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Dragons end 10-game losing run with victory over Scarlets

By PA
Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan before the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Dragons at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Dragons turned recent form on its head to chalk up their best result of their BKT United Rugby Championship season with a thoroughly deserved 31-14 win over a resurgent Scarlets.

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Dragons had suffered 10 successive defeats but aided by an explosive start, they knocked Scarlets off their game with a battling performance.

Elliott Dee, Jordan Williams, Sio Tomkinson and Steff Hughes scored their tries with Angus O’Brien converting all four and adding a penalty.

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Kieran Hardy and Carwyn Tuipulotu scored tries for Scarlets, both of which Sam Costelow converted.

Scarlets’ lock, Vaea Fifita, was fortunate to escape dismissal in the third minute when he lashed out to punch Aaron Wainwright.

Fifita saw yellow and Dragons capitalised by scoring two tries in three minutes. First Dee crashed over from a driving maul before swift passing created space for Rio Dyer, who ran strongly to provide Jordan Williams with an easy run-in.

Before Fifita could return, the Gwent region added a third when Tomkinson quickly took a tap penalty to catch the defence napping. O’Brien converted all three so Scarlets had conceded 21 points in their player’s absence.

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The Tongan returned in time to see his side come onto the scoreboard when Hardy took advantage of a succession of five-metre scrums to dart over with Costelow’s conversion leaving his side trailing 21-7 at the interval.

Scarlets had the better of the second quarter and began the second half strongly but were error-ridden in the face of some determined tackling from the opposition.

Five minutes after the restart, their head coach, Dwayne Peel, brought on four replacements but against the run of play, Dragons extended their lead with a 45-metre penalty from O’Brien.

Scarlets also replaced Fifita to keep him fresh for next Saturday’s European Challenge Cup semi-final against Glasgow.

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Welsh internationals, Gareth Davies, and Jonny McNicholl, were further replacements for Scarlets and eventually their dominance was rewarded when Tuipulotu crashed over with 10 minutes remaining but Dragons had the final say when Hughes raced over in the final minute for the bonus-point try.

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