A fantastic performance and result that was needed at Rodney Parade, not just for the Dragons' loyal support, but for the Coaching and Playing Staff at the Dragons too. The much discussed change in playing style for the 2016/17 season had been showing glimmers of what the team were capably of with ball in hand (highlight reel of tries this season will testify), but had not been producing the results in the 'W' column so far this season.
The previous week's trip to the Scarlets had once again provided an insight as to what the Dragons players (not only backline) were capable of, but had just fallen short once again. This performance however demonstrated all of the previous positives, but was heart-warming to see the team demonstrate how to manage the game, and see out the victory.
With the Brive side noticeably tireing towards the last quarter, rather than allow nerves to take hold, and attempt to arm-wrestle the French side through the final stages, the Dragons identified the weary legs of the opposition, and continued to use the full width of the Rodney Parade pitch, attacking the 13 channel and dragging the French forwards around the park. This intelligent game management not only added a gloss to the final score, but provided all involved with a uplifting finish to a tight, and nervy game through the second half.
The game had started well, with the Dragons dominating the opening exchanges, and racing to a 13-0 lead, and blowing the opposition away with an intense and high paced opening. As the game progressed frustration crept in, as the opposition worked their way back into the contest slowly through a strong forward pack, and a number of unforced errors from the Dragons. With the fear of history repeating itself this season, anxiety slowly grew around the Stadium, with Brive taking a 13-16 lead, but as the game entered the final stages, the aforementioned ambition and game management of the Dragons eventually not only saw them home, but sealed a bonus point victory in the process.
Dragons: Carl Meyer, Ashton Hewitt, Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren, Hallam Amos, Nick Macleod, Charlie Davies; Thomas Davies, Rhys Buckley, Brok Harris, Cory Hill, Rynard Landman, James Thomas, Ed Jackson, Lewis Evans (capt).
Replacements: Darran Harris, Phil Price, Craig Mitchell, Matthew Screech, Harrison Keddie, Sarel Pretorius, Angus O’Brien, Sam Beard.
Tries: Landman, Evans, Hill, Amos, Warren Cons: Macleod, O’Brien (2) Pens: Macleod (2).
Brive: Benjamin Lapeyre, Elia Radikedike, Arnaud Mignardi, Christopher Tuatara, Guillaume Namy, Thomas Laranjeira, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Vivien Devisme, Guillaume Ribes, Damien Jourdain, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Johan Snyman, William Whetton, Petrus Hauman (capt), Fabien Sanconnie
Replacements: Francois Da Ros, Damien Lavergne, Soso Bekoshvili, Jan Uys, Peniami Narisia, Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, Taku Ngwenya, Sevanaia Galala.