Worthington's Dragons Supporters' Player of the Season 16/17

Worthington's Dragons Supporters Player of the Season 2016/17

To register your vote for the Dragons' Player of the Season, sponsored by Worthington's, simply select the player from the shortlist below.  

The player shortlist has been selected by the Dragons' Coaching staff, and they would very much like for the Supporters to make the final decision on the player who it is felt has contributed the most this season.

Voting for the award closes 10:00am on Thursday 11th May.

 

Sorry, Voting is now closed for the Worthington's Dragons Supporters' Player of the Season 2016/17.

Dragons Supporters' Q&A with Stuart Davies & Kingsley Jones

Rodney Parade Ltd CEO Stuart Davies and Dragons Head Coach Kingsley Jones have agreed to hold a Supporters Q&A with all Dragons Supporters at Rodney Parade on Thursday 23rd March 2017.

The event itself will be held in the Business Suite, in the Bisley Stand at Rodney Parade, and is scheduled to commence at 19:00.  The bar will be open for refreshments for the attendees.  

If any Dragons' Supporters cannot make the event, but wish to ensure that a particular line of discussion is covered, please get in touch with the team at: contact.us@dragonssupportersclub.com and we'll endeavour to ensure your point is covered.

Meeting between DOSC and Wales Online

Following the publishing of a number of Dragons related articles in Wales Online, a significant number of members of both the DOSC and the wider Dragons Supporter Community requested that we contacted Media Wales in order to raise a number of points of clarity, and ask for a discussion on concerns over the generally perceived tone and content of reporting against the Dragons recently.  

Prior to engaging with Media Wales the DOSC discussed these concerns with a large number of stakeholders, both within the Dragons ‘family’ and external through the Joint Supporters Group.  These discussions were to ensure that the message relayed to Media Wales wasn't overly emotive, and therefore easily dismissed or perceived as paranoia from a parochial group of Dragons Supporters.  The consistent message across these discussions was an agreement that an element of the recent reporting against the Dragons was perceived as lacking wider context and overly negative in both tone and message.

With these discussions completed the DOSC formally wrote to Wales Online, and to their credit Media Wales immediately responded to the correspondence.  Their response was constructive, and highlighted the urgency of meeting face to face to discuss the perceived issues discussed.  Very generously both Paul Abbandonato (Head of Sport, Media Wales) and Paul Rowland (Editor in Chief, Media Wales) made their time available at very short notice to discuss our concerns in great detail.  They openly communicated that as a Media outlet they endeavour to speak as a voice of Supporters, and pride themselves on this, be it in relation to Football/Rugby at a International, Regional or Club level.  It is this intent that resulted in them placing such an importance on holding this meeting, and to their credit, researching in detail the accusations and requests for clarity made within our correspondence.

This meeting was therefore held in the Media Wales office, where a number of recently published Wales Online articles were reviewed in detail, and constructive dialogue was held regarding the concerns discussed on the general tone and content being overly negative and critical, with the perceived use of inflammatory and antagonistic language.  The DOSC requested that Media Wales considered the assertions made, especially when considered in wider context involved with the stories, such as results of other Pro12 teams in similar fixtures, and the financial/resource disparity between the Dragons and the other Pro12 teams.

A very productive dialogue then followed, where both Paul Abbandonato and Paul Rowland acknowledged that some headlines and parts of stories could be perceived by Dragons fans as unnecessarily negative, unhelpful, and could be viewed as overly critical when considering the context to the story in question. 

However, two Paul’s each felt that whilst other articles were also seen as critical of the Dragons, they actually also had lots of positive elements to them. They fully  understood why the focus from fans would be on the negative aspects, particularly the ongoing references to attendances, which seem to be something of a bugbear.  They pointed out that sport evokes passions and emotions and they have had to deal with these type of issues in the past with all of Wales’ mainstream rugby teams, as well as football.

To offer contrast they both offered a number of other stories written about the Dragons over the past few months that had a very positive message. Examples of those have been sent to the DOSC and they politely requested that these be considered in addition to the focus given to the negative aspects of stories.

