A TRY by giant Fiji wing Nemani Nadolo denied the Dragons after a stirring second-half comeback at Leicester.

Dean Ryan's men headed to Welford Road for a first tune-up for the United Rugby Championship and showed their spirit.

They trailed 21-0 at the break in the East Midlands after converted tries by full-back Freddie Steward, hooker Nic Dolly and scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet.

However, the Dragons stormed back into contention thanks to a close-range score by hooker Richard Hibbard and a Sam Davies interception.

Steward scored his second but Ryan's men levelled it up at 28-28 when scrum-half Lewis Jones, on loan from Cardiff, and wing Jordan Olowofela, on loan from Leicester, went over.

However, Fiji powerhouse Nadolo was worked over down the left wing to take the spoils for the Tigers, with the conversion making it 35-28.

Nonetheless, Ryan will be pleased with the display in the absence of their leading Welsh internationals.

South Wales Argus: POWER: Richard Hibbard goes over with the help of Ben FryPOWER: Richard Hibbard goes over with the help of Ben Fry

The Dragons had their moments in the first half but failed to turn pressure into points and were up against it at 21-0 down.

However, they struck soon after the restart when they hammered away at the line before Hibbard made the most of a poor defensive hit, powering over despite receiving the ball standing still.

It soon became a seven-point game after Davies picked off a pass and raced over before adding his second conversion.

Steward scored his second down the left wing but the Dragons levelled it up with a quickifire brace by two of their debutants.

Jones ran a classic scrum-half supporting run to dash under the sticks and then provided the assist for Olowofela to score on home soil after a breakaway sparked by an interception by Wales flanker Taine Basham.

However, Nadolo had the final say when he powered over down the left after the Dragons’ defence was dragged out of shape.

There was one last chance to push for a draw from a lineout in the 22 but the Leicester defence held firm to force a knock-on.

The Dragons play their second friendly of the summer in the East Midlands next Sunday when they travel to Coventry to face Wasps.


Leicester: Freddie Steward; Kobus van Wyk, Guy Porter, Dan Kelly, Hosea Saumaki; Freddie Burns, Jack van Poortvliet; James Whitcombe, Nic Dolly, Joe Heyes, Ollie Chessum, Cameron Henderson, Hanro Liebenberg (captain), Tommy Reffell, Gareth Evans
Replacements: Francois van Wyk, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Eli Snyman, George Martin; Jonny Law, Dan Lancaster, Juan Pablo Socino, Jacob Cusick, Harry Potter, Nemani Nadolo, Kini Murimurivalu
Scorers: tries - Steward (2), Dolly, Jack van Poortvliet, Nadolo; conversions - Burns (4), Lancaster

Dragons: Jordan Williams; Owen Jenkins, Jared Rosser, Jamie Roberts, Jordan Olowofela; Sam Davies (captain), Dan Babos; Josh Reynolds, Richard Hibbard, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Joe Maksymiw, Ben Fry, Taine Basham, Ollie Griffiths.
Replacements: James Benjamin, Aaron Jarvis, Mesake Doge, Ben Carter, Lennon Greggains, Lewis Jones, Evan Lloyd, Jack Dixon, Luke Yendle, Huw Taylor, Ioan Davies, Josh Lewis, Aneurin Owen.
Scorers: tries - Hibbard, S Davies, Jones, Olowofela; conversions - S Davies (4)