RaboDirect Pro12: Dragons hold out against Scarlets in thrilling Welsh derby
Last Updated: September 20, 2013 10:52pm
Dan Evans: Starred for the Dragons as they held on to win a thrilling Welsh derby
Newport Gwent Dragons continued their fine start to the RaboDirect Pro12 campaign by securing a 23-16 win in a fiercely contested Welsh derby against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade.
Both sides had their periods of dominance with Dragons prop Phil Price and full-back Dan Evans crossing for the home region while centre Scott Williams led the Scarlets comeback.
Wales international winger Tom Prydie dissected the uprights with two long-range penalties, before fly-half Jason Tovey added both conversions and another three-pointer for the hosts.
Wales outside-half Rhys Priestland kicked three Scarlets penalties and converted Williams' try but, despite an intense periord of pressure in the final throes, the Scarlets were unable to find the converted try necessary to win.
British and Irish Lions stars Toby Faletau and Jonathan Davies lined up against each other as they returned to regional action for the first time on Friday evening.
Former Wales cap Prydie was clinical from the off, firing home a 45-metre penalty to get the Dragons on the scoreboard, before almost scoring in the right corner when he sprinted 35 metres but was found to have put a foot in touch just inches short.
Faletau found fault in the Scarlets defence moments later when Priestland's attempted clearance from inside his own try area was charged down by the Lions back-row but only for the ball to fly dead.
But the Dragons would not be denied and, after heavy pressure inside the visitor's 22, the ball found its way wide on the left where scrum-half Richie Rees found Price to drive over.
Tovey converted but eventually the Scarlets opened their account as Priestland was gifted an easy three points.
Almost directly from the restart of Priestland's penalty, the Dragons had the Scarlets back on the rack as Evans completed a fine team play to score, with Tovey converting.
Priestland added a second Dragons penalty before the Scarlets danced down field and pressurised the home side as centres Davies and Williams combined, with the latter finding his way over the line as the visitors fought back.
The intensity continued after the break with Priestland bringing the Scarlets back to within a point before Tovey's penalty and Prydie's 40 metre strike gave the hosts a seven-point advantage.
A thrilling finale saw the Scarlets have a scrum on the home line which went on past the 80 minute mark before the fourth reset saw the Dragons win possession and fire the ball into touch to secure derby victory.