Pro12: NG Dragons 22-16 Blues

Toby Faletau scores for the Dragons against Cardiff Blues

NG DRAGONS (10) 22

Tries:
Faletau
Cons:
Tovey
Pens:
Tovey (5)

CARDIFF BLUES (10) 16

Tries:
Dacey
Cons:
Halfpenny
Pens:
Halfpenny (3)

Newport Gwent Dragons produced a committed display in front of a vociferous Rodney Parade crowd to win their Boxing Day derby with the Blues.

Fly-half Jason Tovey kicked 17 points, including the conversion of Toby Faletau's first-half try.

Blues replied with 11 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny and hooker Kristian Dacey's fourth try in four consecutive league matches.

But the Dragons always had the edge in a high-quality encounter.

The result lifts Lyn Jones' side into sixth place in the Pro12 table, overtaking the Scarlets who lost at home to the Ospreys earlier on Boxing Day.

And it was a special day for Tovey who returned to the Dragons during the summer after spending a frustrating year at Cardiff Blues in 2012-13.

The Dragons' victory was built on an aggressive defensive display combined with plenty of adventure and invention in possession.

The back three of Dan Evans, Will Harries and Hallam Amos were a constant headache for the Blues, frequently counter-attacking from deep in their own territory.

Man-of-the-match Faletau's try was typical of the Dragons' approach as they caught the Blues napping with a clever move which saw the Wales number eight charging through the front of a line-out and sprinting 30 metres to score.

Tovey's conversion gave the home team a 10-point lead after 16 minutes.

However, the Blues hit back in style when Dacey took a short pass from Dafydd Hewitt and sprinted through from 20 metres to continue his remarkable try-scoring feats.

Halfpenny converted and was on target again on the stroke of half-time to bring the Blues level against the run of play.

Dragons felt they had taken the lead again at the start of the second half as centre Ashley Smith touched down to round off a super 50-yard move.

But a TV review revealed home flanker Netani Talei had obstructed Blues fly-half Rhys Patchell to set up the attack and the score was ruled out by the TMO Derek Bevan.

And within a minute the Dragons found themselves trailing as Halfpenny was again on target with a penalty.

But Tovey equalised in the 50th minute and from that moment on the outcome was never really in doubt as the Dragons' commitment and passion gave them the edge.

A yellow card for number eight Robin Copeland made the Blues' task harder as Tovey kept the scoreboard ticking over with three more penalties.

The Blues had their moments, with dangerous wing Alex Cuthbert threatening to break clear from his own half, only to be denied by Pat Leach's tap tackle.

Halfpenny's third penalty did earn the Blues a losing bonus point, and sets up the return match at Cardiff Arms Park on New Year's Day.

TEAMS

Dragons: Daniel Evans; Will Harries, Pat Leach, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos; Jason Tovey, Wayne Evans; Owen Evans, T Rhys Thomas, Nathan Buck, Andrew Coombs (capt), Cory Hill, Netani Talei, Lewis Evans, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Aaron Coundley, Francisco Chaparro, Rob Sidoli, Nic Cudd, Richie Rees, Steffan Jones, Ross Wardle.

Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Gavin Evans, Dafydd Hewitt, Dan Fish; Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs (capt), Kristian Dacey, Benoit Bourrust, Chris Dicomidis, Filo Paulo, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Rhys Williams, Thomas Davies, Scott Andrews, Ellis Jenkins, Rory Watts-Jones, Lewis Jones, Gareth Davies, Richard Smith.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessey, Jon Mason (both WRU)

Citing Commissioner: Jeff Mark (WRU)

TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU)

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