Deflating defeat is what Dragons deserve – match report Newport Gwent Dragons 5 Cardiff Blues 16

South Wales Argus: TOUGH DAY: Dragons No 8 Toby Faletau is kept quiet by the Blues defence TOUGH DAY: Dragons No 8 Toby Faletau is kept quiet by the Blues defence

FORGET the fine margins; forget 11 points of missed kicks, forget being millimetres from the TMO giving the thumbs-up, forget a five-metre scrum that swung the match in Cardiff Blues’ favour – this was a must-win game for Newport Gwent Dragons and they lost.

The puff of wind that was in the Dragons’ sails after an opening-night thrashing of Zebre is long gone thanks to a thoroughly depressing evening at Rodney Parade.

It may seem silly to call a round-three fixture in the RaboDirect Pro12 ‘must-win’ but this was a chance for the region to make a huge statement.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that they won’t be down with Connacht, Treviso and Zebre this season.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that Rodney Parade is a fortress again.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that they aren’t certainties for the Amlin Challenge Cup.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that they are more than capable of finishing above their regional rivals that have been harder hit by the Welsh player drain.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that it’s insulting to talk of turning them into a development region.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that they do have players who are capable of being on the international stage.

This was a time for the Dragons to show that they are on the right track as a region.

Yet unfortunately this was a time that made you wonder if it’s the same old, same old.

Coaches’ and players’ reputations hang on such games and they know that they have messed up.

It was a defeat that was every bit as deflating as the reverses to Connacht, Treviso and Leinster seconds at the end of last season.

Those three losses probably played their part in just 7,331 punters turning up for a derby against the Dragons’ nearest and fiercest rivals.

And it will be hard to convince some of them to return when Edinburgh head to Newport on September 28.

On Friday, BBC Northern Ireland showed a magnificent Pro12 derby between Ulster and Munsterthat that was of Heineken Cup quality.

Less than 24 hours later two Welsh regions locked horns in an error-strewn Pro12 derby that would make you want to turn to much stronger stuff.

In a way it was engrossing, but the entertainment was the sort of blundering fare that kept Dennis Norden in work.

It was a game dominated by the whistle of frustrating official Neil Hennessy and the breakdown prowess of Wales captain Sam Warburton and his Blues back-row colleague Josh Navidi.

Moments of quality were few and far between, with both sides coughing up possession with alarming regularity for professional players.

None the less, the Dragons would have been happy enough when they headed to their changing- room with a 5-3 half-time lead.

The Blues twice came close to opening the scoring with a forward pass denying Gavin Evans after a break by impressive young fly-half Rhys Patchell and a terrific Tom Prydie tackle preventing Alex Cuthbert going over after a break from his 22.

In the end they had to settle for a Patchell penalty on 36 minutes but the lead didn’t last long.

The Dragons struck straight back when Steffan Jones – who had earlier smacked the post and bar with a monster penalty – darted over after good work by Andy Tuilagi, Lewis Evans and Phil Price.

It looked set to get even better for the hosts four minutes after the restart when they laid siege to the Blues line.

The video ref decided Price had not quite got over the whitewash but Mr Hennessy was playing advantage and awarded a penalty and yellow-carded prop Nathan Trevett.

“We’ll take the five-metre scrum,” said the Dragons, seemingly set to exploit the supposed set- piece fragility of their visitors.

Except, after two resets, Mr Hennessy penalised hooker Steve Jones for standing up.

If missing out on that chance was bad enough then the Dragons then allowed the 14 men of Cardiff to win the sin-bin period 7-0 when lock Adam Jones spilled the ball straight into Evans' grasp and he put Wales Cuthbert over.

Patchell converted and it was the young fly-half who twisted the knife with a pair of late penalties – but the Dragons deserved nothing and they got nothing.

Not only did they miss the chance to take a leap forward themselves, but they passed up an opportunity to put the boot into a rival.

The season is just three games old and maybe this report will be made to look reactionary come the end of the season.

I hope so, and the beauty of sport is that there is always the chance for a quick riposte.

The Dragons next fixture? Munster at Thomond Park.

