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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Dragons 39-17 Brive
Dragons captain Kevin Morgan scored two tries against Brive
Dragons captain Kevin Morgan scored two tries against Brive

Dragons 39 (24)
Tries: Morgan 2, Black, Penalty try, Ringer, A Brew.
Cons: Sweeney 3.
Pens: Sweeney.

Brive 17 (7)
Tries: Boleavucu, Hufanga 2.
Cons: Orquera.

Newport Gwent Dragons swept into the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup after making light work of their Brive encounter at Rodney Parade.

The French conceded six tries, Dragons captain Kevin Morgan adding two to scores from Adam Black, Jamie Ringer, Aled Brew and a penalty try.

Fly-half Ceri Sweeney added nine points with the boot and controlled play well.

Filimone Boleavucu and Suka Hufanga (2) claimed tries for Brive, but Dragons advance to face Clermont-Auvergne.

The Welsh side travel to France in three weeks for the semi-final against the conquerers of English side Newcastle Falcons.

But it is likely that Clermont will provide a much sterner test than their fellow French club provided in Newport on Saturday.

Brive, concerned with the threat of relegation from the French top-14, fielded an under-strength side and it took the Dragons just five minutes to breach their defences.

Good work from Colin Charvis, Michael Owen and Black took play to within five metres of the Brive try line and a pop-pass from Alex Walker sent Morgan over.

Sweeney was unable to convert his captain's try in the swirling wind but the Welsh were up and running.

Morgan's second try soon followed thanks to some great turnover work from Paul Emerick as the USA centre ripped the ball from Tim Clark to set up a counter-attack.

The Dragons had a four-man overlap but Morgan had the speed to race away down the right and curve in under the posts, although the wind again got the better of Sweeney's conversion.

Brive should have pulled a score back as Boleavucu burst through, but the wing's pass that sent Hufanga under the posts had carelessly drifted forward.

But the French soon carved out another chance thanks to some fine interplay from their back-row, with Hufanga returning the favour to send Boleavucu over in the right corner.

The Brive pair were involved in a brief scuffle with Sweeney after the score, but order was restored and Luciano Orquera added an excellent conversion to bring Brive within three points.

But the Dragons hit back with two quick-fire tries, both converted by Sweeney, to take a 24-7 advantage into the break.

First prop Black charged over from close range after Brive were forced to commit too many men to a ruck.

Then referee Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty try when Brive centre Ludovic Valbon knocked down Peter Sidoli's pass while still lying on the ground.

Torrential rain greeted the resumption and Brive found themselves in danger of being swept away by the buoyant Dragons.

Sweeney's clever cross-kick nearly let Gareth Wyatt in on the right only for the ball to reach touch near the corner flag just ahead of the wing.

But Brive made a mess of the defensive line-out and Dragons flanker Ringer grabbed the loose ball to dive over, with Sweeney - in the groove now - adding the extras.

Boleavucu remained a constant threat with the big wing constantly looking for work up the middle as Brive tried to find a way back into the match.

The Dragons did their best to slow down any possession the French managed to win and Charvis was sent to the sin-bin for doing that once too often.

Brive took advantage and two successive lofted kicks from Clark sent Hufanga over twice in quick succession, although Orquera was unable to improve either try.

Despite that wobble the Dragons steadied the ship with a Sweeney penalty to give them a 34-17 lead as the clock ticked into the last 10 minutes.

Aled Brew rounded off a fine afternoon, the wing the recipient of some fine running from Morgan and Dragons replacement Aled Thomas plus the excellent hands of man-of-the-match Owen.


Dragons: K Morgan (capt); G Wyatt, P Emerick, N Brew, A Brew; C Sweeney, A Walker; A Black, B Daly, L Harrison, I Gough, P Sidoli, C Charvis, J Ringer, M Owen.
Replacements: S Jones, J Corsi, D Maddocks, L Charteris, N Fitsemanu, G Cooper, A Thomas.

Brive: N Le Roux; F Boleavucu, L Valbon, S Hufanga, A Palisson; L Orquera, T Clark; P Lafond, J Djoudi, P Capdevielle, C Petre, C van Rensburg, S Azoulai (capt), A Maleyrie, D Chouly.
Replacements: J Campo, P Toderasc, F Domingo, J Bonvoisin, J Pejoine, M Petitjean, S Bonetti.

Att: 7,112

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England).

SEE ALSO
BBC Sport Wales coverage
01 May 06 |  Wales
European Challenge Cup 2006/7
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union
European rugby archive
09 Oct 02 |  European Club
Scarlets 35-11 Dragons
23 Mar 07 |  Llanelli Scarlets
Dragons to face Brive in Newport
20 Jan 07 |  NG Dragons


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