Dragons drop Edinburgh
PRO12 SUNDAY WRAP: Flyhalf Angus O'Brien won the battle against his former mentor, Jason Tovey, as Newport Gwent Dragons ran out 27-19 winners over Edinburgh in an entertaining match at Rodney Parade.
O'Brien crossed the whitewash in the first half, notched two penalties and converted all three of his side's tries as they came from behind to record their third win of the season and leapfrog their opponents in the table.
Tovey, returning to Rodney Parade to face his former side for the first time since his move north last March, managed two conversions himself as the visitors also dotted down three times but O'Brien's two penalties ultimately made the difference.
Edinburgh started the brighter of the two sides and duly took the lead after a flowing passing move inside 10 minutes. Michael Allen was instrumental in the move, first with a break through the middle, before he later helped switch the play with Tovey floating a ball over to the right for Ben Toolis to put in Nasi Manu in the corner. Tovey then converted for a 7-0 lead.
The hosts reduced the deficit to four shortly afterwards when O'Brien stepped up from being caught late by flank Magnus Bradbury to nail his penalty effort. He was off target with another effort four minutes later but it was soon forgotten as the Dragons got their first try of the afternoon.
Rhys Thomas stole the ball from the Edinburgh line-out with the Dragons then launching a counterattack which was finished off in style when Carl Meyer found the gap to sprint in under the posts, with O'Brien's conversion taking the score to 10-7.
The hosts had their tails up and after more sustained pressure on the Edinburgh line, Sam Hobbs bounced his way off the bodies in his way to cross for Dragons' second try of the match with O'Brien adding the extras.
But it seemed that whatever the Dragons could do, Edinburgh could do too as the visitors brought up their second try through Chris Dean. Allen again played a key role, running onto the ball at speed to keep the move alive, before Dean eventually received the ball and twisted his way over.
It was all about the tries and O'Brien duly brought up try number five of the half on 27 minutes, as he exchanged plays with Sam Beard before running onto the latter's kick through to go over in the far corner.
The former Wales Under-20 player then converted to put his side 24-12 up going into the break.
After the break-neck speed of the first-half, the start of the second 40 minutes proved to be a stop-start affair. The Dragons did look like getting close to a fourth try on 53 minutes but James Thomas got penalised for entering a ruck illegally from the side and Edinburgh cleared.
Shortly afterwards, Tovey was replaced by fit-again Scotland international Duncan Weir as Edinburgh looked to shuffle things around. And it appeared to work as the Scot played a crucial role in the visitors' third try on 65 minutes, switching the play to stretch the Dragons' defence before Fijian Viliame Mata powered over close to a ruck.
Weir converted to make it a five-point game with 14 minutes left on the clock. With their tales up, Edinburgh went in search of a fourth score, kicking to the corner for a line-out but the Dragons cleared.
And then it was the hosts' turn to attack with O'Brien trying his luck with a drop goal attempt. It was off target but play was brought back for an earlier infringement and he made no mistake from the kicking tee this time to take the scores to 27-19 with just minutes left on the clock.
For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries: Meyer, Hobbs, O'Brien
Cons: O'Brien 3
Pens: O'Brien 2
Tries: Manu, Dean, Mata
Cons: Tovey, Weir
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Angus O'Brien, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (captain), 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Phil Price, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones, 23 Tyler Morgan.
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (captain), 1 Jack Cosgrove.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Glenn Bryce.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)