This is a time for them to show what they are made of. If they don't then they won't be around for the Blues fixture at Rodney Parade next season.

Comments (20)

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6:48pm Sun 16 Sep 12

fedupjon says...

Where are the Dragons going? We keep reading wonderful things in the press but consistently they fail to deliver. The answer to the question is a simple nowhere as long as they retain the same management structure with Edwards, Beale and McCreadie. I say clear them out and try with people who have passion and drive rather than good words for the media.
Where are the Dragons going? We keep reading wonderful things in the press but consistently they fail to deliver. The answer to the question is a simple nowhere as long as they retain the same management structure with Edwards, Beale and McCreadie. I say clear them out and try with people who have passion and drive rather than good words for the media. fedupjon

7:13pm Sun 16 Sep 12

Doberman1 says...

Spot on article. How much longer do we have to put up with the rubbish served up every week, more importantly how much longer do we have to remain frustrated with a coaching set up who have failed to progress this region one inch since taking over. This is professional sport (apparently) - we need a coaching regime who can take whatever ability is in the squad and ensure we get a degree of professionalism from them backed up with passion, pride and a commitment to give everything for the shirt - we don't get anything close at the moment. A couple of things from last night which infuriated me - following our try Pryddie ( who I do rate highly) plonked the ball down and without much preparation very casually slapped the conversion wide (Neil Jenkins / Jonny Wilkinson methodically prepared for every shot at goal no matter how easy it looked). In the clubhouse bar area after the game I saw a couple of players laughing and enjoying some post match time with friends etc... They had just lost pathetically against bitter local rivals, they should have been so distraught at this that carousing around in public would be unthinkable, get in the car and go home and think about your performance, or lack of it. This all comes down to professionalism which must be instilled and demanded by the coach - Darren Edwards has had enough time and must be replaced. I could almost guarantee that if, for example Kingsley Jones were in charge we would see a massive improvement in the key area of professionalism and at least we would know that players were giving everything and in the event of defeat were hurting like mad.
Spot on article. How much longer do we have to put up with the rubbish served up every week, more importantly how much longer do we have to remain frustrated with a coaching set up who have failed to progress this region one inch since taking over. This is professional sport (apparently) - we need a coaching regime who can take whatever ability is in the squad and ensure we get a degree of professionalism from them backed up with passion, pride and a commitment to give everything for the shirt - we don't get anything close at the moment. A couple of things from last night which infuriated me - following our try Pryddie ( who I do rate highly) plonked the ball down and without much preparation very casually slapped the conversion wide (Neil Jenkins / Jonny Wilkinson methodically prepared for every shot at goal no matter how easy it looked). In the clubhouse bar area after the game I saw a couple of players laughing and enjoying some post match time with friends etc... They had just lost pathetically against bitter local rivals, they should have been so distraught at this that carousing around in public would be unthinkable, get in the car and go home and think about your performance, or lack of it. This all comes down to professionalism which must be instilled and demanded by the coach - Darren Edwards has had enough time and must be replaced. I could almost guarantee that if, for example Kingsley Jones were in charge we would see a massive improvement in the key area of professionalism and at least we would know that players were giving everything and in the event of defeat were hurting like mad. Doberman1

7:22pm Sun 16 Sep 12

CaptainB says...

If Kingsley Jones had been the Dragons coach last night the players would have been too afraid to go back to the changing room....
If Kingsley Jones had been the Dragons coach last night the players would have been too afraid to go back to the changing room.... CaptainB

8:14pm Sun 16 Sep 12

PortORico says...

The organisation that is the Dragons is rudderless on and off the field. There's an acceptance of mediocrity from Martyn Hazell and the board,that carries through the rugby management coaching structure. An inexperienced head coach, and now defence coach and ex-player sharing the forward coaching duties instead of recruiting an experienced specialist forwards coach. There is a desperate need to bring in an experienced, established, Director Of Rugby to stamp authority on all aspects of the coaching and playing structures. The present encumbents are seemingly out of their depth, but unless the structure is over hauled then nothing will really change no matter who the coach is.
The organisation that is the Dragons is rudderless on and off the field. There's an acceptance of mediocrity from Martyn Hazell and the board,that carries through the rugby management coaching structure. An inexperienced head coach, and now defence coach and ex-player sharing the forward coaching duties instead of recruiting an experienced specialist forwards coach. There is a desperate need to bring in an experienced, established, Director Of Rugby to stamp authority on all aspects of the coaching and playing structures. The present encumbents are seemingly out of their depth, but unless the structure is over hauled then nothing will really change no matter who the coach is. PortORico

