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Last Updated: Monday, 27 December, 2004, 17:43 GMT
Dragons 25-21 Blues
CELTIC LEAGUE
Kevin Morgan crosses for the Dragons' opening try
Dragons (12) 25
Tries: Morgan (2), Tuipulotu
Cons: Sweeney (2)
Pens: Sweeney (2)
Blues (8) 21
Tries: Williams, Vaughton
Con: Macleod
Pens: Macleod (3)
Att: 10,500
The Dragons ended a three-game league losing streak with a hard-fought win in the east Wales derby at Newport.

Two Kevin Morgan tries proved decisive, as the Dragons' superior cutting edge overcame the Blues' dominance in territory and possession.

Scores from Morgan and Sione Tuipulotu against a Rhys Williams try gave the home side a 12-8 lead at the break.

Morgan's second try late on sealed the result, before a fine Jon Vaughton effort salvaged a Blues bonus point.

Playing in front of a packed Rodney Parade, the injury-ravaged Blues side tore into their Gwent rivals at the outset, and the continuous pressure paid off thanks to a piece of magic from Nick Macleod.

The Blues will feel disappointed after having the majority of the game
Dragons captain Mike Owen
The fly-half, starting because of a shoulder injury to Lee Thomas, threaded through a grubber kick that was seized on by Williams for the opening try.

Macleod added a penalty, before the Dragons got their act together when a fortunate bounce gave possession to Peter Sidoli and a long Sione Tuipulotu pass found Hal Luscombe on the wing.

The Wales international was hauled back, but his inside ball went to Morgan who was clear for a fine try.

Shaun James
The Blues got little change out of the Dragons defence
The balance of the game swung to the Dragons when Williams took an age with a clearance kick, allowing the Dragons to charge down.

The visitors hacked clear, but a good Percy Montgomery run set up another attacking position, Michael Owen clearing well from the ruck to give Tuipulotu the space to cross in midfield.

Tristan Davies helped set up a great chance for the Blues to re-take the lead, but a strong tackle from Montgomery and a treble-hit on Dean Dewdney in the corner kept the home side ahead at the break.

The Blues again came out strongly at the start of the second half and twice closed to within a point from Macleod penalties, but the scores were immediately cancelled out by Ceri Sweeney's boot.

We're playing really good rugby but can't get the wins we need
Man-of-the-match Nick Macleod
The Cardiff side tried hard to break the deadlock, but came up against a solid line of Dragons defenders and Luscombe was twice on hand to deny Dewdney in the corner.

With the game entering injury time, the Dragons kicked a penalty to the corner and the forwards delivered clean ball to Sweeney.

The fly-half found Morgan coming up at speed on a great angle, the full-back having the pace to cross without a hand laid on him.

The Blues fired straight back, replacement Vaughton having the pace and swerve to avoid a weak Montgomery challenge and sprint in from 40m.

But the visitors had to settle for the bonus-point consolation as they were condemned to their sixth successive defeat.

"We were a bit rusty after a week off and can play a lot better than that, but it was a gutsy win," said Dragons captain Owen.

"The Blues will feel disappointed after having the majority of the game, but we defended well and sparked into life when we needed to."

Man-of-the-match Macleod found some positive points from another Blues defeat.

"We're playing really good rugby but can't get the wins we need," said the fly-half.

"We were in their 22 a lot but couldn't get the points on the board. Credit to the Dragons defence, but it's something we have to work on.

"I still feel that we can take a lot of confidence into the Ospreys game next week."


Dragons: P Montgomery; N Brew, H Luscombe, S Tuipulotu, K Morgan; C Sweeney, G Baber; A Black, S Jones, R Thomas, L Charteris, P Sidoli, I Gough, J Ringer, M Owen (capt).
Replacements: J Richards, C Anthony, R Oakley, Robertson, G Cooper, S Winn, G Wyatt.

Blues: R Williams; D Dewdney, S James, T Davies, C Morgan; N Macleod, R Powell; J Yapp, R Thomas, G Jenkins, D Jones, R Sidoli, J Malpas, Martyn Williams (capt), K Schubert.
Replacements: B Evans, G Williams, N Budgett, N Thomas, R Sowden-Taylor, M Nutthall, J Vaughton.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)




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