Boss Dean Ryan praised his Dragons for staying in the fight as a last gasp drop goal from Sam Davies saw them stun Scarlets 22-20 in the Guinness PRO14 at a soggy Rodney Parade.
Dragons had to battle back from a half-time deficit, as Rhodri Williams scored after tries from Gareth Davies and Ken Owens for Scarlets.
A tense and dramatic final ten minutes saw Leigh Halfpenny and Davies exchanged penalties before – with time up – Davies slotted a drop goal to spark wild celebrations on home soil.
“I’m really pleased for the lads,” said the Director of Dragons Rugby. “It was one of those games where there wasn’t a huge amount of rugby to be played and you just have to stay in it.
“I thought that the miss from Sam was going to come back to bite us, or even go back further with a missed opportunity down the left flank when we should have got in.
“Over the last three or four weeks the group has grown a lot from experiences, and we have played a lot on wet nights.
“You just have to stay in those games, wait and have a good set piece; once again I thought that the entry of the lads off the bench, every position, added impetus rather than detracting.
“That is a massive positive for us because it keeps us all the way until the end, and it mattered tonight.”
The final whistle was greeted with a deafening ovation and celebrations both on the field and on the terraces.
And Ryan was pleased for the players as they claimed a huge result in the opening festive fixture.
“You know that I am going to tell you that it’s about the long-term but at the same time if you’ve had some tough times here then you deserve some good times,” he said. “That’s all it is, if you put a shift in you deserve some good times.”
Derby day returns for the opening game of 2020 as we welcome Ospreys to Rodney Parade on Saturday, January 4 (kick-off 3pm). Click HERE to buy your tickets and join us for more top Guinness PRO14 action.
It was one of those games where there wasn’t a huge amount of rugby to be played and you just had to stay in it...