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DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34 As it happened

Gareth Denman celebrates his first competitive Saints try with James Wilson © Linda Dawson

Match Report DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34 As it happened

The Saints took a big step towards a home LV= Cup semi-final with a bonus point win in remarkable conditions at Newport. Here's how they weathered the storm for maximum reward.

KO
An impressive burst from the fire cannons as Dragons emerge. They'll kick off, playing with the elements right behind their back...
DRAGONS 0 SAINTS 0

2mins
Conditions have taken a real turn for the worse and after a bright start from the hosts, Fotuali’i’s pass evades Dickson. Dragons will put into the 5m scrum.
DRAGONS 0 SAINTS 0

5mins
Saints concede a penalty at the game’s first scrum but with Dragons tapping and going, a few stern tackles later Fotuali’i atones for his loose pass, winning a penalty at the breakdown. He goes quickly too and with the chase on Ken’s kick a good one, they’ll throw into the line on halfway.
DRAGONS 0 SAINTS 0

7mins
Huge shove from the Saints eight at the next set piece. “A great scrum,” Dorian West says looking on and Dickson clips over the 35m penalty.
DRAGONS 0 SAINTS 3

11mins
If you’re watching this game from your sofa, you’re probably feeling pretty happy with yourself. Here in Newport on the other hand, there won’t be many people enjoying their afternoon so far. After a blow to the head, Pewtner is one of those and he trudges off looking dazed.
DRAGONS 0 SAINTS 3

12mins
Harrison thunders into a tackle but he’s a little too eager and catches his man high. A brief advantage comes to nothing and Tovey nudges over helped by the considerable breeze.
DRAGONS 3 SAINTS 3

14mins
That breeze now causes havoc as Wilson sends one skyward. van Velze is deceived and overruns it before forwards are called offside on halfway. Should be well within Tovey’s range with and the wind carries it over the crossbar… just!
DRAGONS 6 SAINTS 3

19mins
Dickson sends a penalty into Dragons’ 22 and the Saints forwards are keeping it tight - even a 2-3m pass will deviate in these conditions. Another break in play though and this game is far from flowing. Hopefully better to come but given the forecast, don’t hold your breath!
DRAGONS 6 SAINTS 3

20mins
Saints are putting Jones under a huge amount of pressure around the fringes. A second box kick of the afternoon from the scrum-half is charged down, but the bounce marginally goes in Dragons’s favour. More pressure forces the hosts back over their own line though and now Saints have a 5m scrum to work with.
DRAGONS 6 SAINTS 3

22mins
SAINTS TRY! The Dragons pack disintegrates at the very first attempt and referee Small has no hesitation awarding Saints a penalty try. Dickson adds the extras.
DRAGONS 6 SAINTS 10

24mins
No doubt that the Saints are enjoying the upper hand in the tight and in the set piece here at Rodney Parade. Meanwhile, Dragons have another penalty from long range, but Tovey loses his perfect record with one that falls just below the bar.
DRAGONS 6 SAINTS 10

27mins
van Velze far to keen to wrestle his way through at the breakdown and having dragged down Jones, another penalty is kicked after a quick word in the South African’s ear. Saints will have to get on top of this penalty count.
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 10

28mins
SAINTS TRY! Another scrum marches forward but Fotuali’i decides it’s time to play ball. It’s a decision that pays off too, the scrum-half dances through a gap after Harrison’s battering carry and Autagavaia scooping up the offload to slide into the left corner. Little bit of class from the Samoan 9 there though.
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

31mins
A first in Saints colours for the man they call ‘Fats’ and a simple little run in courtesy of his international team mate. Autagavaia has gone looking for plenty of work on the left today and has got his reward.
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

34mins
Much like van Velze a few minutes ago, Harrison gets on the wrong side of the referee and a ruck, pulling Jones back. It’s a yellow card for the flanker but a penalty from Tovey that strikes a post. Unbelievable scenes here as hail and wind batters the pitch! Never seen anything quite like this at a rugby game and the players are leaving the field!
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

35mins
For an idea of how severe the sudden hailstorm was, check out our video over at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialNorthamptonSaints! ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ now rings out over the stadium PA!
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

35mins
The pitch hasn’t taken it at all well either. The storm may pass, but the amount of water on the field will certainly make this game even more of a dog fight than it already is! Saints re-emerge and the game resumes with a scrum…
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

37mins
Some really enterprising stuff from the Saints, led by Fotuali’i who taps and goes on another of his mazy runs. While it takes the Saints over halfway, to few in lime have kept up with the move though and Day is isolated by Dragons tacklers.
DRAGONS 9 SAINTS 15

40mins
Dragons looking to flex their muscles against the 14-man defence and it takes a really good tackle from Waller to halt the charge as a maul splinters. A few drives later the ball is bundled over the line and the TMO takes his time before awarding a try. Tovey makes it a seven-pointer and Dragons go in with a narrow lead.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 15

HT
Odd half of rugby and another scrappy one at that, following in the footsteps of Saints’ wins over Quins, Ospreys and Castres. Set-piece dominance should have them in front but they are falling foul of referee Andrew Small far too often in defence and that has allowed Dragons to snatch the lead with Harrison in the bin.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 15

