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Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Dragons 20-9 Sale

Dragons (7) 20
Tries: Connor, Lee Cons: Connor, Greendale Pens: Connor, Greendale
Sale (6) 9
Pens: Hodgson (3)

Dragons captain Shaun Connor glides past Sale's Charlie Hodgson on his way to a second-minute try
Dragons captain Shaun Connor on his way to his second-minute try

A weakened Dragons side maintained their unbeaten Rodney Parade record with a deserved LV= Cup win over Sale.

Dragons captain Shaun Connor went over for a fine second-minute try, Charlie Hodgson hitting back with two kicks.

Dragons survived Duane Goodfield's sin bin, Connor and Hodgson exchanging penalties, before Danny Lee settled the match with a neatly taken try.

Adam Greendale added another kick when Sisa Koyamaibole was sin-binned, dogged Dragons defence then holding Sale out.

The Dragons, unbeaten in nine games in Newport stretching back to March, had made 10 changes from their league match last week, the Sharks changing five.


The Welsh region had the ideal start, attacking from clean line-out ball deep in Sharks territory.

Connor, the Dragons' fifth captain this season, took on the defensive line from fly-half.

The experienced 10 glided past opposite number Hodgson and stretched out to score under the posts despite a tackle from Luke Abraham.

Connor added the conversion but missed a penalty as two Hodgson kicks reduced the gap to a point.

The home side clung doggedly to their narrow lead, but were reduced to 14 men when hooker Duane Goodfield was sin-binned for a spear tackle on Hodgson - a decision hotly contested by the Rodney Parade crowd.

The Sale fly-half missed the resultant penalty, though, and Connor extended the lead with his first successful three-pointer soon after the break.

Dwayne Peel came on for the final quarter of Sale's 20-9 defeat at Newport on a weekend when player release laws prevented him playing for Wales against New Zealand
Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel came on for the final quarter

The Sharks turned to their bench for a boost and were rewarded with Hodgson's third penalty in the 56th minute.

The Dragons fired back with a concerted attack, crowned when ex-New Zealand scrum-half Lee sneaked over from a ruck underneath the posts for a try converted by replacement fly-half Greendale.

Sale brought on Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel in time to witness a stunning 40m break from Dragons centre Rhodri Gomer-Davies, his run going unrewarded when Greendale missed a simple penalty.

The youngster soon had the chance to make amends, though, when Koyamaibole was yellow-carded for coming in offside at a ruck, Greendale firing over a fine penalty.

Torrential rain in the closing minutes added to the Sharks' misery, but they waded to the Dragons line where they encamped for the closing five minutes.

The home side's defences were not to be breached, though, heroic tackling keeping out the fancied Guinness Premiership side.

Dragons coach Paul Turner:
"We decided to use this tournament as an opportunity to develop our younger players.

"We were playing against a full-strength Sale team so we're really pleased.

"There were a lot of errors, but with that came our ability to put it right.

"Winning breeds confidence and we'll gain momentum from that."

Sale coach Kingsley Jones:
"We underestimated the Dragons, a lot of sides do. We just didn't turn up - seven points down in the first few minutes and the writing was on the wall.

"No excuses, we didn't want it as much as the Dragons, it was a terrible performance on our part.

"Both sides know that with the quality of players in our 22 it should have been enough to get a win.

"Their execution was better than ours and they wanted it more. We have got to learn quickly because that is not acceptable."

Dragons: M. Thomas, Harries, Gomer-Davies, Watkins, Fussell, Connor, Lee, Watchurst, Goodfield, Palmer, Sidoli, A. Jones, MacDonald, Harris, Webb.
Replacements: Andrew Brown for James Harris (42), James Harris for Andrew Brown (47), Hugh Gustafson for Dan Watchurst (60), Peter Bracken for Pat Palmer (60), Adam Greendale for Shaun Connor (62), Toby Faletau for James Harris (66), Matthew Pewtner for Martyn Thomas (72), Alex Walker for Danny Lee (74), James Thomas for Grant Webb (77).

Sale: MacLeod, Cohen, Bishop, Thomas, Vakacegu, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, E. Roberts, Schwalger, Forster, Schofield, Cox, Gaskell, Abraham, Fearns.
Replacements: Neil Briggs for Mahonri Schwalger (40), Mathew Tait for David Bishop (47), Sisa Koyamaibole for James Gaskell (51), Martin Halsall for Jack Forster (58), Dwayne Peel for Richard Wigglesworth (65), Kristian Ormsby for Carl Fearns (65), Rob O'Donnell for Eifion Lewis-Roberts (74).

Att: 4,539

Ref: Martyn Fox (WRFU).

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see also
LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup 2009/10
11 Aug 09 |  Rugby Union
LV= (Anglo-Welsh) Cup Tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Anglo-Welsh Cup archive
24 Jul 06 |  Welsh
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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