have put his side ahead only to be hauled down just short of the Italians’ try line.
Jones was off target with his fifth attempt after 63 minutes, his long range attempt never getting near.
And the Dragons were guilty of butchering some excellent try scoring chances when Treviso were down to 13 men with fly half Di Bernardo seriously injured and stretchered off after a long delay.
But they got their reward when Prydie scored in the corner after the hosts kept their nerve to exploit their one man advantage.
He converted his own try handsomely from the touchline to put the Dragons 20-14 up with ten minutes to go.
Prydie nailed another tough kick, his second penalty, to give them some breathing space and end with a personal haul of 15 points.
The Dragons held on comfortably enough in the closing stages to avenge their heavy defeat away in December and secure their fourth league win of the season, but they remain one from bottom.
Dragons: D Evans, W Harries, P Leach, J Dixon, T Prydie, S Jones, J Evans, P Price (O Price 74), H Gustafson (S Parry 50), N Buck (N Williams 74), I Nimmo (J Tyler 75), A Jones, L Evans (capt), N Cudd, I Jones (J Groves 76).
Replacements: W Evans, A Smith, H Amos.
Scorers: Tries - Steffan Jones, Tom Prydie, Conver-sions - T Prydie (2), Penalties - S Jones, T Prydie (2).
Treviso: B Williams, C Loamanu, G La Grange, L Morisi (A Pratichetti 44), L Nitoglia, A Di Bernardo (J Ambrosini 67), F Semenzato, I Fernandez-Rouyet (M Muccignat 67), G Maistri (F Sbaraglini 67), J Roux (P Di Santo 67), M Fuser, C Van Zyl (capt), D Budd, V Bernabò, R Barbieri (F Giusti 23).
Replacements: M Sutto, G Toniolatti Scorers: Tries - Doppies La Grande, Fillipo Giusti, Conversions - Alberto di Bernado (2).
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)
Argus star men: Tom Prydie and Pat Leach