European Challenge Cup: Brive 36-19 Newport Gwent Dragons

Ed Jackson carries the ball for Newport Gwent Dragons against Brive
Ed Jackson carries the attack to Brive for Newport Gwent Dragons
European Challenge Cup
Brive (22) 36
Tries: Bekoshvili 2, Ngwenya, Lavergne, Toetu Cons: Germain 4 Pens: Germain
NG Dragons (14) 19
Tries: Knoyle, Pretorius 2 Cons: O'Brien 2

Newport Gwent Dragons went out of the European Challenge Cup with a 36-19 defeat against pool leaders Brive in France.

The Welsh side went 15 points down inside quarter of an hour as Soso Bekoshvili and Taku Ngwenya.

Tries for Tavis Knoyle and Sarel Pretorius restricted the half-time deficit to 22-14.

Pretorius grabbed a breakaway second, but Brive's forwards drove over twice to seal the win.

Brive's victory owed much to their forward dominance as they drove the Dragons backwards in scrums and forced a string of penalties in the contact area.

The Dragons ended with no reward from any of their three away matches in the group.

They got off to the worst possible start as prop Bekoshvili drove over from a line-out after four minutes, while veteran American wing Taku Ngwenya finished off a fine move.

But Knoyle scored after a break by number eight Ed Jackson in the 20th minute, O'Brien converting.

Another sweeping move from half-way saw Ngwenya and powerhouse centre Seremaia Burotu put prop Damien Lavergne over to make it 22-7.

With home centre Romain Cabannes yellow-carded on his own line, the Dragons stayed in contention as replacement Pretorius - on for the injured Knoyle - sniped over from close range.

The South African grabbed a second with an opportunist effort from 70 metres at the start of the second half.

But Brive turned the screw with tries from by Bekoshvili and Patrick Toetu from driving mauls to end Dragons' hopes.

Brive ended as comfortable pool winners with 23 points.

Newport Gwent Dragons captain Lewis Evans told BBC Wales Sport:

"After about 60 minutes we were in with a chance to get the bonus-point win, unfortunately there were one or two errors in execution and it let a team like Brive, with a very good power game, pin us back in our own 22.

"Besides the first five minutes we were in the game, Sarel [Pretorius] coming off the bench injected a real intensity but it's one which did get away.

"It's a competition we've done well in in previous years, so it's a shame we can't progress any further.

"We thought we could go over [to face Enisei] and do a job quite comfortably in Russia but they did overpower us, while Worcester's scrum was outstanding and we paid the price there."

Brive: Gaetan Germain; Taku Ngwenya, Romain Cabannes, Seremaia Burotu, Guillaume Namy; Matthieu Ugalde, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Damien Lavergne, Thomas Acquier, Soso Bekoshvili, Jan Uys, Sisa Koyamaibole, Fabien Sanconnie, Poutasi Luafutu, Petrus Hauman (capt)

Replacements: Francois Da Ros, Kevin Buys, Patrick Toetu, Johan Snyman, Dominiko Waqaniborutu, Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, Christopher Tuatara, Benjamin Lapeyre.

NG Dragons: Carl Meyer; Adam Hughes, Sam Beard, Adam Warren, Pat Howard, Angus O'Brien, Tavis Knoyle; Sam Hobbs, Thomas Rhys Thomas, Lloyd Fairbrother, Nick Crosswell, Cory Hill, Lewis Evans (capt), Ollie Griffiths, Ed Jackson.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Craig Mitchell, Rynard Landman, Nic Cudd, Sarel Pretorius, Dorian Jones, Harri Keddie.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)

Assistant referees: Christopher Ridley (England), Clare Daniels (England)

Citing Commissioner: Wayne Sheridan (Ireland)

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