The meeting drew to a close, with both parties coming to a good understanding on a suitable path forward, where they could work together, with a little compromise from each side, to improve the current situation and relationship.  The Media Wales team acknowledged some of the accusations made, and agreed to review the focus and tone of the some of the reporting, whilst the DOSC agreed to communicate and feedback to the Dragons community this intention, and to ensure the balance of positive reporting was also presented.

WalesOnline plan to write a big piece on ‘Where Newport Gwent Dragons/ Gwent rugby goes from here and how it can succeed.’ This is intended to be a constructive overview of what has happened to date, an analysis of the financial situation and what needs to take place next in order for one of Wales’ real rugby hot-beds to start thriving again. They plan to interview a number of people for this article, including the Dragons Official Supporters Club. We will welcome the input.

Both parties agreed that this meeting was not attempting to influence the reporting of Wales Online to a point of blind and unwavering positivity, just applying context and consistency to the tone of coverage.

Meeting between Dragons Management and DOSC Committee

Members of the Dragons Official Supporters’ Club Committee met with Stuart Davies and Katie Vizard of Dragons Rugby on Monday 6th March 2017 to discuss the growing concerns of supporters of the region.

Ahead of the meeting, the DOSC committee sent Stuart Davies an email with a collation of questions for his attention that Dragons fans had put to the DOSC over the previous week. The DOSC committee also shared questions and suggestions relating to this Blues fixture which fans had raised at the, public Q&A organised by the DOSC held on February 22nd, these included:-  

  • Will there be transport available for any disabled supporters who wish to attend?
  • Following transport, one of the largest concerns is access to food and drink.  There must be sufficient food and drink available at the chosen venue for the predicted crowd size. 
  • Could a beer/food festival be organised to coincide with the event? With the opportunity for the region to recoup some financial losses by charging vendors to sell at the game?
  • Who will have ownership of commercial operations on the day?  Will it be the venue chosen or will NGD be hiring the ground and therefore have ownership of which food and drink facilities are available?
  • A 'fanzone' of aforementioned vendors at the venue would help create the atmosphere and Rugby festival feel. Could current DOSC partners such as Mission Burrito, Oddball, Tiny Rebels etc be approached to support 'event', and foster the 'Dragons family' culture.
  • Will there be sufficient staffing to ensure that fans are served food/drink in a timely manner? Will this be affected by Newport County’s fixture at Rodney Parade?
  • With a restricted capacity of tickets available for this fixture transparency of ticket allocation and pricing.  Following hospitality/corporate, season ticket holders, non-season ticket members – where will the tickets go in order of priority? Can they be offered to people who have purchased tickets from the region for another game this season?  Can they be offered for sale to community rugby clubs within Gwent? Where do the Blues come in this?  Will the away ticket allocation be reduced in percentage as per the reduction in capacity?
  • Can free pint/drink voucher be offered on top of existing voucher offer – for inconvenience.
  • Could any left over 2 for 1 vouchers be honoured for this fixture, as they have already been costed for.
  • Will there be live music at the venue akin to the experience of the WFAC Family Zone?
  • If the fixture is a success – will taking games around the region become a regular fixture in the future?

Stuart Davies acknowledged receipt of the questions, thanked fans for their input and confirmed that a public Q & A will be held with fans, at which he will respond to such questions directly, when further information can be disclosed about future investment in the region.

Following this, the two areas that were discussed predominantly during the meeting were the ongoing talks with potential investors and the relocation of the Blues match to a ground within the region.

With regards to the former, Stuart Davies reiterated that the seeking of new investment for the region had been a long and complex process, with the landscape changing along the way, but that he was confident that the region would be in a position to announce further details in the near future. He was, however, able to reiterate and confirm that the Newport Gwent Dragons would be remaining in Gwent at their home at Rodney Parade and that the region would not be moving to North Wales.

