Ringer leads the Dragons' charge

N-G Dragons 48 - Edinburgh 5
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The Independent Online

There was more tension after the rout than before or during it as the Newport-Gwent Dragons scooped a maximum five points from a very one-sided match.

This was their highest score in the Heineken Cup and the eight tries they scored easily outstripped the half-dozen they had mustered in their previous four matches this season. But everything then hung on the outcome of the other Pool Five match between Perpignan and Newcastle, and when it was known that the French side had gleaned a late bonus point themselves it rather took the gloss off a magnificent performance by the Welsh club.

The Dragons now travel to Newcastle next week knowing they have to pick up five points and rely on Edinburgh denying Perpignan a maximum haul.

There was nothing in this match for Edinburgh. There were eight or nine absentees, including top points-scorer Chris Paterson. Even so they were still able to field seven players with international experience, but they did not have anyone to match the Dragons' flanker Jamie Ringer.

Time and again he fearlessly put his body on the line and it was his devastating break from halfway which set up an ideal position from which to score the fourth try that earned a bonus point. That was scored by Luke Charteris, the 6ft 10in lock, who stole the subsequent Edinburgh line-out and flopped over the line on the half-hour.

When Ringer was not tormenting Edinburgh, the full-back Percy Montgomery was ripping into them with telling counter-attacks or deep, heart-breaking kicks. Not even the loss of the right wing Nathan Brew in the 19th minute could knock the Dragons out of their stride. Their collective focus was such that Brew's replacement Gareth Wyatt scored the third try within five minutes of coming on. He crossed for his second not long after the interval, by which time the Dragons were really smoking.

The initial sparks came through the club captain Jason Forster, who had handed the on-field leadership over to the No 8 Michael Owen shortly before the kick-off. This was to allow Forster to concentrate on his own game since it was his first appearance following an appendix operation which had forced him to miss the Dragons' last four matches.

The handover paid off handsomely, with Forster scoring two tries, one in each half, and putting in an immense amount of work throughout the game.

Hal Luscombe had opened the whole rout with the first try in the 11th minute; his second-half break led to Wyatt's second try and a brilliant 50 metre run by Charteris led to the scrum-half Gareth Baber squirming over for the seventh. The prop Adam Black then bullocked through a demoralised Scottish defence for the final score. If the fly-half Ceri Sweeney had landed more conversions then Newport would have clocked up a half-century.

Newport-Gwent Dragons: P Montgomery; N Brew (G Wyatt, 19), H Luscombe (S Winn, 70), S Tuipulotu, K Morgan; C Sweeney (C Warlow, 70), G Baber; A Black, S Jones (J Richards, 70), R Thomas (C Anthony, 60), I Gough (P Sidoli, 60), L Charteris, J Ringer (R Oakley, 67), M Owen (capt), J Forster.

Edinburgh: D Lee (C Joiner, 40); M Dey, H Southwell, B MacDougall, P Boston; B Laney (P Godman, 60), R Lawson; A Jacobsen (A Dickinson, 53), A Kelly, C Smith (Jacobsen, 67), F Pringle (A Kellock, 60), S Murray (capt), A Strokosch, D Callam, A Hogg (T Blackadder, 60).

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland)

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