Dragons earn bonus point Sale Sharks win

Vili Fihaki on the attack for Sale Sharks

Newport Gwent Dragons earned a bonus point European Rugby Challenge Cup 30-12 victory over Sale Sharks at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

The Dragons went out to a 17-0 lead and held on to it until half time following tries from Ollie Griffiths, Rynard Landman and Adam Hughes and Dorian Jones making one conversion.

However Sale Sharks hit back with tries from James Mitchell and Jonathan Mills which got them back into the match before the Dragons pulled away again with two penalties and then a try from Matthew Screech.

Dragons have now won their opening game in five of their six campaigns in this tournament. They had only scored nine tries in their previous seven games, but it only took them five minutes to take the lead against Sale at Rodney Parade.

Elliot Dee made ground but it was the half-break and well-timed pass of scrum-half Sarel Pretorius that cleared a path for Griffiths. The flanker sped over for this his first try for the region though Dorian Jones failed to convert from wide.

Sale responded through their forward power as Brian Mujati, James Flynn and Jon Mills all went close during a sustained 15-minute spell. But defiant last-ditch defence kept the Sharks at bay.

Mujati thought he had scored after Andrey Ostrikov surged forward but was ruled out having illegally played the ball from a ruck. Dragons punished Sale for not taking their chances when Pretorius triggered a second try against the run of play.

The South African darted through and Jones released lock Landman to gallop over from 20 yards out before adding the conversion. Dragons had their tails up and were rewarded for turning down a kick at goal with a third try before half-time when Hughes angled his run for a 17-0 lead.

Despite starting the second facing a breeze, Sale slashed the deficit with two tries in the space of five minutes.

Scrum-half Mitchell latched onto Nick Macleod’s pass to score under the posts. Jones kicked a penalty but replacement prop Phil Price was binned for pulling down a maul less than two minutes after stepping off the bench and Sale skipper Mills dived over from close range.

Jones helped Dragons weather the storm with his second penalty after Brok Harris went close. And once Price was back on the field, the hosts went in search of a bonus point.

Charlie Davies was held up over the line before. But advantage was being played and replacement lock Screech dived over from close range from the resulting penalty.

Final Score Newport Gwent Dragons 30 (17) Sale Sharks 12 (0)

Scorers

Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries – Griffiths, Landman, Hughes, Screech
Pen – Jones (2)
Con – Jones (2)
Drop –

Sale Sharks
Tries – Mitchell, Mills
Pen –
Con – MacLeod
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France),
Assistant ref: Cedric Marchat (France),
Assistant ref: Jonathan Gasnier (France),
TMO: Vincent Azoulay (France),
Citing Commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Italy)

Teams

Newport Gwent Dragons: Carl Meyer; Ashton Hewitt, Adam Hughes, Adam Warren, Nick Scott; Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Boris Stankovich, Elliot Dee, Shaun Knight, Cory Hill, Rynard Landman (c), Lewis Evans, Ollie Griffiths, Ed Jackson

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Toby Faletau, Charlie Davies, Jason Tovey, Ross Wardle

Sale Sharks: Tim Jeffers; Tom Brady, Mark Jennings, Sam Bedlow, Charlie Ingall; Nick MacLeod, james mitchell; James Flynn, Neil Briggs, Brian Mujati, Jon Mills (c), Andrei Ostrikov, Magnus Lund, Andrew Hughes, Vili Fihaki

Replacements: Cameron Neild, Jake Pope, Ross Harrison, George Nott, Josh Beaumont, Joe Ford, John O’Donnell, Neville Edwards.

With thanks to EPCRugby

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