Error-riddled Leinster edge Dragons
URC REPORT: Dragons’ miserable record against the Irish provinces continued as they fell to another defeat at the hands of Leinster in an error-ridden 7-6 United Rugby Championship contest at Rodney Parade.
It was Leinster’s 12th-consecutive victory over Dragons and extended the home side’s winless streak against the Irish to 22 matches. They last beat an Irish province in September 2017 when they triumphed 21-8 over Connacht in Newport.
However, Dragons missed a golden opportunity to break their duck as Leinster played poorly, especially with a number of leading lights in their line-up.
Leinster number eight Max Deegan scored the only try of the game which Ross Byrne converted, with Sam Davies kicking two penalties for Dragons in reply.
The home side suffered two early blows. First scrum-half Lewis Jones was penalised for a deliberate offside to pick up a yellow card, with the visitors immediately capitalising when Deegan forced his way over.
Dragons’ woes continued when Josh Lewis followed Jones into the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on but both players were able to return without any further damage to the scoreboard as Leinster frittered chance after chance with inaccurate play.
The visitors completely dominated the opening period and it took Dragons over half an hour to enter the opposition 22 and although it came to nothing, the hosts could still take considerable heart from a brave defensive effort which saw them only trail 7-0 at the interval.
After the restart, Leinster lost wing Rory O’Loughlin to a head injury as the hosts continued to frustrate their opponents and the third quarter finished scoreless.
Despite never threatening to score in that period, Dragons made a better fist of it as they prevented Leinster from having so many gilt-edged opportunities.
After 63 minutes, the home side had their first scoring chance and they took it with Sam Davies knocking over a simple penalty.
Almost immediately Davies kicked a second and Leinster looked in danger of going down to a shock defeat as the introduction of Rhodri Williams at scrum-half seemed to galvanise Dragons.
Leinster thought they had put the game to bed with three minutes remaining, but Nick McCarthy’s try was chalked off for a knock-on in the build-up but they held on following a few final tense minutes.
Pens: Davies 2
Dragons: 15 Josh Lewis, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Jack Dixon, 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Sam Davies (captain), 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Ross Moriarty (captain), 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Ioan Davies.
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Rob Russell, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Conor O’Brien, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan (captain), 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Cian Healy, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Scott Penny.
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (Wales), Jason Bessant (Wales),
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)