The second item that was discussed was the relocation of the Blues fixture to a ground within the region. The DOSC asked, on behalf of a number of our supporters who has raised it, whether the Principality Stadium had been considered as a venue for hosting the Blues derby. Stuart responded by stating that moving the game to the Principality Stadium would, in effect, be giving the Blues home advantage in one of our biggest games of the season. It was also a consideration that it would come quick on the heels of the Judgement Day fixtures and a desire to keep the fixture within Gwent. The venue has yet to be finalised but an announcement is due shortly. Again, there are many complex issues to consider. Stuart has the feedback from our supporter engagement and is taking those issues into account.

In summary, a positive and worthwhile meeting, even if the finer detail we all wish to know could not be disclosed for obvious and understandable reasons. The general feeling was that of a positive future for the region.

DOSC Committee

In the Dragons' Eye - Opposition Preview - Glasgow Warriors

Opposition view:

Glasgow Warriors

Quick facts:

League position: 6th

European position: 2nd

Stadium: Scotstoun

Capacity: 6,600 (can be extended to 10,000)

League form:

Glasgow started the season with an emphatic 41-5 away victory at reigning champions Connacht. Since then, results have been mixed leaving the club in 6th position having already lost four matches at home this season. The Warriors lost 25-16 away at the Ospreys in their last game, leaving them without a league win since January 7th.

European form:

Glasgow face a daunting trip to the Allianz Park to take on Saracens in the Champions Cup quarter-finals. That “reward” comes after navigating tricky opposition in Munster, Leicester and Racing 92. The Scottish side were particularly impressive in two emphatic victories against the Tigers, including a thumping 43-0 away victory at Welford Road.

How to get to the stadium:

By car:

There is no public parking available at the stadium on match-day so cars are discouraged by our hosts.

By rail:

The closest railway stations, Scotstounhill and Jordanhill, are around 15-20 minutes’ walk away from the stadium.

From the city centre:

Taxis to the stadium are quite cheap if you are travelling in a group, but buses can also be taken to the stadium. The stadium is on the route of the First Bus Number X4, and they run every 10 minutes.

Best place to eat and drink (inside the stadium):

For drink, there are various booths dotted around the stadium as-well as the clubhouse. However, the clubhouse has limited capacity so do arrive early to ensure you can get in.

There are many food outlets within the ground.  Martha’s Kitchen, which does a wide selection of food at a good price, comes highly recommended. Apparently, it is mandatory at Scottish league games to sell Scotch Pies so why not indulge yourself – when in Rome and all that.

Best place to eat and drink (outside the ground):

The West End is recommended for food but you will need to catch the metro to Hillhead or Kelvinhall to sample its delights. The main hub for food is Byres Road with Balbir’s the preferred choice of Glasgow supporters.

There are two pubs near to the ground - Granny Gibbs on Dumbarton Road (5-minutes’ walk from the ground) and the Three Craws on Crow Road (15-minutes’ walk and adjacent to Jordanhill station). So plenty of choices at which to celebrate a good win.

The city-centre also has a wide array of options and is about 20-minutes from the stadium.

What the Glasgow fans think:

Their best players:

Glasgow have 16 players in Scotland’s 6 nations’ squad and 2 injuries to key players. The most notable of those absentees are Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg. Despite this, they are still a dangerous side, with Nick Grigg, Tim Swinson and Ryan Wilson all highly thought of by the Warriors faithful.

Dragons best players:

Glasgow fans have spoken unanimously on the 3 players they are looking out for. They are Lewis Evans, Adam Hughes and Ashton Hewitt.

Chances:

The Glasgow fans I have spoken with seem very cagey about this encounter.  The general consensus though is they will sneak it within 5 points.

Prediction:

It is no secret that our recent record against Glasgow is poor. However, I thought we played very well against them at Rodney Parade and were unlucky to get nothing for our efforts.

We need to respond well after last week’s defeat to Leinster and Glasgow might be the right team at the right time. We need to get a win and Glasgow are in a bit of a rut at the moment. That said, they still have a wealth of talent at their disposal who will want to turn a corner and fight to maintain their places in the squad when the 6 nations is over.

I will go for a sneaky away victory and a chance to leapfrog Edinburgh in the table.

