REPORT | Timisoara Saracens 17 Dragons 54

Elliot Dee grabbed a brace of tries as clinical Dragons opened the new European Challenge Cup season with a convincing win over Timisoara Saracens at the Dan Paltinisanu Stadium in Romania.

Martyn Bicknell | 13/10/2018

Wales international hooker Dee scored his double in the first half and further tries from Leon Brown and Daf Howells wrapped up a bonus point by the break.

The pressure continued in the second half and further scores from Lewis Evans, Ollie Griffiths and Rhodri Davies – plus a penalty try – powered the Dragons past the half century in autumn sunshine.

Head Coach Bernard Jackman had called for his team to play with tempo and pace and they adopted that approach from the start.

After the home side took an early lead courtesy of a penalty from full back Luke Samoa, Dragons clicked through the gears with real menace as they looked to take control of the Pool 1 opener. 

Dee was at the back of a powerful driving maul for the first try as the forwards flexed their muscles in ominous fashion against a big home pack.

The fast tempo was unrelenting as Jarryd Sage kicked in behind for midfield partner Tyler Morgan to chase while back row trio Ross Moriarty, Nic Cudd and Griffiths gave huge go-forward.

However, from nowhere, the home side took a surprise lead when spilled ball in midfield was gobbled up by Florin Popa and he found centre colleague Jack Umaga to coast over.

But the order was soon resumed as Moriarty punched a huge hole in the home defence with a trademark run and nobody was stopping Brown from five metres out.

A third try followed, Dee again skillfully controlled a driving maul to touch down, before the try of the match to wrap up the bonus.

There seemed little on for Morgan when he picked up the ball in a congested 22, but he brilliantly weaved his way out and over halfway before finding Howells to blast over in the corner.

A scrappy start to the second half was dominated by the whistle as both teams traded possession, but by now Dragons were totally in control of territory with the game almost exclusively in the home half.

Evans was the next man over the whitewash, after a siege of relentless pressure, before the home side hit back against the run of play whenSimionescu scored an intercept try from halfway.

It was only a minor respite, though, and with the penalty count soaring – and Valentin Poparlan yellow carded - a penalty try was awarded as Timisoara repeatedly infringed on their own line.

The all-action Griffiths smashed over for try seven before the half century was reached with the final play as Talbot-Davies broke, threw a sublime dummy and fed Davies for the simple score.


03m Samoa p 3-0

09m Dee t Lewis c 3-7

23m Umaga t Samoa c 10-7

33m Brown t Lewis c 10-14

38m Dee t 10-19

39m Howells t Lewis c 10-26

51m Evans t Lewis c 10-33

58m Simionescu t Samoa c 17-33

68m Penalty t 17-40

72m Griffiths t Lewis c 17-47

79m R. Davies t Lewis c 17-54

Dragons: Zane Kirchner (Talbot-Davies 56), Daf Howells, Tyler Morgan ((J. Williams 51), Jarryd Sage, Adam Warren, Josh Lewis, Tavis Knoyle (Davies 51); Brok Harris (Jarvis 51), Elliot Dee (Lawrence 68), Leon Brown (Fairbrother 51), Matthew Screech (Hill 62), Lewis Evans, Ollie Griffiths, Nic Cudd, Ross Moriarty (Taylor 51)

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Huw Taylor, Rhodri Davies, Jordan Williams, Will Talbot-Davies

Timisoara Saracens: Luke Samoa, Daniel Vladut Zaharia (Shennan 59(, Florin Popa, Jack Umaga (Simionescu 39), Catalin Fercu, Jody Rose, Gabriel Conache; Sione Taupaki (Halalilo 47), Eugen Capatina (Radoi 47), Mesake Doge (Maris 62), Michael Stewart, Ionut Muresan (Iftimiciuc 68), Vlad Neculau, Vasile Rus (Poparlan 51), Randall Morrison (Tatarus 59)

Replacements: Andrei Radoi, Sione Halalilo, Samuel Maris, Marius Iftimiciuc, George Tatarus, Valentin Poparlan, Stephen Shennan, Marius Simionescu

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