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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 19:21 GMT
Dragons 27-19 Ulster
CELTIC LEAGUE
Michael Owen created the final try
Dragons (9) 27
Tries: L Jarvis, M Owen
Cons: P Montgomery
Pens: Montgomery (5)
Ulster (16) 19
Try: R Wilson
Con: D Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys (4)
The Dragons fired to the top of the Celtic League with a comeback win over former leaders Ulster at Rodney Parade.

With a Roger Wilson try and David Humphreys kicking 14 points, Ulster led 19-12 in the final quarter.

But replacement fly-half Lee Jarvis looped off a Percy Montgomery pass for a try to get the Dragons back.

Montgomery's kicks edged the home side ahead, and two minutes from the end Hal Luscombe's try sealed the win, the conversion denying Ulster a bonus.

The visitors were rocked in the sixth minute when Robbie Kempson was sin-binned following a scuffle with Shawn Van Rensburg, but a single Montgomery penalty was the only score during his absence.

The inordinate number of penalties against us in the second half made it difficult
Ulster coach Alan Solomons
Montgomery added two more penalties against one from Humphreys, but it was Ulster who were looking the more dangerous side, wings Scott Young and James Topping both going close.

With half-time approaching, another multi-phased Irish attack finally broke down the Dragons defence.

Humphreys moved quick ruck ball to the right and crisp passing sent number eight Wilson in for an easy score in the corner.

Two more excellent Humphreys penalties followed to give his side a 16-9 lead at the break.

The second period was a desperate battle, with just an exchange of penalties to show for the third quarter.

Dragons coach Mike Ruddock threw on substitutes Jarvis, Jamie Ringer and Rod Snow, and with their fresh momentum a sustained Dragons attack was finally rewarded.

Jarvis fed quick ruck ball along the line and Montgomery released beautifully in the tackle, feeding the fly-half who looped round for a try in the right corner.

David Humphreys
Humphreys' 14 points were not enough for Ulster
Montgomery then edged the Dragons a point ahead with a 73rd-minute penalty, and the home crowd breathed a sigh of relief when Humphreys sprayed another effort wide four minutes later.

The game was sealed when Michael Owen stunned Ulster by electing to run a kickable penalty.

The Wales squad member stormed for the line before feeding Luscombe the scoring pass, Montgomery's conversion denying the visitors a bonus point and sending the Dragons to the top of the league.

Our substitutes really made an impact
Dragons coach Mike Ruddock
"We were in control at half-time, but the inordinate number of penalties against us in the second half made it difficult," said a disappointed Ulster coach Alan Solomons.

"The Dragons came back at us and full marks to them, but the penalties were the turning point."

Ruddock added: "It was a great test of character and we came through it very well.

"We were gutted to be down at half time, but everyone applied themselves and our substitutes really made an impact."


Dragons: Sione Tuipulotu; Nathan Brew, Percy Montgomery, Andy Marinos (capt), Hal Luscombe; Craig Warlow, Gareth Baber; Adam Black, Steve Jones, Rhys Thomas, Michael Owen, Peter Sidoli, Ross Beattie, Jason Forster, Shawn Van Rensburg.
Replacements: Paul Young, Rod Snow, Luke Charteris, Jamie Ringer, Rhodri Jones, Lee Jarvis, Ben Breeze.

Ulster: B Cunningham; J Topping, S Stewart, P Steinmetz, S Young; D Humphreys, K Campbell; R Kempson, P Shields, S Best, G Longwell, M McCullough, N Best, N McMillan (capt), R Wilson.
Replacements: N Brady, R Moore, M Mustchin, W Brosnihan, N Doak, P Wallace, S Mallon.

Referee: Iain Ramage (Scotland)




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