Dragons climb off bottom of URC after edging past Scarlets
After a Boxing Day thrashing at Cardiff, Dragons made wholesale changes and it paid dividends with a spirited performance which saw them win the last Welsh derby of the festive period.
For most of the game they were marginally the better side but Scarlets still outscored them in terms of tries.
Aaron Wainwright scored Dragons’ try with Cai Evans adding two penalties and a conversion.
Tom Rogers and Ioan Lloyd scored Scarlets’ tries, one of which Costelow converted.
On his 100th appearance for them, Wainwright led out the Dragons and his side were soon ahead when Evans kicked a fourth -minute penalty.
Two minutes later, Evans was presented with another opportunity but this time his 50-metre attempt sailed wide.
However, Dragons were able to maintain the pressure with all of the first 15 minutes being played out in the visitors’ half but that period was easily forgettable as the try-line was never threatened.
In the incessant rain neither side were prepared to risk handling errors so kicking was the main order of the day.
After 20 minutes, Scarlets suddenly bucked the trend and with their first attack scored the opening try. A well-timed pass from Costelow created a gap for Ioan Lloyd with the full-back sending Rogers racing away to score.
Scarlets then suffered two blows in quick succession. First they lost wing, Steff Evans, to a failed HIA before Wainwright rewarded a number of forward drives by powering over from close range. Evans converted and Dragons held a deserved 10-7 interval lead.
Scarlets began the second half by conceding a number of penalties, the last of which Evans knocked over to extend the home side’s lead.
That score was the only one of a desperately poor third quarter with both sides unable to cope with the desperate playing conditions with knock-ons a prominent feature.
With 12 minutes remaining, Scarlets scored an excellent try which belied the conditions. In the home 22, their forwards maintained possession with a number of forward drives before moving the ball swiftly in the opposite direction for Lloyd to dummy his way over.
Costelow missed the conversion and soon afterwards a straightforward penalty from only 20 metres out to give Dragons a morale-boosting victory.
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