Pro12: Zebre 25-25 Newport Gwent Dragons

Zebre (13) 25

  • Tries: Vunisa
  • Cons: Orquera
  • Pens: Garcia, Orquera 5

Dragons (15) 25

  • Tries: D Evans, A Smith, Groves
  • Cons: Tovey 2
  • Pens: Tovey 2

A late Jevon Groves try and Jason Tovey earned Newport Gwent Dragons a draw in the Pro12 at bottom club Zebre.

The Italian side took the lead through Samuela Vunisa's early try while Taulepe Faletau was in the sin-bin.

Dan Evans hit back, as did Ashley Smith after Gonzalo Garcia's penalty. Jason Tovey added extras Smith's try and kicked a penalty.

Luciano Orquera kicked five penalties to give Zebre a 25-18 lead, but Groves broke free for Dragons' crucial try.

Dragons coach Lyn Jones had called for his side to offer a response to last weekend's 24-8 home defeat by Connacht that delivered a big blow to their top-flight European hopes for 2014-15.

In scoring three tries to Zebre's one, the visitors provided the evidence of the character that Jones wanted to see.

But Zebre, looking for the first two successive wins of their fledgling existence, also underlined their battling qualities.

The host took full advantage of number eight Faletau's temporary absence for opposite number Vunisa to power over from scrum-half Brendon Leonard's final pass.

Fly-half Orquera converted and remained a kicking threat throughout as Zebre capitalised on Dragons' indiscipline under pressure.

But the visitors had the edge with ball in hand with full-back Evans going over.

After centre Garcia's long-range penalty, centre Smith was put over and fly-half Tovey converted before he and Orquera exchanged penalties.

Orquera added for more shots at goal to Tovey's single successful second-half penalty as the hosts largely dominated after the break.

But Zebre could not break the visitors' full-strength defence and remained vulnerable.

Dragons earned their reward when Groves picked up at a ruck and burst clear.

Tovey levelled with the angled conversion.

Zebre: Guglielmo Palazzani; Leonardo Sarto, Tommaso Iannone, Gonzalo Garcia, Dion Berryman; Luciano Orquera, Brendon Leonard; Salvatore Perugini, Davide Giazzon, David Ryan, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami (capt), Filippo Ferrarini, , Andries van Schalkwyk.

Replacements: Tommaso D'Apice, Matias Aguero, Dario Chistolini, Emiliano Caffini, Filippo Cristiano, David Odiete, Giovanbattista Venditti, Kameli Ratuvou.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Dan Evans; Tom Prydie, Pat Leach, Ashley Smith, Will Harries; Jason Tovey, Richie Rees; Phil Price, Elliot Dee, Duncan Bell, Andrew Coombs (capt), Matthew Screech, Lewis Evans, Taulupe Faletau, Nic Cudd.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Bruce Douglas, Nathan Buck, Cory Hill, Jevon Groves, Wayne Evans, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU)

Assistant Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini, Elia Rizzo (both FIR)

Citing Commissioner: Marco Dordelli (FIR)

TMO: Carlo Damasco (FIR)