Heartbreak at the death for gutsy Dragons

South Wales Argus: INJURY BLOW: Dragons back row ace Netani Talei went off injured against Leinster INJURY BLOW: Dragons back row ace Netani Talei went off injured against Leinster

LEINSTER 31 DRAGONS 19

A PERFORMANCE of real heroism from the Dragons ultimately proved fruitless when they were denied a losing bonus point at the death in Leinster.

Prop Francisco Chaparro was red-carded for a tip tackle allowing the Irishmen to mount one last onslaught which ended in a try – giving them a bonus point and snatching one from the visitors. It was cruel in the extreme.

The game was a confrontation full of drama, the Dragons being reduced to 14 men on three occasions but defending with tremendous guts.

And they managed to score two excellent tries to really worry a powerful Leinster team packed with internationals.

But despite their courage, they were ultimately undone by two penalty tries given against them as their scrum came under intense pressure.

Leinster signalled their intent from the outset when they declined a kick at goal on three minutes to kick to the corner after the Dragons had infringed at the first scrum of the game.

They won the ensuing lineout but knocked on, the Dragons winning their own scrum allowing outside half Jason Tovey to clear.

A Leinster knock on following a lineout gave Tovey the chance to put in an inch-perfect kick to the corner, but the Irishmen won the lineout and cleared.

On twelve minutes the Dragons gave away their fifth penalty of the night and Leinster outside half Ian Madigan slotted over the kick for the first points of the game.

Within minutes the struggling Dragons scrum collapsed and Leinster were on the attack after kicking the penalty to touch.

The Dragons won their first penalty on 16 mintues to relieve the pressure.

The visitors put their best sequence of play together on 19 minutes but it came to an end with a knock on, Leinster comfortably winning the scrum.

From an attacking lineout the Dragons went through 13 phases before Tovey decided enough was enough and put over a drop goal to level the score.

It gave the Dragons confidence but their cause wasn’t helped when prop Nathan Buck was yellow carded for an offence in the loose on 29 minutes.

A few minutes later it got worse for the visitors when experienced Fijian No8 Netani Talei went off injured, replaced by Jevon Groves.

Leinster cranked up the pressure on the 14-man Dragons and inevitably the first try came just before half time, prop Jack McGrath powering through to touchdown. Madigan added the extras to make it 10-3 at half time.

The second half started with a real bang, the visitors scoring two superb tries in as many minutes through Ashley Smith and Richie Rees.

The first came after the Dragons had defended a Leinster onslaught brilliantly before clearing, winning the ball and putting it through the hands for Smith to go over wide out, Tovey missing the conversion.

Then they won the ball following the restart for lively scrum half Rees to touchdown almost in the same place, Tovey unable to add the extras.

Now it was Leinster giving away the penalties, allowing Tovey to put one over on 52 minutes to stretch the Dragons’ lead to six points.

The visitors’ delight was not to last, however, when they were back down to 14-men when Jevon Groves was adjudged to have pulled down a driving maul edging closer to the try line.

The Irishmen opted for a scrum and when the Dragons eight crumbled they were awarded a penalty try which was converted. Leinster were back in the lead 17-16 and turning the screw.

A few minutes later and it was 24-16 from another penalty try, the under-pressure Dragons scrum falling foul of the referee again.

The returning Jevon Groves led a charge that ended with Tovey knocking over another penalty. 24-19.

The Dragons battled on and looked good for a bonus point until Chaparro’s red card took the task just beyond them.

Comments (20)

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10:56pm Fri 14 Feb 14

phantom14 says...

I apologise if they were einjured , but why take off your two best players Ash Smith and Rich Rees are the coaches that thick!!!????
I apologise if they were einjured , but why take off your two best players Ash Smith and Rich Rees are the coaches that thick!!!???? phantom14
  • Score: 2

11:18pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Dragonsfan81 says...

What a performance, great gusty defense and good chances taken for the tries! But in the end it is our discipline that has let us down again in my opinion! We seem to be getting a yellow every game we play.. on wards and upwards though, come on dragons.
What a performance, great gusty defense and good chances taken for the tries! But in the end it is our discipline that has let us down again in my opinion! We seem to be getting a yellow every game we play.. on wards and upwards though, come on dragons. Dragonsfan81
  • Score: 11

12:39am Sat 15 Feb 14

Lockjoe says...

phantom14 wrote:
I apologise if they were einjured , but why take off your two best players Ash Smith and Rich Rees are the coaches that thick!!!????
Phantom14 I need to ask a question. What would make you think "Ash Smith" is one of the Dragons "best players"? This is a genuine question as I presume I have missed something.
[quote][p][bold]phantom14[/bold] wrote: I apologise if they were einjured , but why take off your two best players Ash Smith and Rich Rees are the coaches that thick!!!????[/p][/quote]Phantom14 I need to ask a question. What would make you think "Ash Smith" is one of the Dragons "best players"? This is a genuine question as I presume I have missed something. Lockjoe
  • Score: -2

6:13am Sat 15 Feb 14

dragons#1 says...

A decent performance away from home although disappointed not to get a loosing bonus point. Futher evidence that we are three or four forwards away from being a very good side.
A decent performance away from home although disappointed not to get a loosing bonus point. Futher evidence that we are three or four forwards away from being a very good side. dragons#1
  • Score: 11

9:59am Sat 15 Feb 14

phantom14 says...

Ash Smith was awesome last night if you watch the game , he was even doing the job of the flankers, he is our best inside centre by miles with good defence and can put a player into space, if we ever win the ball, a bit of a clue is that the coach is selecting him.Uderated player , and the game did change for the worse when they came off, along with the idiotic cards.Dont need any more ageing backs in the squad ie Henson, good front five needed before anything, as our game plan is very limited, kick and chase and live off opponents mistakes.
Ash Smith was awesome last night if you watch the game , he was even doing the job of the flankers, he is our best inside centre by miles with good defence and can put a player into space, if we ever win the ball, a bit of a clue is that the coach is selecting him.Uderated player , and the game did change for the worse when they came off, along with the idiotic cards.Dont need any more ageing backs in the squad ie Henson, good front five needed before anything, as our game plan is very limited, kick and chase and live off opponents mistakes. phantom14
  • Score: 5

10:13am Sat 15 Feb 14

blackandamber says...

It makes you wonder what they could do if they kept 15 players on the pitch for the full game. The commentators hit the nail on the head though saying that when the first choice players are replaced, the players coming on are mostly young or inexperienced as opposed to Leinster and other teams who replace internationals with internationals. But a good effort by all concerned.
It makes you wonder what they could do if they kept 15 players on the pitch for the full game. The commentators hit the nail on the head though saying that when the first choice players are replaced, the players coming on are mostly young or inexperienced as opposed to Leinster and other teams who replace internationals with internationals. But a good effort by all concerned. blackandamber
  • Score: 5

10:16am Sat 15 Feb 14

DaiFrank says...

Dragonsfan81 wrote:
What a performance, great gusty defense and good chances taken for the tries! But in the end it is our discipline that has let us down again in my opinion! We seem to be getting a yellow every game we play.. on wards and upwards though, come on dragons.
They lost 'again' against a second string side, albeit a decent one. But it remains that they are way-off competing with the best when sides like Leinster play their first team.
[quote][p][bold]Dragonsfan81[/bold] wrote: What a performance, great gusty defense and good chances taken for the tries! But in the end it is our discipline that has let us down again in my opinion! We seem to be getting a yellow every game we play.. on wards and upwards though, come on dragons.[/p][/quote]They lost 'again' against a second string side, albeit a decent one. But it remains that they are way-off competing with the best when sides like Leinster play their first team. DaiFrank
  • Score: -7

1:40pm Sat 15 Feb 14

East Newport Dave says...

The telling comments are 'struggling scrum' and '2 penalty tries'. The dragons cannot move forward until the front five are sorted out.
The telling comments are 'struggling scrum' and '2 penalty tries'. The dragons cannot move forward until the front five are sorted out. East Newport Dave
  • Score: 13

2:04pm Sat 15 Feb 14

saltheartfoamfollower says...

I've always said they coach stupidity at R.P,and last night it was painfully obvious, and lost us a game on the road that could have and should have been won.First up,serial offender Lewis Evans,then Sid (twice) both fortunate not to be carded and then the Argie Bargie at the end.A mindless,pointless act that took away a much needed losing bonus point.
It was a great performance from a good side that has the makings of side that can match any in the league but there's a lot of work to be done to get the set pieces sorted, seasoned props and second rows are needed P.D.Q.
I know there's one signed for next season but what about the here and now?before its too late and we end up in the basement again.
Mathew Morgan from the Ospreys would be a great acquisition,a talented player IMO but pleeeeeeese ,not Henson!!!
I've always said they coach stupidity at R.P,and last night it was painfully obvious, and lost us a game on the road that could have and should have been won.First up,serial offender Lewis Evans,then Sid (twice) both fortunate not to be carded and then the Argie Bargie at the end.A mindless,pointless act that took away a much needed losing bonus point. It was a great performance from a good side that has the makings of side that can match any in the league but there's a lot of work to be done to get the set pieces sorted, seasoned props and second rows are needed P.D.Q. I know there's one signed for next season but what about the here and now?before its too late and we end up in the basement again. Mathew Morgan from the Ospreys would be a great acquisition,a talented player IMO but pleeeeeeese ,not Henson!!! saltheartfoamfollower
  • Score: 6

6:47pm Sat 15 Feb 14

foxy3rd says...

