THE Dragons avoided a banana skin with ease by running four tries past the Southern Kings for their first Guinness PRO14 bonus-point win in two and a half years.

Bernard Jackman’s side backed-up their morale-boosting success against Connacht at Rodney Parade by beating their South African visitors 29-13 on a horrendous night in Newport.

The management copped some flak for resting their seniors en bloc in defeat to Ulster in Belfast in round four but they were vindicated with an energetic and professional display.

The Kings headed to Wales on the back of four defeats and that put the pressure on the Dragons to not only win but win comfortably.

They bagged just one four-try bonus in the league last season – in defeat at the Scarlets – while their last five-point haul had been against Leinster in April, 2015.

But patience was the key on a wet night and a brace by Wales wing Hallam Amos either side of a driving lineout score by hooker Elliot Dee earned a 22-6 lead at half-time.

The bonus was secured via Dee in the 42nd minute and although there was a slight disappointment that no more followed, it was job done.

It was an excellent win in testing conditions against the Kings, who it must be said looked disjointed after being flung together in the summer.

But the Dragons could only beat what was in front of them and there were some excellent displays as well as a continuation of the desire to play expansively, even in the torrential Newport rain.

The back row of James Thomas, Ollie Griffiths and James Benjamin worked well as a unit, Jack Dixon carried hard to give another option to the fast feet of Amos and Ashton Hewitt while Gavin Henson controlled matters expertly.

The former Wales and Lions playmaker operated in a different speed to everyone else on the park, displaying a calmness and clear head amid the blood and thunder.

All in all it was another step in the right direction for the Dragons but they will know sterner tests lie ahead during an October on the road that features derbies at Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys either side of European clashes with Newcastle and Enisei-STM.

The Dragons actually made a sloppy start with scrum-half Sarel Pretorius not using the ball in time at a ruck to gift away a scrum that led to a penalty for fly-half Pieter Steyn de Wet.

However, they struck straight back with back row forward James Benjamin snaffling the restart and then, after a series of charges at the Kings line, provided the assist for Wales wing Hallam Amos.

Gavin Henson converted magnificently from the touchline and then added a more routine penalty as the Dragons were rewarded for a bright start with a 10-3 lead after 16 minutes.

The Kings narrowed the gap with a second scrum penalty before Wales centre Tyler Morgan wasted a chance for the second, knocking the slippy ball on over the line after a neat grubber by Pretorius.

The wet weather was proving to be something of a leveller with the Dragons unable to up the pace with their desired offloading game and it remained 10-6 after half an hour.

Thankfully their tight game was in good working order to stretch further ahead with hooker Elliot Dee going over from a five-metre lineout after hitting Benjamin at the front.

At 15-6 one had the feeling that another score could crack the visitors, and so it proved.

Pretorius made up for a shocking kick that gifted away possession just seconds earlier by sniping into the 22 and then, after a charge by the impressive Benjamin, popped up a pass for Amos to power through two rather weak tackles for his second.

The Dragons almost had their bonus point before the break only for the footage to not be clear enough for the TMO to reward a strong carry by lock Matthew Screech over the line.

However, they didn’t have to wait long for a fourth, less than two minutes in fact.

A strong run into the 22 by full-back Carl Meyer was followed by a penalty that was kicked for the corner for Dee to repeat the trick, albeit after falling just short of the line and having to reach over.

Henson converted majestically from the left touchline for 29-6 and the Dragons had the chance to rack up the points against visitors totally bereft of confidence.

Jackman must also have been considering protecting his key individuals – the front row, Griffiths, Henson – but perhaps needed another score to be completely secure.

Instead it came from the South Africans with flanker Andisa Ntsila finishing off a lineout drive in the 57th minute, de Wet’s conversion making it 29-13.

Maybe it was due to the foreign nature of being well ahead but the Dragons had lost their way.

Tighthead Leon Brown’s game was over when he received a yellow card for a dangerous no-arms tackle on 68 minutes and it was a signal that the hosts were happy with what they had when a penalty led to Henson having a long-range effort at goal rather than the corner in the 73rd minute.

It was wide but the Dragons had done more than enough.

Dragons: C Meyer, A Hewitt (T Palamo 40, A O’Brien 70), T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos, G Henson, S Pretorius (D Blacker 51), B Harris (T Davies 58), E Dee, L Brown (E Shipp 77), M Screech (J Davies 51), C Hill (captain), J Thomas (L Fairbrother 75), O Griffiths, J Benjamin.

Scorers: tries – H Amos (2), E Dee (2); conversions – G Henson (3); penalties – G Henson

Yellow card: L Brown, T Davies

Kings: M Banda, Y Penxe, J Nel, B Klaasen (L Vulindlu 63), A Bock, P de Wet, G Masimla (R Gouws 70), S Ferreira (R de Klerk 67), M Willemse (captain, S Coetzee 67), M Dreyer (E Swanepoel 53), S Greeff (L Mtyanda 53), B de Wee, A Ntsila (K Majola 74), J van Vuuren, D van Schalkwyk.

Scorers: try – A Ntsila; conversion – P de Wet; penalty – P de Wet (2) Yellow card: E Swanepoel

Referee: Andy Brace (Ireland)

Attendance: 5,299

Argus star man: Elliot Dee