United Rugby Championship: Dragons 20-5 Ospreys - Hosts gain rare home win against 14 men

Ospreys wing Mat Protheroe being led off the field after being shown a red card against Dragons
Ospreys wing Mat Protheroe being led off the field after being shown a red card against Dragons

United Rugby Championship

Dragons (13) 20

Try: Roberts, Dyer Cons: C Evans 2 Pens: C Evans 2

Ospreys (5) 5

Try: Protheroe

Dragons celebrated a first win at Rodney Parade for more than a year by beating 14-man Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Ospreys wing Mat Protheroe scored a try before being sent off in the 28th minute for a dangerous tackle on Dragons fly-half Will Reed.

Dragons were trailing 5-3 at the time and took advantage with tries from Bradley Roberts and Rio Dyer.

Former Ospreys full-back Cai Evans added 10 points.

In front of a crowd of 6,277, it marked a first Dragons win of the 2023-24 season after four previous defeats, which had included three home losses for Dai Flanagan's side.

Dragons had not won at Rodney Parade for 385 days since the league victory against Zebre in October 2022.

The hosts' head of performance Dan Baugh might find himself facing disciplinary action after putting his hands on referee Whitehouse.

Tensions were running high in the first half with Whitehouse warning Baugh about the manner in which he had spoken to the official.

Baugh responded by putting his hand on the referee with Whitehouse responding by saying "Don't touch me" before banning the former Canada flanker from coming onto the field for the rest of the game.

On the field, full-back Evans was named player-of-the-match while Wales wing Dyer produced an outstanding performance in front of the watching Warren Gatland and hooker Roberts demonstrated his skills after being overlooked for the World Cup.

It was a chastening evening for Toby Booth's Ospreys side who suffered a third league defeat in five games.

Basham out, Wainwright fit

The home side were missing the suspended Taine Basham and injured Dan Lydiate but fellow Wales back-row Aaron Wainwright was passed fit.

There were six Dragons changes with a return for flanker Ollie Griffiths and lock Ben Carter and a first start for wing Ewan Rosser, replacing his older brother Jared.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams took over the captaincy with centre Steff Hughes on the replacements bench. George North, who has been linked with a move away from Ospreys next season, lined up in the centre.

It was Protheroe who scored the opening try in the 6th minute after collecting a chip kick from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams. It was to prove Ospreys' only points.

After a penalty had already been awarded against Ospreys, visiting prop Tom Botha cleared Carter out of a ruck with the Dragons and Wales lock forced off the field.

Evans was causing his former side problems with a range of searching grubber kicks and also slotted over an opening penalty to reduce the deficit.

There was a sickening head collision between Protheroe and Reed with the Ospreys wing dismissed for the challenge, although the Dragons fly-half was not taken off for a head injury assessment (HIA).

After the Whitehouse and Baugh confrontation, Wales captain Jac Morgan came on as a replacement for injured Ospreys skipper Justin Tipuric. It was Morgan's first involvement since the World Cup and his first Ospreys appearance since January.

Dragons hooker Bradley Roberts evades the tackle of Ospreys defence to score
Dragons hooker Bradley Roberts evades the tackle of Ospreys defence to score

Evans slotted over a penalty before a brilliant individual effort from Roberts resulted in the home side's opening try. It capped an excellent first half for Roberts with the home scrum also dominating.

Evans converted to give Dragons a 13-5 lead but missed an early second-half penalty attempt to increase the deficit.

A searing break from home captain Williams put Ospreys on the back foot but the visitors repelled the pressure.

Ospreys' indiscipline continued with the side reduced to 13 men with wing Luke Morgan shown a yellow card for a dangerous tip tackle on Dyer.

A loose Jack Walsh kick was pounced on by Dyer who produced a sizzling 60-metre counter-attack but the try-scoring chance was squandered when Aneurin Owen's pass to Rosser went astray.

Dyer demonstrated how it was done by finishing a flowing move for his first try for 11 games for Dragons or Wales as he took advantage of the space left by Morgan.

Wing Daniel Kasende became the first of three South African players on-loan from Cheetahs to play for Ospreys when he came onto the field late in the second half but had little chance to make an impression.

Fireworks greeted the overdue Dragons win in Newport and the side deserved the rousing ovation in front of their loyal and sometimes long-suffering supporters.

Dragons: Cai Evans; Rio Dyer, Sio Tomkinson, Aneurin Owen, Ewan Rosser; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (capt); Rhodri Jones, Bradley Roberts, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ben Carter, Sean Lonsdale, Ollie Griffiths, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Aki Seiuli, Chris Coleman, George Nott, Ryan Woodman, Dane Blacker, Steff Hughes, Ashton Hewitt.

Ospreys: Max Nagy; Luke Morgan, George North, Owen Watkin, Mat Protheroe; Jack Walsh, Reuben Morgan-Williams; Nicky Smith, Dewi Lake, Tom Botha, Rhys Davies, Adam Beard, James Ratti, Justin Tipuric (capt), Morgan Morris.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Rhys Henry, Ben Warren, James Fender, Jac Morgan, Luke Davies, Daniel Kasende, Luke Scully.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Assistant referees: Mike English & Gwyn Morris (WRU)

TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

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