8:34pm Sun 16 Sep 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Just watched scrumv, the things they said about the ref shows how poor he was. They started by saying how good a ref he is and then severely criticised his very very poor performance. Shows how even they stated he had a bad day at the office to say the least. Both sides played well below par but the poor referee made things so much worse. When are the powers that be going to step up and sort poor referees out for the good f the game please.
Just watched scrumv, the things they said about the ref shows how poor he was. They started by saying how good a ref he is and then severely criticised his very very poor performance. Shows how even they stated he had a bad day at the office to say the least. Both sides played well below par but the poor referee made things so much worse. When are the powers that be going to step up and sort poor referees out for the good f the game please. Robert Shillabeer

12:02am Mon 17 Sep 12

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

Totally Brilliant Comments Guys, its made my weekend reading these kind of posts , please keep them coming x
Totally Brilliant Comments Guys, its made my weekend reading these kind of posts , please keep them coming x kalwales@hotmail.com

8:22am Mon 17 Sep 12

high x boy says...

what a good item resting the whole front row last week.This week they were shocking. It was better when the replacements came on.
what a good item resting the whole front row last week.This week they were shocking. It was better when the replacements came on. high x boy

8:41am Mon 17 Sep 12

Oddjob says...

PortORico wrote:
The organisation that is the Dragons is rudderless on and off the field. There's an acceptance of mediocrity from Martyn Hazell and the board,that carries through the rugby management coaching structure. An inexperienced head coach, and now defence coach and ex-player sharing the forward coaching duties instead of recruiting an experienced specialist forwards coach. There is a desperate need to bring in an experienced, established, Director Of Rugby to stamp authority on all aspects of the coaching and playing structures. The present encumbents are seemingly out of their depth, but unless the structure is over hauled then nothing will really change no matter who the coach is.
How right you are. The acceptance of mediority has been at Rodney Parade since 2003. Browns over eagerness to take the Regional shilling regardless and the relief felt by his Co-Directors that first class rugby would continue at RP without too much finacial input from themeselves has created this mediocrity.
[quote][p][bold]PortORico[/bold] wrote: The organisation that is the Dragons is rudderless on and off the field. There's an acceptance of mediocrity from Martyn Hazell and the board,that carries through the rugby management coaching structure. An inexperienced head coach, and now defence coach and ex-player sharing the forward coaching duties instead of recruiting an experienced specialist forwards coach. There is a desperate need to bring in an experienced, established, Director Of Rugby to stamp authority on all aspects of the coaching and playing structures. The present encumbents are seemingly out of their depth, but unless the structure is over hauled then nothing will really change no matter who the coach is.[/p][/quote]How right you are. The acceptance of mediority has been at Rodney Parade since 2003. Browns over eagerness to take the Regional shilling regardless and the relief felt by his Co-Directors that first class rugby would continue at RP without too much finacial input from themeselves has created this mediocrity. Oddjob

11:11am Mon 17 Sep 12

dalesman1666 says...

The one good thing came out of this game was to use the match footage as a training video on how NOT to play the game. Neither Dragons or Blues could even do the basics right. 32 + turnovers in a game strewn with errors. As for the officials it,s allways there fault when teams play poor. This was a dire display from both teams And worst still people paid to watch it shamefull.Valleys rugby anyone?
The one good thing came out of this game was to use the match footage as a training video on how NOT to play the game. Neither Dragons or Blues could even do the basics right. 32 + turnovers in a game strewn with errors. As for the officials it,s allways there fault when teams play poor. This was a dire display from both teams And worst still people paid to watch it shamefull.Valleys rugby anyone? dalesman1666

11:57am Mon 17 Sep 12

WhyWorry says...

