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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 20:47 GMT
Dragons 35-14 Leinster
CELTIC LEAGUE
Bob Skinstad scored a try on his debut
Dragons (21) 35
Tries: P Montgomery, S Tuipulotu, S van Rensburg, A Black, B Skinstad
Cons: Montgomery (5)
Leinster (9) 14
Try: C Warner
Pens: B O'Meara (3)
Att: 2,600
The Dragons maintained their challenge at the top of the Celtic League with a bonus-point win over Leinster.

The strong home pack was the key to a convincing win against the Irish, who badly missed their international stars in the wind and rain at Rodney Parade.

The Dragons tries came from Percy Montgomery, Sione Tuipulotu, Shawn van Rensburg, Adam Black, and debut-making Springbok-star Bob Skinstad.

Leinster managed a Christian Warner try and nine points from Brian O'Meara.

It was a bruising start by the home eight as, with the help of the wind and some excellent tactical kicking, they pinned Leinster in their 22.

Jason Forster was held up over the line in the third minute, and soon after more pressure earned the Dragons a penalty under the posts.

The crowd here were just fantastic, I know I'm going to enjoy my time here
Debut-making Dragon Bob Skinstad
They elected to take a scrum and were rewarded when centre Montgomery used his pace to run in a simple try from the quickly heeled ball.

The Dragons were soon back battering at the visitors' line, and with 15 minutes gone full-back Tuipulotu blasted through four disinterested tacklers from 5m out to record the second try.

Brian O'Meara got the Irish off the mark with a penalty, but when more Dragons pressure forced a penalty 10m out home skipper Andy Marinos again opted for a scrum.

The Gwent pack destroyed Leinster's eight, rolling forward to deliver a simple try for van Rensburg.

With the break approaching the visitors launched their first sustained attack, and had a try there for the taking when Gavin Hickie knocked on in the corner.

Percy Montgomery goes over for the opening try
Montgomery put in a man-of-the-match performance
O'Meara hit his second kick, though, and on the stroke of half-time van Rensburg was sin-binned for killing the ball, the resultant penalty bringing the score back to 21-9.

The Dragons weathered the early Leinster storm in the second half, and saw the visitors hit with a double blow in the 50th minute.

The Lions' captain Shane Jennings was yellow-carded for handling at a ruck and - with van Rensburg's time in the bin up - the Dragons sent on Skinstad for his debut.

Moments later a loose Leinster kick was the trigger for the try of the match.

Tuipulotu attacked from deep in his own half and was supported by excellent interplay between forwards and backs.

The rampaging Rod Snow was held up just short, but fellow-prop Black hit the line at speed from the quick ruck ball to crash over the line.

With the bonus point secure the home defence went to sleep and allowed Leinster the space to send Warner over for his side's first try.

Montgomery showed better defence with a big turnover tackle in the 72nd minute, setting up a 30m forward rumble.

The ball was spun wide where it found Skinstad, the South African ignoring an overlap but showing the pace and power to gallop over for a memorable score.

Tuipulotu was sin-binned in injury time for taking out a player off the ball, but it was not enough to ruin a fine night for the Dragons fans.

"Three tries in the first half set us up for the win," Skinstad told BBC Sport Wales. "My score was lucky as the other guys did all the work.

"The boys were blowing a bit at the end because we'd been spreading it so wide so often.

"The crowd here were just fantastic, I know I'm going to enjoy my time here."


Dragons: Sione Tuipulotu; Nathan Brew, Andy Marinos (capt), Percy Montgomery, Ben Breeze; Craig Warlow, Gareth Baber; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Chris Anthony, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Jamie Ringer, Jason Forster, Shawn van Rensburg.
Replacements: Paul Young, Rod Snow, Luke Charteris, Bob Skinstad, Rhodri Jones, Steve Winn, Gerald Arasa.

Leinster: James Norton; John McWeeney, Christian Warner, David Quinlan, Brendan Burke; Brian O'Meara, Brian O'Riordan; Jason Moran, Gavin Hickie, Peter Coyle, Aidan Kearney, Ben Gissing, Simon Crawford, Shane Jennings (capt), Ciaran Potts.
Replacements: Sean Brophy, David Blaney, Niall Ronan, Rob Connolly, James Downey, Daragh O'Shea, Niall O'Brien.

Referee: Gregg Davies (Scotland)




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"We'd planned all week to attack"



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