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Dragons end home hoodoo by beating 14-man Ospreys

18 Nov 2023 2 minute read
Cai Evans kicked two conversions and two penalties for the Dragons. Photo ©INPHO/Mike Jones

The Dragons recorded their first United Rugby Championship home win for more than a year after seeing off 14-man Ospreys 20-5 at Rodney Parade.

Hooker Bradley Roberts and wing Rio Dyer scored tries as the Dragons triumphed following Ospreys wing Mat Protheroe being sent off for a dangerous challenge after just 27 minutes.

Full-back Cai Evans kicked two conversions and two penalties, with Dragons moving clear after Protheroe’s early touchdown.

Dragons last tasted home league success in October 2022 when they defeated Zebre Parma and the Ospreys could have few complaints on a night when so many things went wrong for them.

The Ospreys took just four minutes to open their account and it was a superbly-executed play as scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams floated a kick behind Dragons’ defence, which allowed Protheroe a simple finish.

In contrast, Dragons took time to settle and their cause was not helped when Wales international lock Ben Carter limped off just 13 minutes into the contest.

Double blow

Evans opened the Dragons’ account with a penalty but Ospreys then suffered a quickfire double blow when Protheroe was sent off and skipper Justin Tipuric departed injured.

Referee Ben Whitehouse issued a straight red card following forceful head-on-head contact with Dragons fly-half Will Reed, then Tipuric departed to be replaced by Wales skipper Jac Morgan.

A second Evans penalty edged the Dragons ahead before they carved Ospreys’ defence open through a fine try finished by Roberts.

Flanker Ollie Griffiths displayed impressive vision and accuracy to free Roberts on an inside ball and he surged to the line, smashing through Ospreys wing Luke Morgan’s attempted challenge for a try that Evans converted and secured a 13-5 interval advantage.

The Ospreys temporarily went down to 13 players midway through the second half when Morgan received a yellow card after a tip-tackle on Dyer.

It further increased Ospreys’ degree of difficulty, although the Dragons entered the final quarter having not been able to increase their first-half points tally.

Dyer’s dazzling break should have led to a try but centre Aneurin Owen’s poor pass flew wide of wing Ewan Rosser.

Yet Evans’ delivery then put the Wales international clear for a clinching score 15 minutes from time and Dragons could celebrate a first victory of the URC campaign.

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