Magners League: Dragons bounce back to open account but lose livewire Tovey

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The Independent Online

Newport Gwent Dragons erased the misery of a thumping defeat by Connacht last week to secure their first Magners League victory of the season, beating Glasgow 23-11 at Rodney Parade yesterday.

First-half tries from Robin Sowden-Taylor and Aled Brew did the damage as the Dragons took control. But the initial burst came at a cost for the Welsh side as their inspirational fly-half Jason Tovey, who landed the opening penalty, was forced off after only eight minutes with a leg injury.

His opposite number Ruaridh Jackson levelled the match with his opening penalty, but from there on the Dragons were in charge. Tovey's replacement, Matthew Jones, kicked two penalties and converted both of the home tries.

Glasgow hardly looked like the team that had beaten Leinster the previous weekend, but their No 8 Richie Vernon galvanised them when he ran 25 metres towards the home line before giving big second- row Richie Gray, on his shoulder, an inside pass to cross.

The Warriors then upped their speed and applied enough genuine pressure for Jackson to land a 55-metre penalty, but that was as close as they got.

On Saturday, Leinster scored two tries in the final 10 minutes to snatch a 34-23 win over the Cardiff Blues in a lively see-sawing match at the RDS. Joe Schmidt's side went about earning the bonus point in a most roundabout way, with Fergus McFadden and Ian Madigan crossing in the closing stages after early efforts from Shane Jennings and Isa Nacewa had put them 14-0 ahead.

Cardiff rallied impressively in the third quarter, grabbing tries through Bradley Davies and Richie Rees, and a penalty from Dan Parks edged the Welsh region in front at 23-20. But Leinster fought back to claim the spoils.

Elsewhere, Ulster went second with a 22-15 win away at Aironi, Niall O'Connor and Robbie Diack starring for the visitors, while a Sean Lamont try seven minutes into injury time gave the Scarlets a 35-33 bonus-point victory at home to Connacht. The Irish, who were indebted to a try hat-trick from Fionn Carr and 18 points from the boot of Ian Keatley, must have felt hard done by after a committed performance in a tight match in which the scores were levelled on four occasions.