Pro14: Dragons 17-22 Cardiff Blues
|Pro14: Dragons v Cardiff Blues|
|Dragons (3) 17|
|Tries: Fairbrother, penalty try Con: Henson Pen: Henson|
|Cardiff Blues (8) 22|
|Tries: Summerhill, Lee-Lo, James Cons: Anscombe 2 Pens: Anscombe|
Cardiff Blues completed a nervy Pro14 league double over the Dragons in the Rodney Parade rain.
Tries from Aled Summerhill, Rey Lee-Lo and Tom James had appeared to set up an easy Blues win.
Dragons replied with a try by replacement prop Lloyd Fairbrother and a penalty try before Blues - who had Kirby Myhill in the sin bin - held on in a frantic finish.
The hosts' three-year Welsh derby league losing streak is now 18 games.
Dragons also saw Wales wing Hallam Amos limp off late on.
Blues have won their last six encounters against the Dragons and it was a fifth league win this season for Danny Wilson's men.
Dragons have not won a league Welsh derby since 26 December 2014, when they defeated the Blues 23-17 at the Arms Park.
The Newport-based side might have made some eye-catching signings for 2018-19, such Ross Moriarty and Richard Hibbard, but have only won two of 11 Pro14 games this season - although their consolation here was a losing bonus point.
There were some late changes to both sides with Dragons prop Fairbrother dropping to the replacements bench after the birth of his child.
Nicky Thomas, on-loan from the Scarlets, made his regional debut. Teenage scrum-half Dan Babos pulled out with a calf strain with Charlie Davies starting.
The Blues also made a front-row change with Keiron Assiratti promoted to start after Georgian prop Anton Peikrishvili pulled out with a hamstring injury.
Wales prop Scott Andrews, who spent time on loan with Bath earlier in the season, came on to Blues' replacements bench for the first time this season.
Prop Jenkins injured on return
The Blues scrum was penalised three times before Brad Thyer was yellow-carded in the 15th minute.
This saw the introduction of Gethin Jenkins for only the third time this season and his first appearance since mid-November.
But Jenkins only lasted four minutes, after Wales' record cap holder suffered a head injury while making a tackle.
There were uncontested scrums until Thyer returned from his 10 minutes in the sin bin, during which the hosts failed to score.
Anscombe loses his shirt
Gareth Anscombe temporarily losing his shirt in a tackle was the most entertaining thing that happened in a turgid opening 25 minutes.
The Wales back broke the deadlock in the 28th minute with a penalty and Blues opened the try scoring through Summerhill following an incisive break from wing Owen Lane, who powered through an attempted Gavin Henson tackle.
The try was given by the TMO after the ball was ruled to have come off Dragons lock Joe Davies' head.
Anscombe missed the conversion before Henson slotted the hosts' opening penalty just before half-time.
The visitors looked the more creative and scored the second try via Lee-Lo after Henson had been caught out from a pass by Tomos Williams.
Blues' dominance in the third quarter was typified by the third try, replacement wing James sliding over following an outside break from Matthew Morgan.
Dragons responded with a converted try for new father Fairbrother, on as a replacement for debutant Nicky Thomas.
The hosts also earned a penalty try from a driving maul - with Blues' replacement hooker Myhill also sin-binned - reducing the deficit to five points with seven minutes remaining.
The home side lost the injured Amos in the final exchanges and the Blues held on to win in front of a sell-out 8,722 crowd.
Rival coaches Wilson and Jackman react
Blues head coach Danny Wilson: "The important thing was that we came away with the win.
"It is a tough venue and the Dragons have played well at home for a long time.
"There is a lot of chat about the Dragons developing and moving in the right direction.
"It was an ugly last 20 minutes, but to score three tries in these conditions and get the win was the important bit."
Dragons boss Bernard Jackman: "I thought Cardiff Blues deserved to win. We were not good enough in the first 55 minutes and we need to ask questions why we made so many errors and lacked that urgency.
"The bench made an impact and put a hand up to start against the Ospreys because the starting side didn't do the job we asked them to do.
"It is an opportunity missed for us although at least we showed a bit of character and our fans respect that.
"But that first 55 minutes is not how we want to portray ourselves and nowhere near where we want to be."
Dragons: Hallam Amos; Ashton Hewitt, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Pat Howard; Gavin Henson, Charlie Davies; Sam Hobbs, Elliot Dee, Nicky Thomas, Joe Davies, Cory Hill (capt), Aaron Wainwright, James Benjamin, James Sheekey.
Replacements: Liam Belcher, Thomas Davies, Lloyd Fairbrother, Rynard Landman, Ben Roach, Sarel Pretorius, Angus O'Brien, Jared Rosser.
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Garyn Smith, Rey Lee-Lo, Aled Summerhill; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Matthew Rees (capt), Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Andrews, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans, Tom James.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (WRU), Adam Jones (WRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)
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