THE Dragons enjoyed a stunning 22-20 win against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade. Here are the talking points from the Guinness PRO14 derby in Newport…


Sam Davies was left crestfallen last December when he missed from the tee late on in front of a jubilant Hazell Stand in the Dragons’ win against the Ospreys which ended a four-year barren run in league derbies.

South Wales Argus:

This time he was sparking cheers from the home faithful in the right way after grasping his shot at redemption.

The left-footer could easily have been feeling glum after what looked set to be a costly late penalty miss.

Instead he wheeled away in delight after the last-gasp drop goal, which was struck safe in the knowledge that penalty advantage was being played.

READ MORE: The match report from a dramatic night

Rodney Parade has seen some late kicking drama in derbies – Ospreys’ Dan Biggar hitting the post with a drop goal, Cardiff Blues’ Rhys Patchell stealing the spoils with a super conversion, Jason Tovey being the match-winner thanks to Davies’ miss.

This was another one that will live long in the memory.

South Wales Argus: Leon Brown and Richard HibbardLeon Brown and Richard Hibbard


In recent years the Scarlets have beaten the Dragons with their grunt up front – remember Bernard Jackman hooking Luke Garrett and Nicky Thomas after 25 minutes in Llanelli two years ago?

The visitors headed to Newport with what could well be the Wales front row in the Six Nations opener with Wyn Jones and Samson Lee either side of Ken Owens.

The performance of the Dragons trio of evergreen South African Brok Harris, Elliot Dee and Leon Brown will give Wayne Pivac plenty of food for though ahead of the Six Nations.

The region scrummaged superbly in the double-header against Worcester and not only stood firm against an all-international Scarlets tight five but had the better of things.

Make no mistake, the visitors would have targeted Brown, who endured a tough time in the World Cup warm-up against Ireland before missing the cut for Japan.

The prop has come on leaps and bounds since that disappointment and on form would be in Pivac’s 23 to face the Italians in February.

Credit to Aaron Jarvis and Richard Hibbard as well because the former Wales internationals came on and kept the standards high. In fact, Jarvis’ carry into the 22 was vital at the death.


“Sanjay’s coming home” was being sung by the Scarlets fans on the Hazell Terrace in the first half, with Liam Williams return likely to be confirmed soon.

The Lions full-back may be Llanelli-bound but perhaps he might have to be on the wing because Leigh Halfpenny was superb.

South Wales Argus:

He’s a points machine from the tee and THE most dependable 15 in world rugby, always in the right place and so sure under the high ball.

Conditions were horrid but it was a masterclass from Halfpenny… and the Dragons’ young 15 wasn’t too shabby.

Will Talbot-Davies wouldn’t have been starting had Jordan Williams not suffered a season-ending knee injury in Russia in November but the 22-year-old is growing at the back.

It was an assured performance in testing weather with Talbot-Davies playing a key role with a strong carry before Rhodri Williams’ try and then helping put Ashton Hewitt on the run in the build-up to the penalty that wasn’t needed in the last minute.

A run of games is helping the Wales Sevens international make strides.


The Dragons are made of sterner stuff this season, the nightmare against Zebre excepted.

They dug deep to stun Glasgow, battled all the way against Edinburgh at Murrayfield and showed their resilience in the Worcester double-header.

They are more organised but they are also more composed in times of trouble, and they were in a pickle when Ken Owens went over from a driving lineout in the first half. At 17-9 the Dragons were under pressure but stayed in the fight.

They also didn’t lose their heads after making a complete mess of things after Davies’ penalty that could have been a winner.

Botching the restart, Brandon Nansen the guilty party, let Halfpenny strike but the Dragons came again, not once but twice.

Their composure with a wet ball at the death was wonderful, attacking from inside their own half to work into a position where they snatched the win.

The Dragons have made a big improvement in game management - with half-backs Rhodri Williams and Sam Davies forming a fine partnership - and that has helped them be tougher to crack.