40mins
Dragons have emerged for the second half in black and purple, rather than the black, yellow and red of the first half. The Saints have a few new shirts too, albeit the same colour. It’s not a good start for them either, Dicksons smoking the restart through the dead ball area at the cost of a scrum on halfway. Clear indication that the wind is still up there.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 15

43mins
A horrible sliced kick from Tovey gifts Saints a lineout on the Dragons 22 and Day is at the head of a steady maul. Looked like it had the ability to go all the way but with Dragons sacking it, a penalty goes to the corner. More of the same and the Saints will score again here.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 15

45mins
SAINTS TRY! That’s exactly what happens, Day again the target at the lineout and at the head of a maul that carries Haywood over. The writing was on the wall as soon as Saints went into the corner and Dickson drills the extras through.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 22

48mins
What’s that bright thing in the sky?! It burns!!
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 22

49mins
Scrum penalty number four and Saints are already sniffing a bonus. Wilson guides a long one to touch and, you’ve guessed it, Day tees up a maul. Stay tuned…
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 22

51mins
SAINTS TRY!! Not from the maul though! Another go at the lineout crabs sideways and loses control, allowing Dragons to wrap up van Velze for a scrum.  Having won it back against the head though, Saints run it down the short side and Dickson feeds Denman for a simple run in and the bonus score.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

55mins
Spare a thought for Phil Dowson. Designated ball spotter for Dickson and laying in a touchline puddle, the Saints skipper watches on as the extras drift wide. Wet.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

60mins
Talei has been brilliant for the hosts and it’s the big number 8 who gets them going on a much needed charge. Replacement wing Wardle carries the move into Saints’ 22 and the concession of a penalty allows Burton to go to the corner.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

62mins
Strong counter drive from Saints and when Burton is forced to kick through, Autagavaia pins them all the way back to halfway. They’re looking to pick up the momentum though and when a lineout is turned over Talei goes through like a wrecking ball once more. Rees thinks he’s through on a darting run and though Waldouck prevents the score with a tap tackle, penalty advantage is quickly coming.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

65mins
Four tries to one in the Saints’ favour but if the hosts can capitalise on this period of dominance, this game is far from over. Another charge falls beside the posts and referee Small is checking with the TMO again, possible grounding against the post.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

65mins
Saints changes - McMillan, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Parkins and Nutley on for Haywood, Waller, Denman and Harrison. A debut for Hobbs-Awoyemi and Parkins as the referee calls NO try.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

66mins
An important period for the Saints to survive there. More changes as Dowson departs for Williams, Dickson then punting Dragons right into their own 22 with an excellent kick.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 27

68mins
SAINTS TRY!! That should be game over. Tried and tested formula, Day taking a 7m lineout and van Velze the beneficiary in the corner. They aren’t making these kicks easy for Dickson but it hasn’t mattered, Saints turning the power on at will and dealing in tries. Great strike this time though and Dickson is back across halfway as it sails through.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

71mins
A change of half-backs for the Saints, Olver and Alex Day on for Dickson and Fotuali’i. Dragons now looking for a little consolation as their LV= Cup campaign fizzes out.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

73mins
Nobby is now in fine form watching on with a win in the bag for his side. Waldouck is tackled going through a gap and as he falls into a puddle, the Saints forward coach shouts: “He’s going to drown there!” Banter o’clock with the Saints home and dry.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

75mins
No bombing or heavy petting! Wardle pounces on a loose ball and hacks upfield a few times. It’s the Dragon against Ken in a huge post side flooding and the TMO says Ken got enough on the ball for 5m scrum to be the decision.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

FT
A young Saints side holds off Dragons pressure and they’re now playing the game in the right areas of the field. There’s time for one more scrum and Day kicks off to end an eventful game to say the least. Well closed out by the Saints.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

FT
A comfortable win in the end, Saints tightening up their penalty count after the break and maintaining their dominance up front to leave themselves in a great position for LV= Cup qualification. A Bonus win next week at the Gardens will guarantee them a home semi, though four points could well be enough against Saracens.
DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

TIMELINE
8mins SAINTS Pen Dickson 0-3
12mins DRAGONS Pen Tovey 3-3
15mins DRAGONS Pen Tovey 6-3
22mins SAINTS Try Penalty Con Dickson
25mins DRAGONS Miss pen Tovey
27mins DRAGONS Pen Tovey 9-10
28mins SAINTS Try Autagavaia 9-15
34mins DRAGONS Miss pen Tovey
40mins DRAGONS Try L Jones Con Tovey 16-15
HALF-TIME DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 15
45mins SAINTS Try Haywood Con Dickson 16-22
55mins SAINTS Try Denman 16-27
69mins SAINTS Try van Velze Con Dickson 16-34
FULL-TIME DRAGONS 16 SAINTS 34

DRAGONS: D Evans; Pewtner, Leach, Smith, Harries; Yovey, L Jones; Price, Dee, Buck, Hill, A Jones, L Evans (capt), Benjamin, Talei

Reps - Thomas, O Evans, Mills, Screech, Groves, Rees, Burton, Wardle

SAINTS: Wilson; K Pisi, Stephenson, Waldouck, Autagavaia; G Dickson, Fotuali’i; E Waller, Haywood, Denman, Verbakel, C Day, Harrison, Dowson (capt), van Velze

Reps - McMillan, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Parkins, Nutley, Williams, A Day, Olver, G Pisi

LV= Man of the Match: Christian Day

Referee: Andrew Small

Att: 6,011

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