Pro14: Dragons 15-18 Benetton Rugby

By Nick WebbBBC Wales Sport
Pro14: Dragons v Benetton Rugby
Dragons (15) 15
Tries: Rosser, Belcher 2
Benetton Rugby (12) 18
Tries: Sgarbi, Ioane Con: McKinley Pen: Banks 2

Two second-half penalties from Benetton fly-half Marty Banks took his side to an 18-15 win over the Dragons.

The Welsh side remain without a Pro14 victory since September as Benetton recorded a fifth straight league win for the first time.

Hooker Liam Belcher, with two, and wing Jared Rosser scored Dragons' first-half tries.

Alberto Sgarbi and Monte Ioane crossed for Benetton before Banks' boot decided a try-less second half.

Benetton's late arrival

Benetton paid the price for a late arrival at the ground after being caught in motorway traffic, as the hosts struck twice in eight minutes.

Rosser ran on to a Zane Kirchner kick through after only a minute, following a burst from teenage debutant Rio Dyer.

Belcher was then driven over from a line-out close to the Italian line, only for Kirchner to see his kick charged down at the other end for Sgarbi to strike back straightaway.

Ian McKinley added the easy conversion.

Jared Rosser is tackled by Whetu Douglas
Jared Rosser, who scored the game's first try, is tackled by Whetu Douglas

Benetton's muscular forward play then produced a chance for Ioane to squeeze in at the corner for a 12-10 lead in a breathless opening.

Dragons eventually regained some momentum and although Rynard Landman failed to make the most of a fine break and Hallam Amos was held up over the line, Belcher's second close-range effort nudged them ahead 15-12 at the break.

The Dragons then messed up a kick to the corner while Rosser had a corner touchdown ruled out for a forward pass.

Visitors take control

Kiwi fly-half Banks landed penalties after 55 and 66 minutes as Benetton took control.

Kirchner was wide with a penalty shot to level the scores, but the Dragons' performance went downhill in the final quarter as they failed to produce an attacking edge.

Benetton hooker Hame Faiva almost sealed the result on 80 minutes.

But his scrambled attempt was disallowed for a double movement and the Welsh side were left with a losing bonus point, which came as little consolation for the home faithful.

Dragons full-back Hallam Amos told BBC Sport Wales:

"It was so frustrating, first 10 minutes we were really good, Rio Dyer looked lively in his first Pro14 game, and we scored a couple of tries.

"Then a charge-down, a couple of penalties kicked to the corner, (another) try and they were in the lead.

"I thought we did enough to win, we had our chances and couldn't convert which was almost more frustrating than not creating, it was one of those days.

"I prefer it (at full-back), I'm happy to play on the wing, but I think my attributes lend themselves more to 15 with the angles of running, so that's probably where I'll end up."

Dragons: Hallam Amos; Rio Dyer, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser; Zane Kirchner, Dan Babos; Sam Hobbs, Liam Belcher, Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies, Rynard Landman, Harri Keddie (captain), Aaron Wainwright, Lewis Evans.

Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Gerard Ellis, Leon Brown, Henri Williams, Lennon Greggains, Sarel Pretorius, Arwel Robson, Connor Edwards.

Benetton: Ian McKinley; Luca Sperandio, Tommaso Iannone, Luca Morisi, Monty Ioane; Marty Banks, Tito Tebaldi; Matteo Zanusso, Tomas Baravalle, Tiziano Pasquali, Marco Lazzaroni, Irne Herbst, Alberto Sgarbi (captain), Marco Barbini, Whetu Douglas.

Replacements: Hame Faiva, Federico Zani, Cherif Traore, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Giorgio Bronzini, Marco Zanon, Andrea Bronzini

Referee: Referee: Quinton Immelman (SARU)

Assistants: Ian Davies, Simon Rees (WRU)

TMO: Neil Hennessey (WRU)

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