Dragons will look to 'right wrongs' at Premiership Rugby 7s finals day

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. Matthew Pewtner breaks clear of the Ospreys defence. (8633304)

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. Sam Cross brings the ball forward. (8633293)

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. Ollie Griffiths powers for the line. (8633312)

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. James Thomas escapes from the defence. (8633321)

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. Johnny Lewis evades a tackle. (8633326)

Dragons in Premiership Sevens. Elliot Frewen breaks clear. (8633288)

First published in Sport
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South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons will attempt to channel the frustration of not being Welsh champions when they take on England's finest at finals day of the Premiership Rugby 7s.

The Rodney Parade side achieved objective number one by qualifying from a group that pitted them against their regional rivals at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday evening.

But the fly in the ointment came from the very last play when they were controversially denied a clean sweep of victories against the Scarlets, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues.

Referee Ian Davies deemed that the Dragons had not retreated 10 metres from a quick tap and awarded a penalty try that allowed the hosts to level the scores at 19-19.

It meant that the Blues shared the spoils and pinched top spot courtesy of the bonus point they earned against the Scarlets.

Coach Nick Wakley certainly wasn't in the mood to play the diplomat afterwards; unlike Arsene Wenger he didn't claim that he was unsighted.

"To draw a final game like that when the ref has made an absolute howler is hugely annoying," said Wakley.

"In the big picture we have qualified for finals day but those boys deserved to win that and that was a shocker.

"The penalty was for not being back 10 but they had their advantage with a try-scoring opportunity when their player (Tom Williams) just had to walk it in. He then knocked the ball on.

"I am absolutely dumfounded."

But the coach was delighted with his charges and hopes that the same group of players will be able to build on their good work at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday, August 8.

"We played some cracking stuff," he said. "We dominated the breakdowns, recycled the ball very well and were really patient with ball in hand.

"The boys were a joy to work with. They deserve to be at finals day and we look forward to righting some wrongs and going for the title.

"We might have to make one or two changes but I'd love to see those boys have a crack at it."

The Dragons were left to rue leaving the door ajar in the group decider.

They led 19-5 with 90 seconds left and Dorian Jones will have replayed a missed conversion from in front of the posts over and over in his mind on Saturday night.

Nonetheless, the region will fancy their chances of making a mark at the home of Harlequins next month.

Matthew Pewtner may have won player of the tournament after crossing for three tries but it was his fellow Wales international Rhys Jones that was star of the show for the Dragons.

The 26-year-old, who narrowly missed out on selection for the Commonwealth Games, pulled the strings and displayed a sweet left peg as well as pinpoint distribution.

His peerless touchline conversions of his own try and another by Cross Keys' Jonny Lewis set the scene for Newport winger Elliot Frewen to score at the death for a 21-14 opening win against the Scarlets.

They made light of back-to-back games by crushing the Ospreys 31-5 for a bonus-point win after tries by Pewnter (2), Ollie Griffiths, Frewen and Lewis.

That meant a Blues win against the Scarlets would secure qualification for the east Wales pair.

The hosts duly obliged with a 31-5 success to set up the group decider.

Cardiff Blues opened the scoring but scores by Frewen, Pewtner and Griffiths put the Dragons in command and it didn't look like Dorian Jones' miss would matter.

However, 90 seconds is a long time in sevens and Tom Williams raced down the left wing before Mr Davies took centre stage by marching under the sticks to the surprise of both sets of players.

Dragons squad: Sam Cross (captain), Matthew Pewtner, Dorian Jones, Owen Davies, Jonny Lewis, Elliot Frewen, Lewis Hudd, Rhys Jones, James Thomas, Harri Keddie, James Benjamin, Ollie Griffiths.

Try scorers: v Scarlets (21-14): R Jones, J Lewis, E Frewen; v Ospreys (31-5): M Pewtner (2), O Griffiths, E Frewen, J Lewis; v Cardiff Blues (19-19): E Frewen, M Pewtner, O Griffiths

Results: Cardiff Blues 33 Ospreys 21, Newport Gwent Dragons 21 Scarlets 14, Newport Gwent Dragons 31 Ospreys 5, Cardiff Blues 22 Scarlets 7, Scarlets 61 Ospreys 28, Cardiff Blues 19 Newport Gwent Dragons 19

Comments (2)

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9:25am Mon 28 Jul 14

keithbob says...

good luck lads,hope you get an unbiased ref next time round,i recorded the game and noticed the ref winking at the cardiff captain at the beginning of the game!.
good luck lads,hope you get an unbiased ref next time round,i recorded the game and noticed the ref winking at the cardiff captain at the beginning of the game!. keithbob
  • Score: 4

12:44am Fri 1 Aug 14

Robert Shillabeer says...

The Dragons were penalized by a penalty try against them for killing the ball, how then did the Blues have an overlap on the left only a few seconds after the aledged offence? I always thought killing the ball prevented the attacking side from getting possession so if they were able to gain possession and attack the way they did how were they killing the ball? A VERY POOR BIAS REF THATS HOW.
The Dragons were penalized by a penalty try against them for killing the ball, how then did the Blues have an overlap on the left only a few seconds after the aledged offence? I always thought killing the ball prevented the attacking side from getting possession so if they were able to gain possession and attack the way they did how were they killing the ball? A VERY POOR BIAS REF THATS HOW. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 1

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