Dragons XV edged out by Scarlets
Prop Josh Reynolds and centre Connor Edwards grabbed try doubles as Dragons XV were defeated 40-35 by Scarlets A in a breathless Celtic Cup encounter in the Rodney Parade sunshine.
A real end-to-end and entertaining clash was in the balance for much of the afternoon with Scarlets narrowly edging a thrill a minute seven-try first half in Newport.
Edwards grabbed his second of the game just after the break to briefly give Dragons XV the lead and secure a try bonus point.
A big surge from the visitors sent them clear in the second period before a late score from replacement David Richards threatened to spark an heroic late comeback.
There were plenty of changes to the side that lost out to Cardiff Blues A last time out, most notably the return of fly half Arwel Robson who was making his first appearance for the region since December.
However, it was Scarlets who opened the scoring after six minutes when centre Ioan Nicholas reacted first to a chip ahead by Jonathan Evans to dot down, with Ioan Hughes slotting the conversion.
The response was emphatic as Joe Goodchild and Carwyn Penny combined to go close, after Robson’s searching cross field kick, before the ball was worked up by the forwards and Edwards bulldozed over from close range.
The home side then went ahead when Robson sparked an attack from deep with an intercept before Tom Hoppe and Ben Roach took the ball on.
Scarlets scrambled quickly to get back, but there was no stopping big prop Reynolds who crashed over to repeat his try scoring feat against Munster A last month.
The game was being played at a frenetic pace and was flowing from one end to the other, with the men in red next to go over with scrum half Jonathan Evans burrowing over and Hughes slotting the extras.
Prop Reynolds grabbed his second of the game, a carbon copy of his earlier score when he bashed over after the home forwards had worn down visiting resistance.
Scarlets, though, were not to be denied a half-time lead as centre Nicholas scooped up a loose home pass in midfield and raced over unopposed before a driving maul was finished off by hooker Daf Hughes.
Edwards cut a superb attacking line for his second try of the afternoon, converted by Penny, minutes after the break.
Back came the Scarlets once more and they were awarded a penalty try, with Dragons a man down with Rhys Lawrence in the sin bin, just before the hour mark as they wrestled back the lead.
The game looked over when visiting replacement Tomi Lewis showed his raw pace to dart over in the corner.
However, the resilient Dragons were not finished with Richards racing over before the visitors were reduced to 14 men in a tense finale.
06m Nicholas t Hughes c 0-7
09m Edwards t Robson c 7-7
14m Reynolds t Robson c 14-7
21m Evans t Hughes c 14-14
28m Reynolds t Robson c 21-14
33m Nicholas t Hughes c 21-21
39m Hughes t 21-26
48m Edwards t Penny c 28-26
58m Penalty t 28-33
70m Lewis t Hughes c 28-40
79m Richards t Penny c 35-40
Dragons XV: Carwyn Penny, Rio Dyer, Tom Hoppe (Lewis 73), Connor Edwards, Joe Goodchild (McCarthy 71), Arwel Robson (Richards 40), Dan Babos (Buckland 59); Josh Reynolds (Yendle 59), Rhys Lawrence (Price 68), Chris Coleman (Cosgrove 59), Ed Scragg (Ayling 71), Max Williams, Ben Roach, Benji Hoppe (Griffiths 57), Ben Fry
Replacements: Will Griffiths, Jack Cosgrove, Luke Yendle, Max Ayling, Garin Price, Dafydd Buckland, David Richards, Ollie Lewis, Morgan Richards, James McCarthy
Scarlets A: Tom Rogers (Lewis 50), Tom Prydie, Ioan Nicholas, Osian Knott, Morgan Williams, Ioan Hughes, Jonathan Evans; Dylan Evans (Thomas 40), Dafydd Hughes, Alex Jeffries (Sebastian 50), Danny Drake, Morgan Jones, Lewys Millin, Jac Morgan, Joe Miles (Ellis-Jones 30)
Replacements: Shaun Evans, Steffan Thomas, Javan Sebastian, Chris Long, Lewis Ellis-Jones, Dafydd Land, Harri Doel, Tomi Lewis