European Challenge Cup: Newport Gwent Dragons 22-7 Worcester Warriors

Dragons' Tavis Knoyle in action against Worcester
Tavis Knoyle came on as a replacement for Dragons in Saturday's defeat at Worcester
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Newport Gwent Dragons (10) 22
Tries: Knoyle, Morgan, Hobbs Cons: O'Brien 2 Pens: O'Brien
Worcester Warriors (7) 7
Tries: Braid Cons: Braid

Newport Gwent Dragons battled to a 22-7 victory over a brave 14-man Worcester side to keep their European Challenge Cup hopes alive.

The Warriors had flanker Sam Betty sent off for a punch after just 15 minutes.

Man of the match Tavis Knoyle, Tyler Morgan and Sam Hobbs crossed for the Welsh region with Angus O'Brien adding seven points.

Worcester's early opening try came from Connor Braid but they rarely threatened to repeat their dominance at Sixways.

The Dragons had to make four late changes in their squad because of illness, with international forwards T Rhys Thomas and Cory Hill among those dropping out, while the visitors had seven forwards on the bench.

Worcester struck inside two minutes as Canadian fly-half Braid was awarded the touchdown, converting it himself, following a kick and chase from halfway.

But Knoyle's corner scramble, converted by O'Brien, levelled the scores after a scorching break from Rhys Jones.

Betty's red card spurred the visitors on to the attack, with a sin-bin for home flanker Ollie Griffiths for collapsing a maul levelling the numbers temporarily.

O'Brien's 25th-minute penalty was the only other score of a scrappy first half to nudge the Dragons ahead 10-7.

The stalemate was broken as Wales centre Morgan cut through to score on 50 minutes, moments after coming on for a limping Jones.

Prop Hobbs then drove over from close quarters with O'Brien's conversion putting the Dragons three scores ahead at 22-7 going into the last quarter.

Adam Warren twice crossed the line before being recalled for knock-ons, while replacement Sarel Pretorius could not finish a late break as the clock passed 80 minutes.

It left the Dragons short of a bonus point despite their second-half dominance, but still second in the group on points difference.

Brive top the group after a bonus-point 38-18 win over Russian side Enisei-STM, putting the French club five points ahead of the Dragons and Enisei with two games to play.

Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones told BBC Wales Sport:

"We were disappointed at half-time but the second half performance was reasonable. Disappointed not to get that [bonus-point] try, Adam Warren did score but you've got to celebrate the wins.

"We've got to go the hard way [to the quarter-finals}, we still have to beat Enisei at home but we need to be in a position to go to Brive and have everything to play for."

Newport Gwent Dragons: Rhys Jones; Tom Prydie, Sam Beard, Adam Warren, Ashton Hewitt; Angus O'Brien, Tavis Knoyle; Sam Hobbs, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Rynard Landman, Nick Crosswell, Ollie Griffiths, Lewis Evans (capt).

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Leon Brown, Joe Davies, Harrison Keddie, Sarel Pretorius, Tyler Morgan, James Benjamin.

Worcester Warriors: Josh Adams; Ben Howard, Max Stelling, Ryan Mills (capt), Dean Hammond; Connor Braid, George de Cothi; Ryan Bower, Jack Singleton, Mike Daniels, Will Spencer, Christian Scotland-Williamson, Sam Betty, Marco Mama, Matt Cox.

Replacements: Matti Williams, Derrick Appiah, Nick Schonert, Andrew Kitchener, Huw Taylor, Charlie Hewitt, Sam Ripper-Smith, Jamie Shillcock.

Referee: David Wilkinson Assistants: Kieran Barry, Oisin Quinn (all IRFU)

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