Scarlets end winless run but Jones pays the price

Dragons 9 Scarlets 14
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The Independent Online

The Wales fly-half Stephen Jones gave national coach Warren Gatland an injury worry just four weeks before they play England at Twickenham as the Scarlets claimed a vital Magners League win at Rodney Parade.

The British and Irish Lions player came off after 53 minutes in his side's victory yesterday complaining of soreness in his right shoulder following a heavy tackle in the first half.

The Newport Gwent Dragons went into the game having suffered three-straight losses, while the Scarlets had not won since beating Worcester in the LV= Cup in November. The home side led 9-8 at the interval as they sought a win to move them up to third in the table. But Scarlets, who are languishing one place off the bottom, had most of the territorial advantage during the first period, grabbing the only try of the match.

Full-back Rhys Priestland was put over for that touchdown after centre Jonathan Davies went past opposite number Matthew Watkins and put him in the clear. The Dragons relied on the boot of outside-half Shaun Connor, who grabbed an early drop goal before landing two penalties, Jones adding one of his own for the visitors.

Jones booted another penalty after the break but missed a 35-metre effort in front of the posts. The Dragons held the upper hand but could not score, with Connor missing a long-range penalty just after the hour. Priestland then knocked over a touchline penalty with five minutes left to give the Scarlets some breathing space.

Scorers: Newport-Gwent Dragons: Penalties Connor 2; Drop goal Connor. Scarlets: Try Priestlend; Penalties S Jones 2, Priestlend.

Newport-Gwent Dragons Tovey (M Thomas, 65); Brew, Riley, Watkins, Fussell; Connor, Lee (Williams, 40); Gustafson, Willis (S Jones, 56), Palmer, Sidoli, Charteris, MacDonald, L Evans (McKenzie, 62), G Thomas.

Scarlets Priestlend, L Williams, Lamont, J Davies, Fenby, S Jones (Evans, 53), G Davies, John, Owen, Manu, Reed, Day, McCusker, Lyons, Edwards (Pugh, 60).

Referee: N Owens (Wales).