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Dragons 17-16 Connacht

Dragons (14) 17
Tries: Brew, Riley Con: Tovey 2 Pens: Tovey
Connacht (13) 16
Tries: Nathan Con: Keatley Pens: Keatley 3

Aled Brew
Dragons wing Aled Brew scored his fifth try of the season against Connacht

Wales wing Aled Brew scored one try and set up another as Newport Gwent Dragons edged a scrappy win over fellow Magners League strugglers Connacht.

Tom Riley set up Brew to scamper over from the 22-yard line in the third minute down the left wing for a score.

Troy Nathan scored after a well-worked move for Connacht after Eoin Griffin's off-load near the touchline before Ian Keatley converted in his 11-point haul.

Brew then teed up Riley to touch down in a role-reversal of the first try.

Dragons coach Paul Tuner had billed this battle of two Magners League strugglers as a must win game for his Welsh region as they bid to move up the table.

And while their fourth successive Rodney Parade win was ugly, their fifth league triumph this term lifts the Dragons above Glasgow Warriors into ninth spot with only Aironi below Connacht.

In doing so Turner secured revenge over the Irishmen for an opening day Magners League thrashing - and wing Brew also manage to impress watching Wales coach Warren Gatland ahead of their Six Nations squad announcement later this month.

Brew, who played for Wales in November against Fiji, scored the first of the Dragons' two touchdowns before repaying the compliment to centre Riley.

Brew went over early on when outside-half Jason Tovey fed former Welsh cap Gavin Thomas. Brew took the ball down the left, linked with Riley on the touchline before taking the return pass inside to go over for his fifth try of the season.

Paul Turner relief to lift Dragons gloom with Connacht win

Tovey booted the conversion but he was guilty of a poor penalty miss when a straight-forward 20-metre effort in front of the posts went wide.

Connacht, in need of a victory with only two wins this season, battled and after full-back Keatley had kicked a penalty to get the Irishmen started, he converted a try from Nathan.

The former New Zealand youth international was put away on the right wing by centre Griffin to give Connacht the lead.

With five minutes to go, however, full-back Will Harries set Brew on another dash from the halfway line where he passed inside to Riley for a converted score.

But, when Dragons skipper Tom Willis was offside at a ruck 30 metres from his line, Keatley did the honours again with his second penalty.

Keatley regained the lead for Connacht on 51 minutes but when hooker Sean Cronin prevented the ball from being released at a ruck, Tovey landed the penalty from 38 metres.

The second half was a war of attrition with both sides guilty of wasting possession through bad handling, choosing for the power option through the forwards plus a poor territorial kicking game.

With time running out, Connacht outside-half Miah Nikora tried a decent drop-goal attempt only for replacement flanker Andrew Coombs to charge it down.

A few moves later and the Dragons were on the Connacht 22, laying the ball off to the big men in an attempt to find a last try.

It did not come but the Welshmen took the win while Connacht had to settle for a losing bonus point.

Dragons: Will Harries; Adam Hughes, Tom Riley, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew; Jason Tovey, Jon Evans; Hugh Gustafson, Tom Willis (capt), Ben Castle, Adam Jones, Rob Sidoli, Lewis Evans, Gavin Thomas, Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Phil Price for Hugh Gustafson (52), Luke Charteris for Adam Jones (55), Steve Jones for Tom Willis (63), Andrew Coombs for Lewis Evans (68) Not used: Pat Palmer, Phil Price, Matt Jones, Mike Petri, Pat Leach.

Connacht: Ian Keatley; Troy Nathan, Eoin Griffin, Keith Matthews (capt), Fionn Carr; Miah Nikora, Cillian Willis; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Michael McCarthy, Andrew Browne, Johnny O'Connor, Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: Brian Tuohy for Troy Nathan (41), Frank Murphy for Cillian Willis (48), Mike McComish for Eoin McKeon (54), Adrian Flavin for Sean Cronin (64), Rodney Ah You for Jamie Hagan (67), Niva Ta'auso for Keith Matthews (69), Bernie Upton for Mike McCarthy (78) Not used: Dylan Rogers.

Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU).

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see also
Dragons snap up scrum-half Petri
02 Jan 11 |  NG Dragons
Scarlets 21-15 Dragons
01 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Leinster 30-8 Connacht
01 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Connacht 40-17 Dragons
04 Sep 10 |  Connacht
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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