THE Dragons stunned the Ospreys late on to take the spoils in a thrilling derby. Here are the talking points from the Guinness PRO14 clash at Rodney Parade…


The Dragons were rocking at 13-8 down and 52 minutes on the clock.

Ospreys number eight Morgan Morris carried hard towards the line but a combination of Tyler Morgan, then Sam Davies, then Taine Basham managed to prevent the ball being grounded.

Perhaps it wouldn’t have been a killer blow – remember the Scarlets took a commanding lead with a quickfire brace at the start of the festive period – but it felt like a try would have boosted the Ospreys and broken the Dragons.

Instead the hosts managed to defend the five-metre scrum and escape to keep it a one-score game until the dramatic finale.

READ MORE: The match report from a thrilling derby

“That was the end of a really poor period from us when we were in danger. In the past we probably would have let the game go away from us,” admitted director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“Us staying in it and winning that moment (Morris being held up) is probably what allowed us to get something at the end.”

The Dragons are becoming a tougher nut to crack.

At Worcester they didn’t let Taine Basham’s 20th-minute red card derail them to leave Sixways with a consolation bonus then the following weekend they took a Warriors comeback in their stride and then pulled away in the final quarter.

Against the Scarlets they stayed calm at 17-9 down and famously took the spoils at the death while at Cardiff Blues their tenacity gave them a shot at sneaking it at the death.

South Wales Argus:


First things first, I would have reluctantly chalked off a long-range score by a prop had I been the TMO.

If the Dragons had conceded the try that was scored by Leon Brown then both touch judges would have been battling to be on the Bisley Stand wing to avoid the ‘advice’ from the terrace.

Elliot Dee’s pass to his fellow front rower was deemed to have been flat but the try still needed finishing and there are not many tightheads that would have made the line.

Loosehead Ellis Genge has been used in the back-field recently – perhaps the Dragons have their version of the ‘Baby Rhino’!

Brown has been exceptional in recent weeks and has to be a serious contender for the 3 jersey when Wales kick off the Six Nations against Italy.

It’s only those that are blinded by the tighthead’s tough Test displays against Georgia, when he was young, and Ireland, when he just had a bad day at the office, that scoff at his claim.

As eye-catching as galloping over from 30 metres was, Brown’s work in the tight against Worcester and in three tough derbies has been even more impressive.


Those that headed to Rodney Parade in the summer to watch the Celtic Cup encounter with Munster A were excited by the dazzling display of the young guns.

At the heart of it was wing Rio Dyer, who looked ready to push for first team action after being given a taste of things by Bernard Jackman two years ago.

Dean Ryan and his management held their nerve, realising the difference between overwhelming a poor Munster side and mixing it with the big boys.

Dyer is earmarked for more learning with Wales in the World Rugby Sevens Series but injuries may well force their hand.

The Dragons are down to the bare bones in the back three and Ashton Hewitt’s calf niggle led to the 20-year-old from Newport getting a chance.

The safe option would have been putting Adam Warren on the wing but instead Dyer was given a shot that he grasped, capped by the try that levelled it up late on.

His first involvement was a superb run out of trouble after being turned by the a kick and the speedster continued to impress with his willingness and appetite for running hard even if there was traffic. We already knew he was quick.

Young wingers get targeted by savvy fly-halves but Dyer’s speed will make the opposition think twice. Early days but the signs are promising.


It’s been a tough period of fixtures, not necessarily in terms of the schedule but given that the three games in three weeks have all been derbies.

That puts the players under more physical and mental stress than an encounter against, for example, the Kings in Newport.

Ryan will have been plotting his way through his first tussles with the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Ospreys and won’t have given too much thought to Castres.

However, with Enisei-STM at home a week on Friday, the boss surely has to go strong to France.

There are some bruised and battered bodies but the Dragons need to go fully-loaded to the Stade Pierre-Fabre because if they leave Castres with anything to show for their efforts then the quarter-finals are within touching distance, be that as group winners or one of the three best runners-up.

Enisei-STM is the chance to give fringe figures a run out as they should have enough about them to secure a bonus-point win in Newport.

After that is a breather for a month until three key PRO14 fixtures in the Six Nations period.