DRAGONS HOLD OFF LATE EDINBURGH FIGHTBACK
Dragons sealed back-to-back victories in the Guinness PRO14 after a fantastic first half display and holding off a late Edinburgh fightback to secure a 24-17 win in Cardiff.
Tries from Jonah Holmes and a brace from lock Matthew Screech - plus nine points from the boot of Sam Davies - was enough for Dragons to make it successive wins to end the regular season.
Edinburgh responded with tries from Mesu Kunavula, Charlie Shiel and Blair Kinghorn but it wasn’t enough despite their late fightback as their young side suffered defeat in the Welsh capital.
The victory wasn’t enough for Dragons to take fourth place from Glasgow, as the Scottish side held on to the superior points difference.
But the Dragons will head into European action against Northampton Saints next week full of confidence and in fine form with three wins in their last four matches.
A frantic start offered the Dragons an opportunity to take an early lead but Sam Davies shot for goal just drifted wide of the posts.
It wasn’t long before the home side did take the lead with Matthew Screech powering his way over after peeling away from a strong driving maul. Davies made no mistake off the tee this time and added the extras.
Dragons scored their second try just five minutes later and it was that man Screech again, scoring his third try in two games.
Davies made a fantastic break before offloading for Screech to run over the whitewash. The fly half then added the conversion to give Dragons a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Davies extended the lead with another three points off the tee before Edinburgh finally got on the scoreboard after 23 minutes.
Number Eight Mesu Kunavula who caused havoc all afternoon powered his way over before Jaco Van Der Walt missed the conversion.
But it was the home side who scored next with a brilliantly worked try seeing Jonah Holmes scoring in the corner after a fantastic Davies pass, who then added his third conversion of the game.
A brilliant first half display gave the home side a comfortable lead at half time at 24-5 - and it could have been more as Ashton Hewitt thought he secured his side’s bonus point before being brought back with his foot deemed to have edged into touch before going over.
It was a tale of two halves as it was Edinburgh who came out on top throughout the second and late tries from replacement scrum half Charile Shiel and fullback Blair Kinghorn brought the Scottish side within a score of the Dragons.
Shiel scored a brilliant solo effort taking a quick tap and running in from 40 metres to give Edinburgh hope, despite the missed conversion.
Their belief increased moments later they went over for their third try after some fantastic work from Kinghorn and Chris Dean sent the prior over the whitewash and, after he added the extras himself, it was all to play for with 10 minutes to go.
But the Dragons who have shown in recent weeks their defensive strength when their backs are against the wall, did it once more.
A brilliant late cover tackle by Jordan Williams on wing Eroni Sau stopped Edinburgh scoring what looked like a certain try in the corner.
Edinburgh had one more chance but Hewitt and Aneurin Owen, who tackled everything all afternoon, managed to tackle the Edinburgh winger into touch and seal another win over their Scottish counterparts.
6m Screech t Davies c 7-0
12m Screech t 12 Davies c 14-0
18m Davies p 17-0
22m Kunavula t 17-5
33m Holmes t Davies c 24-5
65m Shiel t 24-10
67m Kinghorn Kinghorn c 24-17
Dragons: Jordan Williams, Jonah Holmes, Aneurin Owen, Jack Dixon (Tompkins 66), Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Gonzalo Bertranou (R. Williams 55), Brok Harris (Bateman 59), Richard Hibbard (Dee 11), Lloyd Fairbrother (Brown 54), Joe Davies (Carter 49), Matthew Screech, Aaron Wainwright, Harrison Keddie (Fry 72), Ross Moriarty
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Greg Bateman, Leon Brown, Ben Carter, Ben Fry, Rhodri Williams, Nick Tompkins, Evan Lloyd
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Jack Blain, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Eroni Sau, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos (c), Murray McCallum, Sam Kitchen, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Marshall Sykes, Jamie Hodgson, Magnus Bradbury (c),Luke Crosbie, Mesu Kunavula.
Replacements: Patrick Harrison, Shaun Gunn, Angus Williams, Andries Ferreira, Connor Boyle, Charlie Shiel, Matt Currie, George Taylor.