Pro14 Rainbow Cup: Dragons score seven tries in 52-32 win over Scarlets

Dragons flanker Taine Basham was playing his first game since early January after recovering from a fractured forearm
Dragons flanker Taine Basham was playing his first game since early January after recovering from a fractured forearm
Rainbow Cup: Dragons v Scarlets
Dragons (17) 52
Try: Holmes 2, J Williams, Wainwright 2, Dyer, Owen Cons: S Davies 4 Pens: S Davies 3
Scarlets (22) 32
Try: Rees, S Evans 2, Blacker, McNicholl Cons: Costelow 2 Pens: Costelow

Dragons claimed victory in an entertaining Pro14 Rainbow Cup game with a seven-try victory over Scarlets.

Two tries apiece from Wales pair Jonah Holmes and Aaron Wainwright and further scores from Jordan Williams, Rio Dyer and Aneurin Owen sealed the win.

Fly-half Sam Davies added 17 points for a home side inspired by Wales back row Ross Moriarty.

Scarlets responded with a double from Steff Evans and tries from Iestyn Rees, Dane Blacker and Johnny McNicholl.

The 12 tries were an indication that the encounter had more of a pre-season feel to it in the Newport sunshine than a Welsh derby in April.

They were again mix and match sides with Scarlets making 13 personnel changes and Dragons seven alterations from the side that lost European last-16 matches in early April.

Wales prop Rob Evans returned for Scarlets after four months out because of concussion and packed down alongside captain for-the-day Ryan Elias.

Hooker Taylor Davies, on loan from Scarlets, played against his parent club.

The hosts started brightly with Holmes outflanking Wales centre Jonathan Davies to open the scoring. Scarlets responded immediately with a try from the kick-off as Steff Evans set up debutant Iestyn Rees. Sam Costelow converted.

Dragons restored the lead when Wales back rows Moriarty and Wainwright combined in midfield to help full-back Jordan Williams cross.

Wainwright scored Dragons' third try after earlier dispossessing McNicholl, but Ryan Elias utilised the captain's challenge, one of the new trial laws being utilised in Rainbow Cup.

Elias' assertion that McNicholl was tackled without the ball was dismissed and Scarlets lost their challenge with the try standing.

The visitors again instantly responded with a searing break from replacement Angus O'Brien with Dane Blacker setting up Steff Evans for the score.

Blacker turned try scorer with a sniping opportunist break before his pass almost allowed captain Elias to rampage over from 20 metres.

The try was disallowed for being forward as Scarlets led 22-17 at the interval. Davies reduced the deficit with an early second-half penalty after an impressive Holmes break.

Dragons restored their advantage after Dyer claimed an Evan Lloyd chip before exchanging passes with Jack Dixon to score.

McNicholl's covering tackle denied Dragons skipper Rhodri Williams a spectacular solo try before centre Owen was set up by Evan Lloyd for the home side's fifth try.

Scarlets brought on Wales scrum-half Kieran Hardy after a two-month absence because of a hamstring problem.

The Dragons' procession continued with Holmes gliding over for his second score after breaking through a static Scarlets defence.

The visitors managed their first try of the second-half when a well-worked move allowed Steff Evans to cross for his second score.

McNicholl got his name on the scoresheet after a fine opportunist effort with an instinctive intercept, but any hopes of a late revival were halted by a final try from Wainwright and two late Sam Davies penalties.

Dragons: Jordan Williams; Jonah Holmes, Jared Rosser, Aneurin Owen, Rio Dyer; Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (capt); Greg Bateman, Taylor Davies, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Joe Maksymiw, Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Josh Reynolds, Aaron Jarvis, Matthew Screech, Dan Baker, Dan Babos, Evan Lloyd, Jack Dixon.

Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Tom Rogers, Tyler Morgan, Jonathan Davies, Steff Evans; Sam Costelow, Dane Blacker; Rob Evans, Ryan Elias (capt), Alex Jeffries, Jake Ball, Morgan Jones, Blade Thomson, Iestyn Rees, Uzair Cassiem.

Replacements: Dafydd Hughes, Steff Thomas, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Kieran Hardy, Angus O'Brien, Steff Hughes.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens, Gareth Newman (both WRU)

TMO: Dan Jones (WRU)

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