I've seen Sid give away some penalties over the years, but that pulling down in the lineout near the end was absolutely senseless and these are the senior players that the juniors are learning from ,then Chaparros' tackle. Some of them don't seem to have a brain between them, with the number of losing bonus points they've consistantly thrown away this season.
There again what have the coaches done over the last few years to bolster the front row. They've been pretty brainless as well, it just puts everyone under pressure.
I've seen Sid give away some penalties over the years, but that pulling down in the lineout near the end was absolutely senseless and these are the senior players that the juniors are learning from ,then Chaparros' tackle. Some of them don't seem to have a brain between them, with the number of losing bonus points they've consistantly thrown away this season. There again what have the coaches done over the last few years to bolster the front row. They've been pretty brainless as well, it just puts everyone under pressure. foxy3rd
  • Score: 12

7:47pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Euwan Usami says...

You can be sure that LJ and Co are asking the players to steal an edge wherever they can to counter the known weaknesses upfront. This for me explains the number of yellows. Real Pity with 10 seconds on the clock to blow the LBP with a moments red mist from Chaparro. Lyn must be tamping.
Score flattered Leinster and the Dragons deserved more. With the new and promised signings for next season though things are still looking up.
You can be sure that LJ and Co are asking the players to steal an edge wherever they can to counter the known weaknesses upfront. This for me explains the number of yellows. Real Pity with 10 seconds on the clock to blow the LBP with a moments red mist from Chaparro. Lyn must be tamping. Score flattered Leinster and the Dragons deserved more. With the new and promised signings for next season though things are still looking up. Euwan Usami
  • Score: 3

8:39pm Sat 15 Feb 14

SWBorderer says...

I know the Blues lost tonight but look at the improvement in their game when the front five give some steady ball, l'm confident the same would happen for us, trouble is we don't have a set piece of a good enough standard to play at this level. I think this season has been one too many for Sid and with all the inexperience around him we will have difficulty recruiting enough quality unless someone comes up with some big bucks.
I know the Blues lost tonight but look at the improvement in their game when the front five give some steady ball, l'm confident the same would happen for us, trouble is we don't have a set piece of a good enough standard to play at this level. I think this season has been one too many for Sid and with all the inexperience around him we will have difficulty recruiting enough quality unless someone comes up with some big bucks. SWBorderer
  • Score: 2

12:19am Sun 16 Feb 14

Robert Shillabeer says...

SWBorderer wrote:
I know the Blues lost tonight but look at the improvement in their game when the front five give some steady ball, l'm confident the same would happen for us, trouble is we don't have a set piece of a good enough standard to play at this level. I think this season has been one too many for Sid and with all the inexperience around him we will have difficulty recruiting enough quality unless someone comes up with some big bucks.
Big bucks ain't the answer with the wage cap in place, although there is some cash available still. We need some good front rowers to bolster and guide what we currently have and perhaps Sid has one more good year in him and will be good if some of the load was taken by other better players. Our coaches are still in their first season and will influence new signings and bring the younger players on and push for better next season I'm sure.
[quote][p][bold]SWBorderer[/bold] wrote: I know the Blues lost tonight but look at the improvement in their game when the front five give some steady ball, l'm confident the same would happen for us, trouble is we don't have a set piece of a good enough standard to play at this level. I think this season has been one too many for Sid and with all the inexperience around him we will have difficulty recruiting enough quality unless someone comes up with some big bucks.[/p][/quote]Big bucks ain't the answer with the wage cap in place, although there is some cash available still. We need some good front rowers to bolster and guide what we currently have and perhaps Sid has one more good year in him and will be good if some of the load was taken by other better players. Our coaches are still in their first season and will influence new signings and bring the younger players on and push for better next season I'm sure. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 1

6:51pm Sun 16 Feb 14

SWBorderer says...

