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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 16:55 GMT
Dragons 24-14 Ospreys
Dragons try-scorer Michael Owen
Dragons (14) 24
Tries: Gough, Owen, Chapman
Cons: Sweeney (2), Warlow
Pen: Warlow
Ospreys (11) 14
Try: Connor
Pens: Cashmore (3)
Att: 6,115
Newport-Gwent Dragons moved above the Ospreys in the Celtic League table with a deserved win at Rodney Parade.

The visitors struck first with a Shaun Connor try in the fourth minute, but managed only three Adrian Cashmore penalties thereafter.

Two converted tries in four minutes from Ian Gough and Michael Owen gave the Dragons a 14-11 lead at the break.

Gareth Chapman's 56th-minute try gave the Dragons vital breathing space, and Craig Warlow added a late penalty.

Connor's opening try rounded off a slick move which saw backs combining with forwards, before winger Shane Williams provided the final pop-up pass for the fly-half to score in the left corner.

Cashmore missed the difficult conversion but landed a 23rd-minute penalty to open an 8-0 lead.

After posing no threat in the opening 30 minutes, the Dragons hit the Ospreys with two quick-fire tries.

Gough scored the first when poor communication around the ruck area allowed him to burst through between two would-be defenders 10 metres out and score underneath the posts.

Hal Luscombe created the second when he managed to keep his chip-kick in play which allowed Gareth Chapman to pick up and find Owen on his inside for a clear run over the tryline.

Ceri Sweeney converted both tries, but Cashmore hit two penalties either side of half-time to level the scores at 14-14.

The Dragons were ahead again, though, within 10 minutes.

Connor tried to launch an Ospreys attack deep in his own half, but Chapman intercepted his long pass and raced clear to score in the right corner.

Replacement Craig Warlow added the conversion.

Seconds later, the Dragons were denied a fourth try by Adam Jones' last-ditch tackle on home captain Jason Forster.

Warlow's excellent long-range penalty eight minutes from time took the Dragons two scores clear, and the Ospreys never looked like clawing their way back in the remaining minutes.

  • Dragons number eight Michael Owen:
    "Both teams were low on confident after having tough seasons, so we had to grind out the win but we scored a couple of good tries.

    "We have performed to out capabilities this season and it's been disappointing so it was nice to get a win.

    "Hopefully we can build on this and do a bit better in 2006."

    Ospreys coach Lyn Jones:

    "We're extremely disappointed with the way we play. The Dragons weren't great but unfortunately we deserved to lose.

    "We're a bit low on confidence but we're not a bad side. We'll just have to work a little bit harder in training in the week and during the games.

    "Maybe the party from winning the Celtic League last year is finally over."

    Dragons: Tuipulotu; Chapman, Luscombe, Bryant, Breeze; Sweeney, Cooper; Black, S. Jones, R. Thomas, Gough, Sidoli, Hall, Forster, Owen.
    Replacements: Warlow for Sweeney (56). Not used: Brown, Maddocks, Robinson, Griffiths, Davies, Baber.

    Ospreys: Cashmore; Terblanche, A. Bishop, S. Parker, S. Williams; Connor, Spice; D. Jones, Bennett, A. Jones, Newman, Bateman, Bater, Pugh, Dillon.
    Replacements: B. Williams for Bennett (41), Thomas for Dillon (55), Mustoe for Cashmore (66), M. Jones for Connor (61), Millward for A. Jones (66), L. Davies for Spice (73). Not used: Beech.

    Referee: Hugh Watkins (Wales)



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