What happend to the game of rugby that was once enjoyed at Rodney Parade when the players loved Newport not just the money. Watching it on Friday night was like watching rugby league not union. I used to love going over to watch Newport v Cardiff but now it is just blues against ambers 2 meaninless colours and 2 meaninless clubs time to find somthing else to do as they will not be able to compete with this setup.
What happend to the game of rugby that was once enjoyed at Rodney Parade when the players loved Newport not just the money. Watching it on Friday night was like watching rugby league not union. I used to love going over to watch Newport v Cardiff but now it is just blues against ambers 2 meaninless colours and 2 meaninless clubs time to find somthing else to do as they will not be able to compete with this setup. WhyWorry

3:50pm Mon 17 Sep 12

gwentfan says...

after watching the game saturday night
with a big crowd down at R P .
Something must be done urgently before the crowd disappear for good.
we have had to put up with poor results for far to long.
The 2 new players that crab apple have just signed would not get into bedwas team and would definitely not get into Crosskeys side.
IF the director of rugby is not removed with is coaching staff it will be a very long season.
after watching the game saturday night with a big crowd down at R P . Something must be done urgently before the crowd disappear for good. we have had to put up with poor results for far to long. The 2 new players that crab apple have just signed would not get into bedwas team and would definitely not get into Crosskeys side. IF the director of rugby is not removed with is coaching staff it will be a very long season. gwentfan

5:17pm Mon 17 Sep 12

East Newport Dave says...

This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post?
This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post? East Newport Dave

5:47pm Mon 17 Sep 12

Doberman1 says...

East Newport Dave wrote:
This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post?
Spot on.
[quote][p][bold]East Newport Dave[/bold] wrote: This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post?[/p][/quote]Spot on. Doberman1

7:31pm Mon 17 Sep 12

CaptainB says...

Time to weald the AXE,
DE must go and more importantly HE MUST GO NOW!!!!!
Time to weald the AXE, DE must go and more importantly HE MUST GO NOW!!!!! CaptainB

8:31pm Mon 17 Sep 12

GazzaH says...

Despite my reservations about watching the Dragon's this season, me and Mrs G bought our tickets and trudged off more in hope than anything else. After the 1st 10 mins of an awful game I knew it was a mistake. We have far too many journeymen who are paid for week after week of mediocrity. Add a coach who frequently resembles a rabbit caught in the headlights and it is recipe for disaster. We need some class and grunt up front but who are they going to recruit this late into the season ?. Dogfight with Connaught to see who finishes last but one!.
Despite my reservations about watching the Dragon's this season, me and Mrs G bought our tickets and trudged off more in hope than anything else. After the 1st 10 mins of an awful game I knew it was a mistake. We have far too many journeymen who are paid for week after week of mediocrity. Add a coach who frequently resembles a rabbit caught in the headlights and it is recipe for disaster. We need some class and grunt up front but who are they going to recruit this late into the season ?. Dogfight with Connaught to see who finishes last but one!. GazzaH

8:46pm Mon 17 Sep 12

Euwan Usami says...

Doberman1 wrote:
East Newport Dave wrote:
This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post?
Spot on.
True, too much blame goes on the officials. Very difficult to officiate a shambles. I sympathise with a ref trying to find a balance between consistency and an understanding of the game/letting things go to let a match flow. Problem for us is up front. If we are up against a team that wants to contest the breakdown then we will struggle. It happened at the Zebre game too but the result blinded people to it. I so hope I am wrong but I think it's gonna be a long season again.
[quote][p][bold]Doberman1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]East Newport Dave[/bold] wrote: This result had nothing to do with poor refereeing. I get fed up with people blaming the referee when it is poor skill levels and standards of discipline at fault. Clearly the players can't play for Darren Edwards. He has neither the charisma or the ability. What is he still doing in post?[/p][/quote]Spot on.[/p][/quote]True, too much blame goes on the officials. Very difficult to officiate a shambles. I sympathise with a ref trying to find a balance between consistency and an understanding of the game/letting things go to let a match flow. Problem for us is up front. If we are up against a team that wants to contest the breakdown then we will struggle. It happened at the Zebre game too but the result blinded people to it. I so hope I am wrong but I think it's gonna be a long season again. Euwan Usami

