Dragons run riot in bonus-point trouncing of Zebre Parma
The Dragons’ revival continued in emphatic fashion at Rodney Parade with a five-try 47-7 trouncing of Zebre Parma.
A third victory of the campaign sees the Men of Gwent occupying the relative heady heights of mid-table in the United Rugby Championship, with more wins by the end of October than the two they managed all last season.
While their supporters will have expected no less against an Italian side who arrived in Newport without a win from their first six games, the manner of this success endorsed the feeling that better days lie ahead.
With former Cardiff fly-half Dai Flanagan currently in charge following the messy and as-yet-unresolved departure of Dean Ryan, the new, buoyant mood around the region is palpable.
The confidence derived from an impressive 32-25 victory against the Ospreys six days earlier was clear to see in the way the home side began the game.
They monopolised possession and revelled in slick passing and probing the wider channels.
The Dragons’ opening try was a beauty. Samoan prop Aki Seiuli started the move 10 metres inside his own half by stealing the ball at the breakdown and bursting forward.
Wales number eight Ross Moriarty was in support and his delayed pass to Rhodri Williams on the switch saw the scrum-half gallop home underneath the posts.
The score set the tone for the rest of the first half, which saw the Dragons build a 26-7 lead.
Zebre did hit back when second row Andrea Zambonin went over for a well-worked try in the 33rd minute, but other than that the hosts were firmly in the ascendancy.
A breakaway try by Dragons right wing David Richards, a product of Monmouth School, shortly before the Zambonin score put further daylight between the teams.
The rock-solid left boot of Sam Davies provided further ballast. The Dragons fly-half was successful with six out of six shots at goal which yielded 14 points of that interval total.
Nobody anticipated a second-half Zebre recovery and, when centre Steff Hughes claimed his side’s third try in the 47th minute off a majestic run and sidestep by Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright, there was not even a distant prospect of one materialising.
Further tries from full-back Angus O’Brien, Richards again and another three conversions from Davies for a nine-out-of-nine tally for attempts at goal, sealed a margin of victory that has been all too rare in this part of Wales in recent years.
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You need to update your graphics – Dragons now use a version of the old (pre-1974) Monmouthshire shield on the shirt. Missed this one, but the Ospreys win was a great fillip, – five tries against a good Ospreys side, although the visitors came too close for comfort at the end. Not the finished product but hopefully the start of a more* competitive side for the region.
(* As in able to win games against other Welsh regions from time to time!)