As you well know Robert there's more than wages involved when signing players. It is a shame we just can't hold our own ball because l do believe we have the talent elsewhere to drive the team on. I also have faith in the coaches, even Darren now he's doing the job he's far better suited to do.
As you well know Robert there's more than wages involved when signing players. It is a shame we just can't hold our own ball because l do believe we have the talent elsewhere to drive the team on. I also have faith in the coaches, even Darren now he's doing the job he's far better suited to do. SWBorderer
  • Score: 2

1:37pm Mon 17 Feb 14

Warbles says...

Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it.
Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it. Warbles
  • Score: 4

6:25pm Mon 17 Feb 14

Robert Shillabeer says...

Warbles wrote:
Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it.
Sid is a very experienced player and is worth his place especially in the last 20 mins to bolster the forward when we are ahead and give them all that bit of backbone to fight it out. True the incident again shows that element of frustration they all seem to suffer from after putting up such a strong fight only to have it snatched away by some woeful ref decisions that after watching the game four times still show me how poor continentat refs are.
[quote][p][bold]Warbles[/bold] wrote: Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it.[/p][/quote]Sid is a very experienced player and is worth his place especially in the last 20 mins to bolster the forward when we are ahead and give them all that bit of backbone to fight it out. True the incident again shows that element of frustration they all seem to suffer from after putting up such a strong fight only to have it snatched away by some woeful ref decisions that after watching the game four times still show me how poor continentat refs are. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 1

6:25pm Mon 17 Feb 14

Robert Shillabeer says...

Warbles wrote:
Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it.
Sid is a very experienced player and is worth his place especially in the last 20 mins to bolster the forward when we are ahead and give them all that bit of backbone to fight it out. True the incident again shows that element of frustration they all seem to suffer from after putting up such a strong fight only to have it snatched away by some woeful ref decisions that after watching the game four times still show me how poor continentat refs are.
[quote][p][bold]Warbles[/bold] wrote: Shame, I had high hopes for Chaparro as a prop but this mindless act will further convince LJ that he is surplus to requirements. 3 cards, 3 converted 'tries'. Other teams are signing players on loan for rest of season; can't we follow suit for a beast in second row and an experienced prop. sad to say, I think Sid has gone past it.[/p][/quote]Sid is a very experienced player and is worth his place especially in the last 20 mins to bolster the forward when we are ahead and give them all that bit of backbone to fight it out. True the incident again shows that element of frustration they all seem to suffer from after putting up such a strong fight only to have it snatched away by some woeful ref decisions that after watching the game four times still show me how poor continentat refs are. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Mon 17 Feb 14

jd1234 says...

Whaat? Whatever happened to the Moorings Marauder? We need more expertise at the breakdown.
Whaat? Whatever happened to the Moorings Marauder? We need more expertise at the breakdown. jd1234
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Mon 17 Feb 14

SWBorderer says...

The standard of refereeing in the Rabo is generally poor but we have a reputation for being weak in the scrum and giving away silly penalties at the breakdown, so a weak referee is always going to be looking to penalise us for those. The penalties usually come from the frustration caused by not having a solid forward base, tackle that problem, cut out the stupidity and decisions will start to go our way. I know it shouldn't happen like that but this is the real world.
The standard of refereeing in the Rabo is generally poor but we have a reputation for being weak in the scrum and giving away silly penalties at the breakdown, so a weak referee is always going to be looking to penalise us for those. The penalties usually come from the frustration caused by not having a solid forward base, tackle that problem, cut out the stupidity and decisions will start to go our way. I know it shouldn't happen like that but this is the real world. SWBorderer
  • Score: 5

12:07am Wed 19 Feb 14

Robert Shillabeer says...

SWBorderer wrote:
The standard of refereeing in the Rabo is generally poor but we have a reputation for being weak in the scrum and giving away silly penalties at the breakdown, so a weak referee is always going to be looking to penalise us for those. The penalties usually come from the frustration caused by not having a solid forward base, tackle that problem, cut out the stupidity and decisions will start to go our way. I know it shouldn't happen like that but this is the real world.
True.
[quote][p][bold]SWBorderer[/bold] wrote: The standard of refereeing in the Rabo is generally poor but we have a reputation for being weak in the scrum and giving away silly penalties at the breakdown, so a weak referee is always going to be looking to penalise us for those. The penalties usually come from the frustration caused by not having a solid forward base, tackle that problem, cut out the stupidity and decisions will start to go our way. I know it shouldn't happen like that but this is the real world.[/p][/quote]True. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

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