Newport-Gwent Dragons 21 - 10 Edinburgh: Dragons are too hot for Edinburgh

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A TENTH defeat of the Pro12 season was the end result of another disappointing away day in Wales. Though a Grant Gilchrist try set up the possibility of a late reprieve, a poor first-half performance on the banks of the River Usk left Michael Bradley’s side swimming hopelessly against the tide.

Phil Godman gifted the visitors a second-minute lead courtesy of a penalty, but by the time Gilchrist pounced for his try, the Dragons were home and dry.

A late opportunity for Sep Visser should have been taken and might have made a difference, but it was not to be and the Dragons made sure the points stayed in Wales.

Edinburgh captain Roddy Grant said: “We are very disappointed. Our second half performance was better, but in the first half we were poor and made too many errors.

“We have to cut out those mistakes because we have to start winning games. The league is important to us and for my liking, we are far too lowly placed.

“Next week sees another difficult game in Galway, so we’ll have a look at this and hopefully put a few things right.”

With confidence an obvious problem for the Dragons, Edinburgh made the perfect start when Godman stepped up to give Edinburgh the best possible start as early as the third minute.

Jason Tovey then struck an upright with his first shot at goal before Italian referee Alan Falzone, who penalised the home side five times at the breakdown in as many minutes, brandished a yellow card to Dragons No.8 Gavin Thomas.

Tovey levelled matters with a penalty from 40 yards and when Thomas returned from the bin, the Dragons began to establish themselves. The referee continued to punish the sides for their misbehaviour and when Edinburgh overstepped the mark at the end of the first quarter, Tovey was once again on target.

A yellow card for Sean Cox for persistent infringement left Edinburgh somewhat bewildered and while the lock was cooling off in the sin-bin, the Dragons scored the opening try through scrum-half Joe Bedford.

Their second was a classic case of patience being rewarded. Bedford’s quick feed from a ruck deep in the visitors’ 22 left Edinburgh woefully short on numbers and full-back Martyn Thomas sent in Nathan Brew at the corner.

If the first half had been relatively fruitless for Edinburgh, the second was equally frustrating, although satisfying in terms of approach and endeavour. Sadly, despite a plentiful supply of ball, they were lacking in the final third and time and again saw opportunities go begging.

Godman’s replacement Gregor Hunter showed one or two glimpses, but it was all too predictable. It was a carbon copy of Scotland in Cardiff last weekend – great approach work but no end result.

A Tovey penalty edged the Dragons further ahead on the hour, but from a scrum, five yards from the Dragons’ line, Edinburgh set up camp on and Gilchrist picked up and duly burrowed his way over for Hunter to convert, with 16 minutes remaining.

The visitors might have had a second try when Tim Visser hacked clear after yet another Dragons attack had broken down. However, with the line at their mercy, Tom Brown and Sep Visser butchered the final act and that was that.

Scorers: Dragons: Tries: Bedford, Brew. Con:: Tovey. Pens: Tovey 3. Edinburgh: Try: Gilchrist. Con: Hunter. Pen: Godman.

Dragons: M Thomas (W Harries 70); A Hughes, A Tuilagi, A Smith (capt, L Robling 61), A Brew; J Tovey, J Bedford; N Williams (P Price 52), S Jones (S Parry 75), N Buck (D Way 60), J Groves, R Sidoli, L Evans (H Ellis 68), D Waters (T Brown 52), G Thomas.

Edinburgh: T Brown; S Visser, M Scott, J Houston (J Thompson 20), T Visser; P Godman (G Hunter 52), C Leck (A Black 68); K Traynor, A Walker (A Kelly 53), J Gilding (U Gamboa 53), G Gilchrist, S Cox, S McInally, R Grant (capt), N Talei.

Referee: A Falzone (Italy). Attendance: 5,130.