Prediction:

Glasgow 18 – 21 Dragons

Ryan Robinson – Dragons Community Ambassador

#SUFTMOG

Meeting between Dragons Management and DOSC Committee

Following the region's disappointing performance in last weekend's league fixture against Leinster, the DOSC requested a meeting with Stuart Davies and the Dragons management team.

This request has been accepted and the meeting is due to take place on the evening of Monday 6th March.

We plan to ask a number of questions that Dragons fans want answers to, these include:-

- The reason for the decline in performances on the field and what the business plans to do to improve them.

- The reasons for inconsistent team selections from week to week and selection policy.

- Explanations over recent contract renewal decisions.

- Further information regarding the Blues fixture.

- An update on the investment discussions, particularly in light of today's Wales Online article which suggests that the region is to be taken over by the WRU.

- Plans for next season.

If you would like any question asked which is not covered above, please feel free to email us at contact.us@dragonssupportersclub.com. We will update supporters on the content of our discussion after the meeting.

Please be aware that the region are also keen to hold a public Q & A with fans, and we will publish details about this when we have them.

Yours sincerely

Dragons Official Supporters' Club Committee

Supporters Q&A - Blues Fixture

In order to ensure the needs and expectations of the Dragons Supporters are taken into account for the upcoming end of season fixture with the Cardiff Blues, which is scheduled to be moved elsewhere across the Region, the DOSC will be holding an open meeting with Dragons Supporters. 

This meeting will take place downstairs (The Cwtch) in Tiny Rebels, Newport at 8 pm on Weds 22nd Feb.  We'd encourage attendance for us to be able to discuss the situation itself, and ensure you have the opportunity to provide the DOSC with your thoughts and ideas for how best to deliver this Fixture from a Supporters perspective. 

These discussions will then form a key part of the future meetings the DODC will be holding with the Dragons in the coming weeks, to ensure the needs of the Supporters are taken into consideration, and influence the planning process accordingly. 

The situation, and the circumstances that has led to movement of the fixture, is obviously a concern for a number of Supporters, however with the decision now made,  it is critical that we work together with the Region to make this event as successful as possible, and make the event itself as memorable and enjoyable for all of those involved.

#StandUpForTheMenOfGwent

The DOSC get around....Gwent club rugby

Pontypool RFC Fans pack CAP in their 2nd round cup match on Saturday.

Pontypool RFC Fans pack CAP in their 2nd round cup match on Saturday.

With the Dragons away at Connacht and kicking off at 7.30pm, the DOSC spread its wings throughout the grounds of Gwent on Saturday (and Sunday) to sample some of the rugby that the region's finest had to offer, and we weren't disappointed! We witnessed a derby, a very well promoted bowl game and a David vs Golliath cup match which ended with a victory that will go down as one of the victor's finest. Oh yes, club rugby is certainly alive and well and breathing fire in the Dragons' region! 

Below we provide a synopsis of the games we attended. Congratulations to all the victors and thank you for having us! 

Chepstow Grind Out Win Over Gritty Monmouth

The first game the DOSC watched was the East Gwent derby at the Memorial Ground where high flyers Chepstow RFC entertained their close rivals Monmouth RFC.

Chepstow came into the game sitting 2nd in the table, having only lost twice all season, and were, in this reporters eyes, favourites to take the spoils over mid table Monmouth. The hosts certainly started the brighter of the two, spending the first ten minutes camped firmly in the opposition's 22m, but they failed to turn that pressure into points, turning the ball over and allowing Monmouth's backline, whose outside centre looked particularly dangerous, to run the ball up the other end of the field.

The first 10 minutes set the tone for the game, with Chepstow looking the more physical in the contact area and strong at the set piece, and Monmouth looking the pacier and more clinical out wide. It was the latter who drew first blood when a poor clearance kick lead to a string of neat passes to put their winger over in the corner.

Chepstow responded through their lineout, and a well worked pushover score saw them claw the game back to 7-5, and a further kicked penalty put them into an 8-7 lead.

