Magnificent seven for Dragons in Europe


Enisei-STM 22 Dragons 49

Seven-try Dragons raced to the top of Pool 1 as a second half surge saw them power past Enisei-STM in bonus point fashion in the European Challenge Cup.

Jordan Williams and Arwel Robson grabbed first half tries at the Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, Russia before cutting loose in the second period.

Ben Fry and Will Talbot-Davies wrapped up the try bonus point before Ellis Shipp, Dafydd Howells and Tyler Morgan went over as Dragons ensured they took maximum points from the opening two pool games.

Dean Ryan made seven changes from the side that secured a bonus point win over Castres for the round two clash in southern Russia with Williams, Robson, Tavis Knoyle, Ellis Shipp, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech and Ben Fry all came into the starting line-up with back row James Benjamin named captain.

Williams made a very bright start and looked a real threat with ball in hand, as he danced his way out of tackles with a weaving run from deep.

The full back then scored the opening try as he read a kick in behind, picked up the loose ball and pressed the accelerator to run almost the entire length of the field to score. Robson converted for a 7-0 lead.

The Russians hit back almost immediately as they worked the ball wide left and wing Bjorn Basson found space to cut back inside and dart over to level the scores.

The home side were enjoying long spells of pressure and were rewarded and went ahead on 25 minutes.

Man-mountain Number Eight Jeremy Jordaan took a quick tap penalty at the back of a scrum and brushed off several tackles to score.

The touchline conversion was added by Gaisin. Dragons needed a response and Williams and Will Talbot-Davies looked to provide it as they combined to launch an attack from deep.

However, that was to be the end of Williams’ involvement, as he was taken off with an ankle injury and replaced by Jacob Botica.

Penalties were starting to mount against the Russian side as Scottish referee Grove-White warned the home captain.

A charged down clearing kick, by the busy Basham, sparked home alarm bells and Benjamin scooped up to spark one more attack before the break.

Enisei tested the referee’s patience once too often at the breakdown as prop Stanislav Selskii was yellow carded.

And Dragons were rewarded for patiene as they drove up close before Robson threw a dummy and stretched over to score. His conversion ensured the teams were locked at 14-14 at the interval.

Five minutes after the restart the visitors went ahead as Basham broke in midfield and found a brilliant offload to centre Griffiths away. The ball was worked inside and a delayed pass sent back row Fry over.

A penalty from Gaisin ate into lead before Dragons secured the try bonus as Robson split Enisei open with a sniping dart and neatly worked space for Talbot-Davies to race down the touchline.

A fumbled lineout fell to hooker Shipp who raced past tired bodies and over, with Robson adding another superb touchline conversion.

Basham then produced a moment of real power and aggression as he rattled into contact and over men before freeing his arms and releasing Howells to go over.

Taylor was yellow carded for a high tackle with 15 minutes remaining and wing Davit Meskhi went over out wide to give Enisei hope of a try bonus.

Centre Morgan flew over after a charge down fell into his path before Howells was inches from adding one more in the final minute before the ball ran dead.


09m Williams t Robson c 0-7

14m Basson t Gaisin c 7-7

25m Jordaan t Gaisin c 14-7

40m Robson t Robson c 14-14

45m Fry t Robson c 14-21

46m Gaisin p 17-21

50m Talbot-Davies t Robson c 17-28

59m Shipp t Robson c 17-35

63m Howells t Robson c 17-42

72m Meskhi t 22-42

77m Morgan t Robson c 22-49

Enisei-STM: Nikita Churashov, Davit Meskhi, Hendrik Marais, Dmitrii Gerasimov, Bjorn Basson, Ramil Gaisin, Alexey Shcherban; Nika Khatiashvili, Stanislav Selskii, Innokentiy Zykov, Uldis Saulite, Leighton Eksteen, Mikheil Gachechiladze, Andrey Temnov, Jeremy Jordaan

Replacements: Shamil Magomedov, Ewald Westhuizen, Azat Musin, James Brown, Aleksandr Budychenko, Konstantin Uzunov, Earll Douwrie, Maxim Gargalic

Dragons: Jordan Williams (Botica 36), Dafydd Howells, Tyler Morgan, Tom Griffiths (Edwards 72), Will Talbot-Davies, Arwel Robson, Tavis Knoyle (Baldwin 72); Aaron Jarvis (Reynolds 68), Ellis Shipp (Lawrence 79), Lloyd Fairbrother (Coleman 72), Matthew Screech, Max Williams (Davies 49), Ben Fry, James Benjamin (Taylor 49), Taine Basham

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Josh Reynolds, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Huw Taylor, Luke Baldwin, Jacob Botica, Connor Edwards

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Sco)

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