Dragons were narrowly edged out 28-20 against Welsh rivals the Ospreys at a freezing cold Rodney Parade on Saturday evening.
Tries from Mat Protheroe, George North and Scott Otten - plus 13 points from the boot of fly half Stephen Myler - was enough for the Ospreys to make it back-to-back derby wins to start the new year.
While Dragons responded with tries from Jared Rosser and Jamie Roberts - alongside 10 points from the boot of Josh Lewis - it wasn’t enough as the away side took the spoils.
Ospreys looked the more dangerous with ball in hand early on as they tried spreading the play wide using full back Protheroe as a second receiver, with Sam Cross and Luke Morgan making early breaks for the away side, but good scramble defence from Dragons kept the visitors to only three points from the boot of Myler.
The home side struck straight back thanks to the boot of Lewis. It was the Dragons turn to break the defensive line as a fantastic back move set Rosser down the wing and after some fantastic lines from Roberts and Leon Brown, off scrum half Tavis Knoyle, Ospreys conceded the penalty allowing Lewis to even things up.
Dragons set off again following a good kick return from Ashton Hewitt and a little grubber through from Tompkins almost saw Rosser scoring in the corner, but the winger couldn’t quite gather the ball and Ospreys managed to clear their lines.
Both teams clearly came to play at Rodney Parade and following some heavy carries from the pack the home side went wide, with Ospreys winger Morgan forced to knock the ball on to prevent a Dragons try in the corner and duly sin binned for his indiscretion.
It did not take long for Dragons to make the extra man count as Rosser got his try, scoring with a fantastic finish in the corner after good hands from Knoyle and Tompkins down the blindside. Lewis added the extras to make it 10-3 after 25 minutes.
The back and forth derby continued as Ospreys responded with a try of their own from the dangerous Protheroe who scored in the corner after the away side kicked to touch from a penalty.
Both fly halves had their kicking boots on as Myler maintained the game’s 100% off the tee and added the extras to square things up after 35 minutes.
Ospreys took the lead just two minutes before half time with Myler kicking three more points from a penalty right in front of goal and that is how the first half finished, Ospreys heading into half time 13-10 up.
Dragons begun the second half fantastically building pressure in the Ospreys half with their driving maul causing problems for the Swansea-based region, but the home side could not turn pressure into points.
Dean Ryan's men remained on top with Brok Harris making a break for the line after a fantastic offload from Lewis but the prop and then replacement scrum half Rhodri Williams could not make it over the line and Ospreys managed to clear their lines following a forward pass.
Dragons finally managed to bring the scores even as Lewis made it three from three off the tee after kicking another penalty.
Against the run of play Ospreys scored a try from nowhere with North going over after a break from outside centre Owen Watkin. After Myler added the extras the score was 20-13 for the Ospreys with just fifteen minutes to go.
The Dragons did not let that keep them down for long and a try from Roberts, who scored in vintage fashion crashing over from close range, and the Lewis extras allowed Dragons to even things up in a quick-fire response.
However, it was Ospreys who once again edged ahead 23-20 with Myler adding another three points to his total after Dragons gave away another penalty in front of the uprights.
The away side sealed the win thanks to a late try from replacement hooker Otten, who scored from a driving maul.
The game ended in frenetic fashion with Dragons aiming for a losing bonus point and Ospreys aiming for their fourth try to seal theirs, but neither could manage to score and it ended at Rodney Parade with victory for the Ospreys.
09m Myler p 0-3
13m Lewis p 3-3
25m Rosser t Lewis c 10-3
34m Protheroe t Myler 10-10
38m Myler p 10-13
60m Lewis p 13-13
64m North t Myler c 13-20
68m Roberts t Lewis 20-20
73m Myler p 20-23
78m Otten t 20-28
Dragons: Owen Jenkins, Jared Rosser, Nick Tompkins, Jamie Roberts, Ashton Hewitt, Josh Lewis, Tavis Knoyle (R.Williams, 37) ; Brok Harris (Jarvis, 72), Richard Hibbard (Dee, 44), Leon Brown (Fairbrother, 57), Joe Davies (Carter, 50), Matthew Screech, Huw Taylor (Evans, 60), Harrison Keddie, Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Lewis Evans, Rhodri Williams, Arwel Robson, Jack Dixon.
Ospreys: Mat Protheroe, George North, Owen Watkin, Keiran Williams, Luke Morgan, Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb, Nicky Smith, Ifan Phillips, Ma’afu Fia, Adam Beard, Rhys Davies, Will Griffiths, Sam Cross, Morgan Morris.
Replacements: Scott Otten, Gareth Thomas, Tom Botha, Lloyd Ashley, Gareth Evans, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Joe Hawkins, Keelan Giles.
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)