Dragons beaten at home again as Leinster rack up bonus-point win
The Dragons fell to their third home defeat of the season as Leinster came away from Rodney Parade with a bonus-point victory.
The opening two home fixtures for Dragons saw them lose to Edinburgh and Cardiff and this latest defeat crowned a miserable weekend for the Welsh regions, with all four of them losing at home.
Aneurin Owen scored Dragons’ try with Cai Evans kicking a penalty and a conversion.
Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson, Ciaran Frawley, Charlie Ngatai and Scott Penny scored Leinster’s tries with Ross Byrne converting four.
It took Leinster eight minutes to open the scoring when skipper Sheehan finished off a driving line-out but Dragons soon responded with a penalty from Evans.
The opening period was largely a featureless one with constant penalties being awarded by Italian referee Gianluca Gnecchi, which prevented any flow to the game.
Poor handling in the miserable conditions also contributed to the lack of continuity in the play but the Dragons’ pack did make a decent fist of testing their opponents to the full.
However they were clearly on the wrong side of the referee in scrum engagements by conceding six penalties in that area in the first half-hour and that certainly cost them a lot of territory.
Dragons’ ill-discipline eventually told when Leinster scrum-half Ben Murphy showed some initiative to quickly tap a penalty and race into the opposition 22. From there Dragons conceded another penalty and a pre-planned move saw Clarkson walk through a paper-thin defence to score.
Byrne’s conversion gave his side a 14-3 interval lead and within a minute that advantage had been extended.
Rio Dyer lost possession in his own half for Leinster to counter-attack in style with Frawley finishing off a sweeping move.
However the visitors were dealt two blows in quick succession. First Tommy O’Brien was helped off with a leg injury before Owen chased a Rhodri Williams chip and won the race to touch down.
Dragons lost Jarrod Rosser and Aaron Wainwright to failed HIAs before a well-judged cross-field kick from Byrne created the bonus-point try for Ngatai.
The hosts’ woes continued when Taine Basham was sent off for making head contact with his arm before Matthew Screech was yellow-carded, with Scott Penny’s last-minute try harsh on Dragons.
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