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Dragons fail to profit from Lee-Lo red card as Cardiff hold sway

By PA

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The Dragons failed to make the most of a fast start and a red card for Cardiff centre Rey Lee-Lo as they were beaten 31-29 by their Welsh rivals in the United Rugby Championship. In an entertaining encounter, Dai Young’s hosts lost Lee-Lo in the second half but still came out on top, with home tries coming from Lloyd Williams, Hallam Amos and a penalty score.

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The Dragons were dangerous in the first quarter but could not maintain that pressure despite scoring through Taylor Davies, Mesake Doge, Rio Dyer and Joe Maksymiw. There was consolation for Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan as late efforts from Dyer and Maksymiw ensured two losing bonus points, but it could have been more.

Both teams were without their Wales internationals who are preparing for the start of the autumn Tests and it robbed Cardiff and the Dragons of ten and six players respectively. The Dragons won possession back off Sam Davies’ kick-off and went straight on the attack, with hooker Taylor Davies the one to crash over. Sam Davies converted for what was a perfect Dragons start.

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Jarrod Evans responded with a penalty for Cardiff, but the Dragons looked dangerous. Full-back Jordan Williams broke clear in electric fashion and it took a swinging arm from Cardiff scrum-half Lloyd Williams to bring him down. The Cardiff man was justly yellow carded.

Jordan Williams went for the line when there was a three-man overlap outside him, but his profligacy did not matter as Dragons prop Doge went over anyway. Davies made it 14-3 as Lloyd Williams returned to the field to immediately make amends for his yellow with the first Cardiff try. The Wales cap reached for the line and just about made it.

Referee Ben Whitehouse consulted TMO Sean Brickell, who decided the score was fair and Evans added the conversion. Evans kicked a penalty – Davies missed in response – but Cardiff were being hit by injuries. Max Llewelyn, Corey Domachowski and Jason Harries were all forced off in the first half. Harries was replaced by Dan Fish, who retired from professional rugby last week but was called upon to fill the bench here due to absences.

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Amos, who will retire from rugby at the end of the season at just 27 to pursue a career in medicine, had earlier been denied but was not the second time around. Lloyd Williams kicked ahead from the base of a ruck knowing he had an advantage and Amos made sure the gamble paid off.

Cardiff had perhaps been lucky to lead at the break and they were helped at the start of the second half by a Dragons try from Ben Fry being ruled out. Whitehouse rewarded Cardiff’s forward dominance with a penalty try after a home driving maul showed no sign of being stopped. The game looked like it might change in the 53rd minute when Whitehouse and Brickell together decided to red-card Lee-Lo for a shoulder to the head of Sam Davies, who kicked the resulting penalty.

It was disappointing then for the Dragons to immediately concede three points to Evans, give away a penalty for being offside from the restart and then watch Evans nail a monster effort from halfway. Dyer did dot down in the corner as the Dragons made the most of their extra man and Maksymiw completed the scoring, but Ryan’s men still fell short of victory.

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Dragons fail to profit from Lee-Lo red card as Cardiff hold sway

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