CARDIFF Blues continue to have the Dragons’ number after edging a dour derby at Rodney Parade.

It was a tense if poor-quality clash in the Newport rain with the visitors bossing the second half to claim the lead for the first time after 67.

Josh Turnbull powered over and Jarrod Evans added to the conversion to make it 13-12 and the Dragons never looked like repeating last season’s late drama against the Scarlets and Ospreys.

Josh Lewis had kicked them into a 9-3 lead at the break and added another penalty early soon after the resumption; a sizeable lead in the conditions.

However, they were then kept pinned inside their own half, strangled by their guests in a fixture dominated by the whistle of referee Craig Evans.

Perhaps the roar from a packed Rodney Parade would have made a difference, helping somebody come up with a big moment to turn the tide.

Instead it was a slow death and there could be no complaints about the result from the Dragons, who couldn’t be faulted for their endeavour but lacked accuracy in key moments.

South Wales Argus:

It was the sort of derby that only the winners could love and very few neutrals would have been engrossed when tuning in on S4C.

The Dragons were hunting their first Boxing Day win since the 2014 upset at the Arms Park and their first triumph against the Blues since the Challenge Cup quarter-final success the following April.

Instead it is now 11 losses on the spin to their nearest and fiercest rivals.

A miserable afternoon meant kicking for territory was order of the day, followed by direct running.

On that front, the Dragons were arguably helped by the unfortunate absence of Wales centre Nick Tompkins on compassionate grounds, because that allowed them to field a hefty midfield of Jamie Robert and Jack Dixon.

The pair of 12s lovely trucking it up all game, while Roberts was like a player-coach with his influential talk throughout.

But there was nothing that the former Wales and Lions centre could do from midfield once the Blues pack were in the ascendancy in the second half, aided by bench impact.

The Dragons started well with strong carrying – no mean feat given the slippery conditions – to earn an offside penalty that Lewis slotted after eight minutes.

He followed that with another pair of good strikes to make it 9-0 after a quarter dominated by the whistle of Craig Evans, frequently punishing indiscipline from the visitors.

South Wales Argus:

That soon changed with the Blues able to enjoy a spell of pressure in the 22, attacking the North Terrace.

It took good defence from Tavis Knoyle, somehow ripping the ball from hooker Kristian Dacey on the line, to deny the visitors.

The Blues were on the scoreboard when they pointed for the posts rather than the corner, Wales playmaker Jarrod Evans kicking the points on a day that wasn’t for his fast feet and lively running.

It was 9-3 at the break but Lewis struck first after the restart following a good, confrontational attack of direct running.

Evans responded to make it 12-6 and the Blues were dominant in terms of both territory and possession as the game went into the final quarter.

It paid off when a penalty was kicked to the corner then flanker Turnbull went over from close range, Evans adding the extras for 13-12.

The Dragons remained pinned in their own 22 and it was only errors from the visitors that ensured they escaped with a consolation bonus.

This was a game that won’t live long in the memory, even for those from the capital.

Dragons scorers: penalties – J Lewis (4).

Blues scorers: try – J Turnbull; conversion – J Evans; penalties – J Evans (2)