Dyer double gives Dragons Welsh bragging rights
MATCH REPORT: Flying wing Rio Dyer scored two tries as Dragons won a thrilling Welsh derby with a 32-25 United Rugby Championship victory over Ospreys at Rodney Parade.
There will be few better games this season as the sides provided marvellous entertainment, despite both having to play with 13 men at certain stages.
Bradley Roberts and Aaron Wainwright were also on the Dragons’ try-scoring sheet, while there was also a penalty try award with JJ Hanrahan adding a penalty and a conversion.
George North, Scott Baldwin and Owen Watkin scored Ospreys’ tries with Jack Walsh adding two penalties and two conversions.
It took Ospreys just 37 seconds to open the scoring when Walsh sailed through a huge gap in the home defence before sending North away on a 30-metre run to the line.
Walsh converted from the touchline before adding a 40-metre penalty but his side suffered an injury blow when Wales international hooker Dewi Lake left the field with a shoulder injury.
Hanrahan put the Dragons on the scoreboard with a straightforward penalty before they scored an excellent try.
A well-timed pass from Sam Davies sent Steff Hughes tearing into the opposition’s 22 and when the ball was recycled, Wainwright was on hand to crash over.
Ospreys’ response was swift as replacement hooker Baldwin was able to finish off a series of driving line-outs for the visitors’ second try.
Ospreys looked in control but three minutes before the interval, the scenario changed dramatically.
First their No.8 Morgan Morris was yellow-carded for a deliberate offside and then – from the resulting line-out – a penalty try was awarded to Dragons with Adam Beard joining Morris in the sin-bin for collapsing the drive.
After the restart, Dragons missed a golden opportunity to take the lead for the first time when Davies split the 13-man defence to send Jack Dixon over but the centre was prevented from grounding.
However, it mattered little as two minutes later, Roberts sneaked over from close range for their third try before Morris was able to return.
Beard was still in the bin when Dragons expertly took advantage of their numerical dominance by spinning the ball wide for Dyer to evade the cover defence.
Beard’s return coincided with the introduction of Justin Tipuric and Nicky Smith as replacements in an attempt to reverse the Ospreys’ fortunes.
A penalty from Walsh kept them in contention but then the Dragons missed another superb opportunity to put the game to bed.
From inside the 22, Dyer raced away on a 70-metre run but the hosts could not convert a clear overlap with Wainwright dragged down just short.
With seven minutes remaining, Dragons lost replacements Sean Lonsdale and Elliot Dee to the sin-bin but immediately Dyer intercepted to race 55 metres and seal victory before a late try from Watkin earned Ospreys a bonus point.
Man of the Match
Dyer clearly illustrated why he has been called into the Wales squad with a superb performance. He finished brilliantly for Dragons’ bonus-point try then set off on an explosive 70-metre run before sealing victory with an interception try.
Play of the match
Having expertly finished off a flowing move for his side’s bonus-point try, Dyer then thrilled the crowd with a superb run. Receiving the ball in his own 22, he evaded Luke Morgan before racing 70 metres but somehow Dragons failed to capitalise, which could have easily proved costly.
For the Dragons
Tries: Wainwright, Roberts, Dyer 2, Penalty try
Cons: Hanrahan, penalty try does not require a conversion
Tries: North, Baldwin, Watkin
Cons: Walsh 2
Pens: Walsh 2
Yellow cards: Morgan Morris (Ospreys, 36 – cynical foul, offside), Adam Beard (Ospreys, 37 – cynical foul, illegally collapsing maul), Elliot Dee (Dragons, 73 – repeated infringements), Sean Lonsdale (Dragons, 73 – repeated infringements)
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Harrison Keddie, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Will Rowlands (captain), 4 Ben Carter, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Sean Lonsdale, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Max Clark.
Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 George North, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Michael Collins, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Jack Walsh, 9 Rhys Webb (captain), 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Justin Tipuric, 22 Reuben Morgan Williams, 23 Joe Hawkins.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Mike English (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)