Monmouth, starved of possession for long periods, still looked dangerous on the counter attack, and they were unlucky not to be ahead shortly before the break when another incisive run from their backline was only thwarted by an excellent scramble defence from Chepstow, which meant they maintained their lead at half time.

The second half started much like the first, again Chepstow going to their forward pack, setting up a series of mauls, including one from open play which was straight out of Italy's 6n playbook, and powering over from short range to make it 13-7.

To their credit, Monmouth did not give up, but in the last 20 minutes Chepstow's bench really made an impact, with their big ball carrying replacement centre looking particularly menacing. A line break from Chepstow's answer to Mathieu Basteraud resulted in good phase play in the 22 before going over to score out wide. 20-7.

The scores remained the same despite Chepstow pushing hard for the 4 try bonus point, while Monmouth also had a couple of chances to claw a try back which would have seen them claim a losing bonus point. The result sees Chepstow stay in the hunt for promotion to Division 2 East next season.

FT: Chepstow 20 - 7 Monmouth

The Cheesemen Drop Taff's Down the Well

Regional Touch: Caerphilly with the Region's logo on their strip

Regional Touch: Caerphilly with the Region's logo on their strip

While Chepstow and Monmouth were getting stuck into each other in the East of the region, Caerphilly RFC were in National Bowl action in the West and welcomed their friends from down the A468, Taffs Well RFC, to the Constructaquote Stadium. Caerphilly, currently plying their trade in Division 3 East A, are in fine league form this year and find themselves a few points off the leaders with a number of games in hand due to their bowl exploits. 

This fixture had certainly benefited from some excellent promotion and a crowd of around 750 witnessed a clinical display from the green army as they raced into a 24-0 half time lead.

The Cheesemen started the second half in the same vein, adding another two scores to extend their lead to 38 - 0. Taffs Well, to their credit, did not give up and claimed a consolation score around the hour mark and a second try close to the end with the final score being 41-14 to Caerphilly.

This was a fine display against a very good Taffs Well team who themselves made it to the Principality Stadium in the same competition last year. We would like to pass on our congratulations to Caerphilly and wish them well as they fly the flag for the Dragons' region for the remainder of the competition.

FT: Caerphilly 41 - 14 Taffs Well

While there is only one Gwent representative in the Bowl, the Plate is graced with two Gwent entrants, as Penallta RFC and Abercarn RFC both came through their ties yesterday. Penallta narrowly beat near neighbours Nelson and Abercarn winning what sounded like a cracker at Pwllheli. Best of luck to both sides and here's hoping you make it an all Gwent affair in the final!

Pooler Show Where They Belong

BJ Tweet.jpg

Cardiff vs Pontypool, a mouth watering fixture regardless of context, was always going to be the pick of the club fixtures on Saturday - and it didn't disappoint, with Pontypool, currently in the Championship, claiming a famous victory over the Welsh Premiership club and, quite frankly, making a mockery of the WRU's decision to ring fence that league.

Any burglars would have a field day in Pontypool on Saturday night as what seemed like half the town had packed CAP to witness their side's win. Allegations of skulduggery were awash as Pooler officials were made to wait outside the ground until after 5pm, and fans were left queuing outside the ground due to a lack of stewarding, but it mattered not in the end as the team rose to the challenge of a Cardiff side that contained a number of full time professionals to win 43-32. 

The DOSC members who did attend the game are lifelong Pooler fans and so, unsurprisingly, are yet to provide a report, but you can read a proper write up of the game on the Argus website here.

All that is left for us to say is a massive congratulations to Ben Jeffreys, Leighton Jones and all associated with the club. We wish you the very best of luck in the next round. (All Gwent affair anyone?)

Young Men of Gwent Downed By Baby Scarlets

The DOSC made their way up to Ystrad Mynach on Sunday afternoon to observe the Gwent production line as the Dragons North U16s took on their Scarlets East counterparts.

The Scarlets, coached by current player and former Wales U20 captain Steffan Hughes, started the brighter of the two teams and went into a 10-0 lead following some excellent back play and handling.

