THE Dragons will head into the United Rugby Championship in fine spirits after fighting back to take the spoils at Wasps in their final friendly.

Dean Ryan’s men headed to Coventry on the back of a battling display in defeat to Leicester and this time their efforts earned a 31-24 success.

The Dragons trailed 21-0 at half-time at Welford Road eight days earlier and once again were playing catch-up in the Midlands, albeit this time the deficit was not as daunting.

A try by centre Aneurin Owen on the stroke of half-time cut the gap to 12-7 and then scores by Jonah Holmes (2) and loosehead Josh Reynolds earned the win after Wasps had been 24-12 up.

The performances will please director of rugby Ryan, who will now have plenty of welcome selection headaches for the URC against the Ospreys on Sunday, September 26 in Newport.

South Wales Argus: Will Rowlands on the chargeWill Rowlands on the charge

The Dragons were under pressure in the opening stages after a scrum penalty and a deliberate knock-on by scrum-half Dan Babos but held firm.

Wasps were giving Ryan's men a big defensive workout but they showed some of their own intent with ball in hand courtesy of a Taine Basham breakout only for the attack to break down.

It took good scrambling by Jordan Olowofela to deny the hosts after a grubber kick through by England scrum-half Dan Robson but the first score came after 18 minutes when the ball was spread wide for wing Josh Bassett.

Wasps blew a pair of good chances and then England back rower Brad Shields was sin-binned after 25 minutes for tackling Babos in the air.

However, Wasps extended their lead after 34 minutes when Bassett went over again after good work by the forwards and half-backs Robson and Jacob Umaga.

Umaga converted but the Dragons responded to get on the scoreboard before the break.

They went down the blindside and good handling by centre Jack Dixon, full-back Ioan Davies and Babos put Owen over for a try that Sam Davies converted.

South Wales Argus: TRY! Jonah Holmes celebrates with Aneurin OwenTRY! Jonah Holmes celebrates with Aneurin Owen

The Dragons hit the front soon after the restart when Holmes scored against his former club from strike play off lineout ball in the 22.

Davies converted to make it 14-12 but Wasps then laid siege to the visitors’ line and the pressure eventually paid off when Robson sniped over to make it 19-12 to the hosts.

He was followed over the line by his replacement Will Porter, who finished in the corner after Dan Frost’s clever offload.

At 24-14 the Dragons needed to respond, and did to get their noses in front.

First Owen put a grubber through for Holmes to score his second and then replacement loosehead Josh Reynolds raced over after scrum-half Lewis Jones drew the last man.

Davies’ pair of conversions put the visitors 28-24 and strong breakdown work allowed the fly-half to have the final say, putting over a penalty to seal a morale-boosting win to reward a strong performance.

Wasps scorers: tries - Bassett (2), Robson, Frost; conversions - Umaga (2)

Dragons: Ioan Davies; Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Jordan Olowofela; Sam Davies (captain), Dan Babos; Aki Seiuli, Ellis Shipp, Mesake Doge, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty.
Replacements: James Benjamin, Josh Reynolds, Chris Coleman, Joe Maksymiw, Huw Taylor, Ollie Griffiths, Ben Fry, Lewis Jones, Josh Lewis, Adam Warren, Evan Lloyd, Jordan Williams.
Scorers: tries - Owen, Holmes (2), Reynolds; conversions - S Davies (4); penalty - S Davies.