9:17am Tue 18 Sep 12

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too

Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ??
EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ?? kalwales@hotmail.com

9:47am Tue 18 Sep 12

Doberman1 says...

kalwales@hotmail.com wrote:
EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too

Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ??
Latest on the replica shirts.........it's the ref's fault!
[quote][p][bold]kalwales@hotmail.com[/bold] wrote: EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ??[/p][/quote]Latest on the replica shirts.........it's the ref's fault! Doberman1

8:55pm Tue 18 Sep 12

Euwan Usami says...

Doberman1 wrote:
kalwales@hotmail.com wrote:
EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too

Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ??
Latest on the replica shirts.........it's the ref's fault!
Think they are trying to redesign the main logo into something less amusing/embarrassing ; maybe a huge pair of baps or a hairy butt. (Can't be too many on order surely? ;)
[quote][p][bold]Doberman1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kalwales@hotmail.com[/bold] wrote: EastNewportDave - never has a truer word been spoken however its not just Darren that needs to go its those behind the scenes too Any news on when you Dragons Fans will be getting your Jerseys ?? or you all being kept waiting as per usual each season ??[/p][/quote]Latest on the replica shirts.........it's the ref's fault![/p][/quote]Think they are trying to redesign the main logo into something less amusing/embarrassing ; maybe a huge pair of baps or a hairy butt. (Can't be too many on order surely? ;) Euwan Usami

11:18pm Tue 18 Sep 12

DaiFrank says...

I haven't been at RP since 2005. I supported Newport RFC for years but the turn to the 'Dragons' with the accompanying idiotic Dragons chant, meaningless badge, contradictory colours all led to a clear lack of identity which personally led me to spend my money elsewhere. By the way Will Godfrey (is he still there?) loved that squiggly badge, apparently it cost £30,000, if my memory serves me right and he told me that it was the product of a very skilled creative artist. No depth, all veneer. For those who blame the ref, get a life, wake up and smell the coffee! Since its inception NGD has been dogged by poor managerial leadership, mostly average to below average players and some dodgy coaches, but the latter two groups are innocent compared to the leadership. Brown, Hazell blah, blah have systematically let fans down, and yet you all still trot over there wasting your money. The facts are there. Nothing achieved since 2003 and even when Brown spent money prior to 2003, he did not have the rugby nous to think strategically. In essence he was surrounded by buffoons such as Hazell and Godfrey. The leadership have been lazy for years, enjoying their social benefits and freebies whilst the fans keep hoping. It needs a total top-down change and it always has. Yet to date it has always been a sort of half-way house. Black & Amber colours crept back in; NEWPORT on the shirt but yet it apparently is a region called the 'Dragons' a name inherited from the brief Ebbw Vale 'takeover'.
I haven't been at RP since 2005. I supported Newport RFC for years but the turn to the 'Dragons' with the accompanying idiotic Dragons chant, meaningless badge, contradictory colours all led to a clear lack of identity which personally led me to spend my money elsewhere. By the way Will Godfrey (is he still there?) loved that squiggly badge, apparently it cost £30,000, if my memory serves me right and he told me that it was the product of a very skilled creative artist. No depth, all veneer. For those who blame the ref, get a life, wake up and smell the coffee! Since its inception NGD has been dogged by poor managerial leadership, mostly average to below average players and some dodgy coaches, but the latter two groups are innocent compared to the leadership. Brown, Hazell blah, blah have systematically let fans down, and yet you all still trot over there wasting your money. The facts are there. Nothing achieved since 2003 and even when Brown spent money prior to 2003, he did not have the rugby nous to think strategically. In essence he was surrounded by buffoons such as Hazell and Godfrey. The leadership have been lazy for years, enjoying their social benefits and freebies whilst the fans keep hoping. It needs a total top-down change and it always has. Yet to date it has always been a sort of half-way house. Black & Amber colours crept back in; NEWPORT on the shirt but yet it apparently is a region called the 'Dragons' a name inherited from the brief Ebbw Vale 'takeover'. DaiFrank

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