The Dragons rallied to bring the score back to 10-10, but while they were always physically competitive, a trait that one would expect from a North Gwent side, their handling let them down with passes being made either behind the runner, making him check his run, or too high or low to catch. The young Dragons worked themselves into good positions on a number of occasions but failed to turn pressure into points.

That being said, they never gave up and managed to score 4 tries and 22 points, it is just that the Scarlets managed 44 of their own to take the spoils back west with them.  

 

 

In the Dragons' Eye - Opposition Preview - Connacht

connacht.jpg

Opposition view:

Connacht

Quick facts:

League position: 8th

European position: 3rd

Stadium: The Sportsground

Capacity: 7,800

League form:

This season hasn’t been a success for the reigning pro12 champions, with only wins 5 from 10 matches leaving them 8th in the table. The men from Galway have already lost more games this season than they did for the whole of last season's campaign. However, the Irish province did beat the Blues 19 – 13 at the weekend, and as most teams know, the Sportsground is one tough place to win.

European form:

Connacht narrowly missed out on qualification to the knockout-stages after defeat to Toulouse in the final pool game. That defeat left the two teams on the same points; with the French side going through due to a better head-to-head record. Connacht did the double over Zebre and also recorded an impressive win over Wasps at home during the pool phase.

How to get to the stadium:

From the train station / city centre:

Galway Ceannt railway station is located in the city centre, around 2km from the Sportsground. You can walk from the station to the ground, although buses do run to the stadium from the city centre as well.

By Car:

Getting to the Sportsground by car isn't convenient due to a lack of parking, but there are a few public car parks in the city centre that are within walking distance (approximately 15 minutes).

Best place to eat and drink (inside the stadium):

The Official Connacht Supporters Club have their own bar behind the Clan Terrace. It is called the Clan Bar and there are usually player interviews conducted there after the game. I have been told that food options are limited in and around the ground, so fans are advised to eat before going in.

Best place to eat and drink (outside the stadium):

Murty Rabbitt’s on Forster St is the Connacht Clan’s official home. There is a good food menu here, with various match day specials representing good value for money. If you want to chat to our hosts then this would be my recommendation.

Other pubs near the stadium are McSwiggans, The Skeff and O’Connells.

For food, McDonagh’s and Quay Street Kitchen are the best options and can be found on Shop Street.

What the Connacht fans think:

Dragons danger men:

The fans I have spoken with have all expressed their delight that Ashton Hewitt has been called up to the Wales squad. After scoring two tries in the victory at Rodney Parade, as well as many other scintillating performances, their feelings are certainly justified.

Angus O’Brien has been the other player that many Connacht fans have mentioned as one that could change the game.

Connacht danger men:

4 Connacht players have been called up to the Irish 6 nations squad. Despite this, their fans have upmost confidence in the players left to fill the void. The three I have been told to watch out for are Jake Heenan, Kieron Marmion and John Cooney.

From our game at Rodney Parade, I would also add Niyi Adelokun and Bundee Aki to the list of potential game changers.

In victory at the Blues last week, Tiernan O’Halloran was awarded the man of the match award after his 79th minute drop goal secured victory for Connacht. The Dragons will have to limit the full back's time and space in their own 22.

Chances:

The Connacht fans I have spoken with have been very cagey about their chances. I have been told that before the start of the season, they would have expected a 5-pointer. Unfortunately, their season hasn’t been great so the general consensus is a narrow Connacht win.

Verdict:

I’ve said before that trips to Ireland are the toughest tests of the season. However, Connacht are in a bit of a rut and we need to capitalise. In victory at Rodney Parade, we got off the mark early and then held off a strong fightback for victory. If we can start early again then doubts immediately creep into the crowd.

From looking at Connacht’s results, it is apparent that points are at a premium for the Irish side. With the exception of the Italian sides, they have scored the fewest points in the league. If the Men of Gwent are clinical with their finishing, then they have a great chance of winning.

Both sides are missing a similar number of players to injury and 6 nations call ups, so this game could be very close.

