Newport Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones admitted his side couldn’t help but take their foot off the pedal after racing out to a huge lead in their LV= Cup victory over Welsh rivals Ospreys.
Ross Wardle opened the scoring at Bridgend Ford Brewery Field before a pair of Lewis Evans tries from driving mauls put the result almost beyond doubt with less than a quarter of the game gone.
A double from Cory Hill and one from Jonathan Evans made the score 48-0 before five second-half tries from Ospreys meant the final score was 51-35.
It was Hanno Dirksen, Dafydd Howells, Cai Griffiths, Aisea Nagota and a penalty try that added some respectability for the hosts but Jones said he couldn’t fault his team’s overall performance.
“Winning is important as it gives you confidence. We were 41-0 up at half-time as we made very few errors, pulled together and played well,” he said. “It was difficult to maintain motivation after the interval.
“We should have had another 10 points as the referee ruled out a perfectly good try and disallowed a valid penalty from Geraint (Rhys Jones).”
Ospreys have a 100 per cent record in this year’s PRO12, including a 17-15 win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade, but have now suffered back-to-back LV= Cup losses following the visitors’ imperious attacking display.
The 51 points they conceded was the most in a single game since their inception although their second-half salvo ensured they left with a four-try losing bonus point.
But despite the improved display after the break, coach Gruff Rees claims the first-half horror show is what will stick with him.
“The first half was cringe worthy and border line unacceptable. Our attitude was in question and a few home truths were told at half-time,” he said.
“We allowed their first-choice front five to dominate and we conceded three of the softest tries you'll ever see from driving line-outs with our kick and chase game also being dreadful.
“They took off a number of their experienced forwards in the second half which allowed us to get some field position and settle but there were some positives.
"However we don't have enough strength in depth. Our back row had three appearances in total for the region whilst their No. 8 Lewis Evans has had 150 games for them."
Ospreys: Fussell; Howells, Dirksen, Beck (A Evans 65), Natoga; Davies, Roberts (Habberfield 60); M Thomas (G Thomas 48), Parry (Parry 59), Suter (Griffiths 40), Thornton (Beard 64), Bernardo, Boladau, Dudley-Jones (Spinks 51), Jones
Unused: D Evans.
Newport Gwent Dragons: G R Jones; Morgan, Wardle, Smith (Pewtner 63), Hewitt (Tovey 66); D Jones, J Evans (L Jones 63); Stankovich (Price 13), Dee (Gustafson 63), Harris (Young 57), Hill, Landman (Davies 54), Thomas, Benjamin, L Evans (Griffiths 63)
Tries: Dirksen, Howells, Griffiths, penalty, Natoga
Conversions: Davies (5)
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries: Wardle, L Evans 2, Hill 2, J Evans
Conversions: G R Jones 6
Penalties: G R Jones 3
Referee: Rhys Thomas
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