Dragons' makeshift den proves no fortress as Wasps 'win ugly'

Newport-Gwent Dragons 16 Wasps 23

While the Dragons coach, Paul Turner was left fuming at what might have been, his opposite number, Tony Hanks, was simply happy at having seen his side "win ugly".

It had been a while since Wasps had won away in the Heineken Cup, but they came into the resumption of European action in Pool Six on the back of five successive wins in all competitions and looking at the back-to-back matches with the Dragons for the points they need to challenge reigning champions Toulouse for a quarter-final slot.

There are only two points between the two teams at present and there could be a last round shoot-out between them next month at Adams Park to see who takes top spot.

"You can't get too far ahead of yourselves. We didn't play well against the Dragons and our performance in general concerned me," Hanks admitted.

"We made poor decisions getting out of our 22 and made far too many unforced errors. I lost count of the number of times we dropped the ball.

"We just didn't seem to have the same spirit about us as in recent weeks, although give Dragons credit for putting us under so much pressure. They were pretty keen to take an English scalp and we were pretty keen to make sure it wasn't ours.

"Away wins are difficult to get in the Heineken Cup and I think we deserve a pat on the back for getting one against a tough Dragons side – and for winning ugly."

It was the second season in a row that the Dragons had been forced to switch a home match to a different venue because of the poor condition of their Rodney Parade pitch. Last year's frost saw them take Biarritz Olympique to Parc y Scarlets, while this cold snap meant a trip to Cardiff City Stadium for their fans.

At least an early call meant a bigger turn-out than last year's all-time tournament low attendance of 672 in Llanelli, with 3,342 fans making the switch this time. Those Dragons fans who made the trek were rewarded with a terrific opening in which their side raced into a 10 points lead in as many minutes. Jason Tovey knocked over a penalty in the first minute and released his skipper Ashley Smith for a try with a superb piece of handling.

The conversion was a formality and the Dragons were breathing the kind of fire that has singed so many teams this season. Few teams open up the Wasps defence as easily as the home side did in that early move, but it held firm thereafter.

As hard as the Welsh region knocked on the door, the Wasps defenders somehow thwarted them. Twice the referee went upstairs to the TMO, and on both occasions the Dragons missed out.

That infuriated Turner, particularly as replays of the first of Wasps' three tries showed there was a forward pass and knock-on involved before Ben Jacobs scored.

"That forward pass and knock-on for their first try, and the fact the referee went to the TMO as we were in the act of scoring, meant there was a 14-point swing in the scoring. We played some of our best rugby of the season, but we didn't get what we deserved," Turner said.

Jacobs' try was converted off the touchline by Dave Walder to level the scores midway through the first-half, but the boot of Tovey hoisted the Dragons into a 16-13 interval lead. That, though, was all the home side could muster.

Second half tries from wings David Lemi and Tom Varndell put Wasps in front and their defence did the rest.

Scorers: Newport-Gwent Dragons: Try A Smith; Conversion J Tovey; Penalties J Tovey 2; DG: J Tovey. Wasps: Tries B Jacobs, D Lemi, T Varndell; Conversion D Walder; Penalties D Walder.

Newport Gwent Dragons: P Leach; A Hughes, T Riley, A Smith (capt), A Brew; J Tovey (M Jones 45), W Evans; P Price (H Gustafson 38), L Burns, N Hall (B Castle 38), A Jones (S Morgan 49), R Sidoli, L Evans, G Thomas, T Faletau

Wasps: M van Gisbergen (R Haughton 56); T Varndell, B Jacobs (capt), S Kefu, D Lemi; D Walder, J Simpson; Z Taulafo (S Ruwers 64), J Ward, B Broster, S Shaw, J Cannon (M Veale 77), J Worsley, S Betsen (D Ward-Smith 52), A Powell

Referee: P Allan (Scotland)


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living