Dragons defeated in Champions Cup
Dragons were overpowered by a strong Wasps side despite a battling effort under difficult circumstances at Rodney Parade.
Dragons were made to make a number of changes to the starting line-up for the Heineken Champions Cup fixture with Wasps at Rodney Parade, but managed to put on a gritty display against high-class opposition.
Wasps capitalised on a Jared Rosser yellow card in the first half with tries from hooker Tom Cruse and scrum half Dan Robson in that period, followed by further tries from Jack Willis and Thomas Young in the second half.
Dragons responded with a try from Jonah Holmes and three points from the boot of fly half Sam Davies.
Wasps leave Newport with maximum points while the Dragons, unluckily, leave with nothing in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
There wasn’t a lot between the sides in the first fifteen minutes, with majority of the play in the middle of the park.
A brilliant Wasps back move from their scrum saw them on the attack before Jared Rosser prevented the away side scoring in the corner illegally and was sin binned for not wrapping the arms.
Wasps took full advantage and scored the first points of the game at the twenty-minute mark through hooker Tom Cruse who managed to get on the outside of the rushing defence and raced into the corner, Gopperth missing the extras.
Dragons responded immediately at the restart with a penalty and three points from the boot of Sam Davies following a trip to the TMO, Dragons first Champions Cup points in 10 years.
A brilliant hit from Ben Carter was followed by a penalty to the home side and Davies missed the opportunity to kick Dragons into the lead.
Wasps scored their second try of the game through scrum half Dan Robson.
Josh Bassett, on the counter-attack, managed to sell the Dragons defenders with a brilliant dummy and then send Robson under the posts.
Dragons scrum came under pressure before half time but the home side managed to hold out and head into the break just nine points behind, with the Rosser yellow card being the defining factor.
Wasps received a yellow card early into the second half with fullback Lima Sopoaga sin binned for the same reason as Rosser – no arms tackle.
Dragons capitalised on playing against 14 and narrowed the gap in the scoreline with Jonah Holmes going over following a pass from Jamie Roberts, Davies missing the conversion.
Wasps responded and Gopperth had an opportunity the extend the lead with a shot to goal following a penalty and yellow card to Dragons tighthead Aaron Jarvis, luckily for Dragons he pulled his kick and the score remained 8-12.
A tense ten minutes ensued, and it ended with an opportunity for the home to side narrow the gap once again, but Davies' kick dropped just short from over 40 metres out.
With ten minutes to go Wasps managed to get the decisive score as England international Jack Willis powered his way over following a line out, again Gopperth missing the extras.
The bonus-point victory was then sealed for the away side as Willis back row partner Thomas Young scored under the posts after running a fantastic line off the scrum half.
Will Rowlands was sin-binned with three minutes to go but it didn’t effect the result for the away side, who claimed a good victory against a battling Dragons outfit at Rodney Parade.
20m Cruse t 0-5
23m Davies p 3-5
30m Robson t Gopperrth c 3-12
50m Holmes t 8-12
70m Willis t 8-17
73m Young t Gopperrth c 8-24
Dragons: Josh Lewis; Jared Rosser, Nick Tompkins (Dixon 69), Jamie Roberts, Jonah Holmes, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (Knoyle 75); Brok Harris (Reynolds 72), Richard Hibbard (Dee 59), Aaron Jarvis (Yendle 71), Ben Carter (J. Davies 65), Joe Maksymiw, Lewis Evans, Taine Basham, Ollie Griffiths (Greggains 42 (Carter 75))
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Josh Reynolds, Luke Yendle, Joe Davies, Lennon Greggains, Tavis Knoyle, Jack Dixon, Owen Jenkins
Wasps: Lima Sopoaga (Minozzi 71); Zach Kibirige, Paulo Odogwu, Jimmy Gopperth, Josh Bassett, Charlie Atkinson (Le Bourgeois 57), Dan Robson (Porter 74); Tom West (Zhvania 71), Tom Cruse (Oghre 61), Kieran Brookes, Joe Launchbury (Cardall 74), Will Rowlands, Jack Willis, Thomas Young, Alfie Barbeary (Morris 74)
Replacements: Gabriel Oghre, Zurabi Zhvania, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Tim Cardall, Ben Morris, Will Porter, Michael Le Bourgeois, Matteo Minozzi
Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)