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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December, 2004, 16:07 GMT
Dragons 27-14 Perpignan
HEINEKEN CUP POOL 5
Gareth Cooper got the first try of the game
Dragons (10) 27
Tries: Cooper, Morgan, Brew, Tuipulotu
Cons: Sweeney (2)
Pen: Sweeney
Perpignan (0) 14
Tries: Robertson, Edmonds
Cons: Edmonds (2)
Att: 5,765
The Dragons fired back into Pool 5 contention with a bonus-point win over Perpignan at Newport's Rodney Parade.

Man-of-the-match Gareth Cooper's try and Ceri Sweeney's boot helped the Dragons to a 10-0 lead at the break.

Kevin Morgan and the superb Nathan Brew claimed tries in a dazzling seven-minute period, before Sione Tuipulotu got the bonus-point score late on.

French championship leaders Perpignan claimed tries through No 8 Scott Robertson and fly-half Manny Edmonds.

The Dragons made a bright start and almost opened their account when Cooper sprinted clear - only to be up-ended by Diego Giannantonio.

Cooper's half-back partner Sweeney kicked a penalty less than two minutes later though, and the home side were on their way, having comfortably absorbed Perpignan's initial forward effort.

The Dragons continued to dominate territory as Perpignan offered precious few glimpses of their attacking potential, but the Welsh outfit could not convert pressure into points.

Percy Montgomery snatched a drop-goal attempt on 27 minutes, drifting his kick wide under no pressure from 30 metres out, and Perpignan were content to soak up anything the Dragons could throw at them.

Perpignan launched a dangerous attack 10 minutes before the break, and it took some frantic Dragons defending to deny centre David Marty.

The visitors still gained a penalty for their efforts, but Giannantonio missed a straightforward chance after being handed responsibility ahead of the more prolific Edmonds.

Our Welsh squad members had come back to the camp with a bit of a buzz and that lifted everyone here
Dragons coach Chris Anderson
From the restart, Cooper sprinted deep into Perpignan territory - finding flanker Jamie Ringer in support - and his return pass sent Cooper over for a sparkling try converted by Sweeney, making it 10-0.

The Dragons needed to consolidate their advantage early in the second half, and they struck within four minutes.

Perpignan's defence failed to shut down space just 25 metres out, and Brew breezed his way through before sending Morgan over wide out.

Sweeney failed to convert, yet just when it looked as though the Dragons were entering cruise control substitute hooker Steve Jones' indiscipline - a needless illegal tackle - briefly allowed Perpignan back in.

The French side established a promising field position, and Robertson touched down unopposed in the corner.

Edmonds' effortless touchline conversion further narrowed the gap, prompting a severe lecture to his team from captain Michael Owen.

Owen's rallying call worked wonders, because just two minutes later Brew cut back inside on an unstoppable angle to touch down between the posts and hand Sweeney a simple conversion.

Nathan Brew scores for the Dragons
Brew's try came in a second-half onslaught by the Dragons
The all-important bonus-point score arrived with 11 minutes still remaining, as Perpignan once again retreated in defence to effectively wave Tuipulotu through.

The two sides meet in the return fixture at the Stade Aime Giral next Saturday.

"We just have to believe," said a delighted Dragons coach Chris Anderson. "We've beaten them once and we have to believe we can do it again.

"We got in their faces in defence to shut them down, and that was so important to build our confidence before going over there next week.

"Our Welsh squad members had come back to the camp with a bit of a buzz and that lifted everyone here.

"Michael Owen's leadership was great and Gareth Cooper is just a quality player."


Dragons: Montgomery; Wyatt, Brew, Tuipulotu, Morgan; Sweeney, Cooper; Snow, Richards, Thomas, Gough, Sidoli, Oakley, Ringer, Owen (capt).
Replacements: S Jones, Black, Robinson, Edwards, Baber, Bryant, Warlow.

Perpignan: Giannantonio; Bomati, Marty, Hume, Luger; Edmonds, Durand; Freshwater, Van Der Heever, Mas, Gaston, Alvarez Kairelis, Le Corvec, Goutta, Robertson.
Replacements: Sempere, Debaty, Roigt, Labat, Descons, Laharrague, Manas.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)




SEE ALSO
Heineken Cup 2004/5
29 Jun 04 |  European Club


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