A cold Sunday afternoon at Rodney Parade was warmed up by another exciting, committed and thoroughly determined performance from the Dragons, with a hugely important result in defeating Edinburgh.
Much had been made pre-match about the team attempting to create a fortress at Rodney Parade, with the 3 previous home wins in succession going some way to build the atmosphere that makes our stadium such an intimidating place for away teams to visit. This victory not only increased this record to 4 successive home wins, but crucially continued the momentum that the recent performances had been slowly building.
An hugely entertaining first half was dominated by the impressive playmaking skills of Angus O'Brien & Sam Beard in the backline, and a massively dominate performance from Ollie Griffiths. A player of huge potential, who's development has been curtailed by nagging injuries thus far, is starting to show just why Dragons supporters hold him in such high esteem. He not only dominated the breakdown, but in the loose demonstrated his undoubted skillset and rugby nous, often drawing in the Edinburgh defence and spreading the ball wide, a skill that seems to have escaped Welsh Rugby in recent times.
The invention and rugby nous was not limited to these 3 players, with TRT showing some great awareness to steal the ball at a non-contested maul, and set off down the touchline, setting up a fantastic counter attack try for Carl Meyer, who finished very well indeed.
Sam Hobbs, who along with Sam Beard, has been a fantastic signing for the Dragons, ploughed over for the 2nd try, and Angus O'Brien then started and finished a move (after 3,287 TMO replays), created by yet another pinpoint kick from Sam Beard. Genuinely lost count of how many tries his intelligent kicking game has created for Hallam, Ashton and Angus now this season.
Throughout this incredible 1st half Edinburgh played their part, with some enterprising Rugby, and a good performances from their No 8 Manu, fullback Kinghorn, and old Rodney Parade favourite Jason Tovey.
The second half, understandably failed to live up to the spectacle of the 1st, and became very disjointed due to the number of injuries sustained by both teams, but the Dragons defended bravely, and demonstrated the level of determined and stubborn resistance that the Rodney Parade faithful have been encouraged by this season.
With a Angus O'Brien penalty sealing the win, Rodney Parade celebrated a very important result, and the momentum that it continues to build. Praise must go to all the players involved, who really dug in, the new signings that have settled so quickly (especially Tavis Knoyle) and the senior players such as TRT, Lewis & Nick Crosswell, who are really leading by example.
The coaching staff it must be said are developing a very entertaining brand of Rugby, the delivery of a very solid set piece, and the continued development of some of the best young talent around. This can be demonstrated by the calm, confident and assured performances of Angus O'Brien in the last few matches.
We hit the road now, with tough fixtures both away at Leinster in Pro12 and then our European fixture with Worcester Warriors. Running an away travel event for Worcester, we've already had a good number of bookings made for this trip, which we can hopefully take a good number of away fans with us. We'd recommend booking early through our or the Dragons website (closes around Weds 7th Dec) to ensure suitable transport is pre-booked and available, and for us to take the maximum numbers we can to Support the guys through a vital Euro fixture.
A final word from us goes out to for Referee Frank Murphy, who took charge of his first game at this level. Our congratulations to Mr Murphy, and we wish him all the very best for his career moving forward. He handled the game very well, and seemed to be in control throughout the game, allowing himself time to make decisions, and not being influenced by a very vocal Rodney Parade crowd (unfortunately). A few errors that Dragons Supporters felt were made were more to do with consistency of TMO application, but regardless of these observations, we offer our sincere best wishes, and hope he makes a big success out of his new career.
DOSC Man of Match (Vote on Twitter): Ollie Griffiths
Dragons : C Meyer; P Howard, S Beard, J Dixon (T Morgan), A Hewitt; A O’Brien, T Knoyle (S Pretorius); S Hobbs (P Price), R Thomas (R Buckley), B Harris (L Fairbrother), N Crosswell, M Screech (J Thomas), L Evans (capt), E Jackson (N Cudd), O Griffiths (Cudd).
Tries: Meyer, Hobbs, O’Brien
Cons: O’Brien (3)
Pens: O’Brien (2)
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, M Allen; (G Bryce) J Tovey (D Weir 53), S Kennedy (S Hidalgo-Clyne); J Cosgrove, N Cochrane (capt, S McInally), M McCallum, F McKenzie (L Carmichael), B Toolis, M Bradbury, N Manu (V Mata), J Ritchie.
Tries: Manu, Dean, Mata; cons: Tovey, Weir.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland).