Pro12: Newport Gwent Dragons 25-22 Leinster
|Dragons (8) 25|
|Tries: TR Thomas, Dixon, Benjamin 2 Con: Tovey Pen: Tovey|
|Leinster (15) 22|
|Tries: Te'o 2, Gopperth Cons: Gopperth 2 Pen: Gopperth|
James Benjamin inspired Newport Gwent Dragons to a thrilling Pro12 victory at home to Leinster.
The replacement back-row came on after half-time and was instrumental as the Welsh region recovered from 22-8 down.
Two tries from Ben Te'o and one from Jimmy Gopperth put Leinster in charge.
Rhys Thomas had gone over early for Dragons, before Jack Dixon started the second half fightback and Benjamin added the coup de grace to put a huge dent in Leinster's play-off hopes.
The Irish side did claim a losing bonus point at Rodney Parade but are now eight points behind fourth-placed Ospreys with three rounds of the regular season remaining.
Dragons kept their slim hopes of making seventh place - and the chance to win a place in the European Champions Cup next season - with their victory and are now seven points behind Scarlets, who they play next at the Millennium Stadium on 25 April.
The win over Leinster means Dragons have done the double over the Irishmen this season for the first time in the history between the two sides.
The Welsh regions surprised many by beating Leinster 16-14 at the RDS Arena in Dublin on 15 February, so they were gunning for a significant double before kick-off.
Dragons took an early advantage when Jason Tovey opened their account with a 30-metre penalty before hooker Thomas was driven over for an unconverted try from an attacking line-out.
Only a fantastic tackle by young centre Tyler Morgan kept Te'o at bay as Leinster took the upper hand, but the New Zealand centre was not to be denied for long as he burst past Dixon from a Eoin Redden pass at a ruck.
Gopperth, who had struck an earlier penalty, then ran away from home prop Phil Price and scrum-half Jonathan Evans to cross and put the Irishmen into the interval 15-8 ahead.
Ten minutes into the second period Te'o struck again as he surged through a gap between Morgan and fly-half Dorian Jones to go under the posts for a converted try.
However, the Dragons hit back when they reached the Leinster goal-line and Dixon drove over under a pile of bodies, with Tovey converting.
Leinster were then a man down when Te'o was sin-binned for a high tackle on Dixon and that allowed the Dragons to build even more pressure.
Wales and British and Irish Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau charged down an attempted clearance by Redden, allowing replacement Benjamin to drive over.
And Benjamin put the Welshmen into the lead and gave them a bonus point when he went over at the left corner to seal a famous result.
NG Dragons: Jason Tovey; Tom Prydie, Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos; Dorian Jones, Jonathan Evans; Phil Price, T Rhys Thomas (capt), Brok Harris, James Thomas, Cory Hill, Nick Croswell, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.
Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Luke Garrett, Dan Way, Matthew Screech, James Benjamin, Luc Jones, Pat Leach, Geraint Rhys Jones.
Leinster: Zane Kirchner; Dave Kearney, Ben Te'o, Gordon D'Arcy, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Richard Strauss, Martin Moore, Ben Marshall, Mike McCarthy, Dominic Ryan, Shane Jennings (capt), Jack Conan.
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Michael Bent, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Noel Reid, Luke Fitzgerald.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Sean Brickell (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Dennis Jones (WRU)
TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU)