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Newport Gwent Dragons (15) 22 - 23 (10) Leinster Rugby
Rodney Parade, Newport
Att: 5,442
Referee: Malcolm Changleng (SRU)
Friday, 13th April 2007, 19:10

As the Magners League moves on towards the business end of the season, Leinster travelled to South Wales to attempt to put an end to their run of poor away form. With only one home game remaining, Leinster know that the remaining games in the Principality will make or break their title ambitions.

Dragons for their part went into the game eyeing their neighbours Scarlets as the third Welsh team, and they started well. Ceri Sweeney despatched a penalty after Contepomi had missed an earlier effort for the visitors. It got worse for Leinster a couple of minutes later when Steve Jones went over for five points.

Leinster fought back, refusing the posts and choosing to take a tap penalty. It proved to be the correct decision and following Gordon D'Arcy's run, Easterby sent Brian Blaney in under the posts. Contepomi converted to cut the deficit to one point.

It wasn't long before Blaney's night went from the sublime to the ridiculous as the hooker was sin - binned shortly after, for punching in a ruck. The incident looked tame, but the touch judge recommended a yellow card and referee Changleng duly obliged. He would not have used his cards for the last time.

Dragons capitalised on their man advantage shortly afterwards, with Adam Black crashing over for a try that Sweeney converted. Shortly before half time, Contepomi scored a penalty to ensure that Dragons lead was cut to five at the break.

Leinster emerged for the second half, knowing that recent games had seen them fail to perform in the second period. The match was cat and mouse however for twenty minutes after half time and neither team altered the scoreboard.

Reggie Corrigan left the field to be replaced just after the 50 minute mark. The Greystones man was making his 136th appearance for Leinster and in doing so had surpassed Shane Byrne's appearance record.

Just before an hour of play Contepomi took an opportunity to cut Dragons lead as he sent over a penalty. Ten minutes later Contepomi struck another penalty, and Leinster held the lead for the first time in the match. The match was turning into a fractious affair with sin-binnings for Gough for a stamp and Ceri Sweeney for a high tackle. Sweeney's tackle saw Shane Horgan lose his head and his shirt in the ensuing altercation.

Chris Whitaker, who had come on for Guy Easterby who left with a serious looking injury on forty minutes, looked to have secured the points for Leinster as he darted in under the posts following a mazy run by Contepomi. The Argentinian's conversion made the score 23-15.

There was still time for Dragons to score a converted try, Aled Brew putting in Adam Black for his second try. A nerve jangling finale was in store, but Leinster held on to impose a first defeat on the Dragons in ten home games, and cling on to top spot in the Magners League. Leinster may well have to repeat the trick if they are to be there come the final day.

Magners Man of the Match: Adam Black
leinsterfans.com Man of the Match: Jamie Heaslip

Match Stats
  Newport Gwent Dragons vs Leinster Rugby
Tries S Jones,
Black (2)
  Blaney,
Whitaker
Conversions Sweeney, A Thomas   Contepomi (2)
Penalties Sweeney   Contepomi (3)
Teams Martyn Thomas 15 Girvan Dempsey
Gareth Wyatt 14 Shane Horgan
Paul Emerick 13 Gordon D'Arcy
Nathan Brew 12 Robert Kearney
Aled Brew 11 Denis Hickie
Ceri Sweeney 10 Felipe Contepomi
Gareth Cooper 9 Guy Easterby
Adam Black 1 Reggie Corrigan
Steve Jones 2 Brian Blaney
Lee Harrison 3 Will Green
Ian Gough 4 Trevor Hogan
Luke Charteris 5 Malcolm O'Kelly
Colin Charvis 6 Stephen Keogh
Jamie Ringer 7 Keith Gleeson
Michael Owen 8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements A. Thomas for M. Thomas (57),
Daly for Jones (63),
Thomas for Harrison (12),
Sidoli for Charteris (73),
Bearman for Thomas (77).
  Whitaker for Easterby (40),
Wright for Corrigan (36),
Finegan for Hogan (67).
Sin-Bin Emerick,
Sweeney,
Gough
  Blaney

by Sarah Lennon, © 2007-04-16

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