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Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dragons 18-12 Gloucester

Dragons (13) 18
Tries: Hughes, Sowden-Taylor.Con: M Jones. Pens: M Jones 2.
Gloucester (7) 12
Tries: Penalty try, Vainikolo. Con: Burns.

Dragons flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor tests the Gloucester defence
Dragons flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor tests the Gloucester defence

Robin Sowden-Taylor was the pick of a fine Newport Gwent Dragons pack effort as the Welsh region held off visitors Gloucester in their LV= Cup opener.

The flanker scored a decisive late try from a rolling maul and then turned over possession as Gloucester hammered at the Dragons' line in injury time.

Matthew Jones' boot and a try from wing Adam Hughes gave Dragons an early lead.

Gloucester's scrummage earned a penalty try before Lesley Vainikolo went over, but the English side always trailed.

The Dragons took first blood against a Cherry and Whites outfit brimming with international players.

With Gloucester pressurising on the Dragons' 22, wing Aled Brew, released for the game from the Wales Autumn Test squad, created the opening points with a superb kick downfield.

He followed that up by getting off the floor to tackle full-back Olly Morgan, yielding a richly deserved penalty for the wing which fly-half Jones landed.

Jones booted the Dragons into a six-point lead soon after but with Gloucester's powerhouse pack, led by former Newport favourite Peter Buxton, causing the home side problems in the set-pieces the platform was there for the visitors to dominate.

Yet the Dragons grabbed a cracker of a first try. As the Cherry and Whites attacked through midfield the Welshmen turned them over.

Full-back Pat Leach stormed 70 metres down the right touchline to link with wing Hughes, who stormed over near the posts - making Jones' conversion simple.

That forward dominance by Gloucester, whose mighty front row of Scottish prop Alasdair Dickinson, France cap Olivier Azam and former Brive tight-head Pierre Capdevielle dominated their opposite numbers, told before half-time.

After three wheeled scrums on the Dragons' line referee James Jones decided the home team were deliberately preventing a pushover try and awarded a penalty try, which fly-half Freddie Burns converted easily.

The teams faced drizzle which made handling difficult but, with all credit, both tried to play some decent rugby in the conditions.

England wing Vainikolo went over in the right hand corner during the second half to narrow the gap to 13-12 and the writing seemed to be on the wall for a Gloucester comeback.

But the Dragons held on to their slender one-point lead for another 20 minutes and eventually got a rolling maul try when they pushed the visiting eight back over their own line, with flanker Sowden-Taylor getting the congratulations from his team-mates.

Then came the Gloucester onslaught in injury time but Sowden-Taylor emerged from a ruck with possession after some fierce Welsh defence, with the ball booted gratefully dead to end the game and secure the win.

Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath told BBC Gloucestershire:
"Our basic execution wasn't good enough. Every time we tried to create something we were either too flat or we made a handling error and knocked on, which created a very frustrating edge to the game.

"Freddie Burns kicked us into the right areas but we didn't capitalise in the right areas of the pitch.

"We highlighted this was a Wales v England thing, and not just Dragons v Gloucester, and that's what the 5,000 people here turned up for.

"Players have to realise that's how they see it. We were sloppy in some of the basics that we've been good at in the last six weeks."

Dragons: Pat Leach; Adam Hughes, Rhodri Gomer-Davies, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew; Matthew Jones, James Leadbeater; Hugh Gustafson, Tom Willis (capt), Pat Palmer, Adam Jones, Scott Morgan, Lewis Evans, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Hugo Ellis.
Replacements: Lloyd Burns for Willis (50), Dan Way for Palmer (46), Nigel Hall for Gustafson (66), Rob Sidoli for Morgan (66), Jevon Groves for H. Ellis (61), Gareth Williams for Hughes (67), Tom Cooper for M. Jones (61), Steffan Jones for A. Brew (61).

Gloucester: Olly Morgan; Tom Voyce, Henry Trinder, Jonny May, Lesley Vainikolo; Freddie Burns, Jordi Pasqualin; Alasdair Dickinson, Olivier Azam, Pierre Capdevielle, Dan Williams, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton (capt), Akapusi Qera, Matt Cox.
Replacements: Darren Dawidiuk for Azam (61), Yann Thomas, Rupert Harden for Capdevielle (64), Jim Hamilton for Brown (70), Luke Narraway for Buxton (64), Rory Lawson for Pasqualin (61), Tim Taylor, Charlie Sharples for Morgan (64).

Att: 5,300

Referee: J Jones (RFU).

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see also
Gloucester 19-12 Leicester
30 Oct 10 |  English
Ospreys 16-21 Dragons
30 Oct 10 |  Welsh
LV= Anglo-Welsh Cup 2010/11
02 Jul 10 |  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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