Prediction:

Connacht 12 – 17 Dragons

Ryan Robinson – Dragons Community Ambassador

(Special mention to Kieran from the Connacht Clan for his help)

#SUFTMOG

Munster 45 - 17 Dragons

A Frustrating Evening in Cork

The Dragons opened the first of their three consecutive games against Irish opposition this month with a frustrating first half against Munster, seeing us 24-3 down within just twenty-seven minutes.  

Despite early competition and both outside-half’s trading penalties, Munster took an early lead with a try scored by attacking fullback Conway, converted by Munster Captain Blayendaal.  This was then compounded by an intercept given by the Dragons in the Munster twenty-two, kicked on by Blayendaal and collected by Conway for his second.  Frustrating, especially as the intercept try was conceded only a few phases after the Dragons were awarded a penalty advantage in the Munster 22.  Weak defense saw us concede our third and we were 24-3 down with 13 minutes to turn things around before half time.

A period of sustained pressure in the opposition twenty two saw the Dragons build momentum despite one maul being deemed held up, a quick penalty being brought back by referee Adamson and we eventually scored a driving maul from the line out with Rhys Buckley scoring the try.  However, the Dragons quickly negated this score and any good work done by Ollie Griffthis in defense with a try saving tackle within five meters of our line.  The following phase saw Carl Meyer yellow carded for an intentional knock on.  The ref also saw fit to give a penalty try which awarded Muster the bonus point on the stroke of half time, 31-10 to the good.

What was interesting was the way in which the former Scotland 7’s player, Mike Adamson, refereeing his third pro 12 Game, was twice directed by the television match official.  Ollie Griffith was penalised in the first half, after a Munster forward had jumped in to the tackle, despite the ref initially awarding a scrum and secondly, the television match official had a large hand in recommending the penalty try on the turn of half time, in addition to Carl Meyer’s yellow card.  However, it is pleasing to see another example of a former elite player taking up the whistle.

Not to take away from the Dragon’s efforts, Munster could smell blood and continued to press in the opening ten minutes of the second half whilst the Dragons were down to 14 men.  Munster, who beat the Ospreys with same back line, held the bulk of possession and started to comfortably dictate the pace of the game, and always looked likely to score again in the second half.

Two players of notable mention for the Dragons were backrow duo Cudd and Griffiths, who were strong in defense.  Alongside the ever consistent Cudd, Griffiths seems to be both capable of the ‘nuts and bolts’ at the coal face and covered the pitch with an engine and physicality that has seen him talked about as a young man with a big future in the game.

With Munster down to 14 men in the second half, the Dragons repeated their catch and drive from the first half with Elliot Dee scoring in the 59th minute, converted by Dorian Jones, 31-17. Kingsley Jones changed both halfbacks with 20 minutes to go in order to inject some pace into the game but it was all defense as the Dragons repelled numerous attacks on their line, following a clean break in midfield by Rory Scannell.

The fifth try was scored by 14 men Munster when prop Dave Kilcoyne used his size when fed off quick fourth phase from the line out to be driven over the line, converted by Blayendall.  The Dragons never said die and continued to make chances in the last fifteen minutes, but chasing the game saw unforced errors which continue to frustrate. The game was put to bed by Ronan O’Mahony when he took a poor exit kick to slice through the heart of the Dragons backline.  Unfortunately 45-17 is indicative of the strength in depth that has seen Munster climb to the top of the Pro 12 despite numerous international call-ups and left a spirited Dragons side found wanting.  

Munster: A Conway (D Goggin), D Sweetnam (F Saili), J Taute (A Griesel), R Scannell, R O'Mahony, T Bleyendaal (captain), D Williams, D Kilcoyne (P McCabe), R Marshall (K O'Byrne), S Archer (B Scott), J Kleyn (C Oliver), D Foley (D O'Shea), D O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue.

Dragons: C Meyer, A Hughes, T Morgan, A Warren (S Beard), P Howard, D Jones (A O'Brien), T Knoyle (S Pretorius), S Hobbs (T Davies), R Buckley (E Dee), B Harris (L Fairbrother), M Screech (N Crosswell), R Landman, O Griffiths, N Cudd (H Keddie), L Evans (captain).