Dragons fightback comes up just short

A spirited second-half comeback came up just short as Edinburgh Rugby lost to Dragons 24-17 at the Principality Stadium earlier this afternoon.

Trailing 24-5 at the break, the capital side scored all the points (12) in a brilliant second-half showing that was spearheaded by several young up-and-comers

FOSROC Academy duo Patrick Harrison (18) and Shaun Gunn (23) both made their professional debuts, while back-row Connor Boyle (21) and centre Matthew Currie (20) impressed from the bench and provided several impactful moments in defence.

Eventual Player of the Match Matthew Screech scored two of Dragons’ tries and Jonah Holmes the other, with Sam Davies adding three conversions and a penalty.

Edinburgh, who had 27 players unavailable for selection, responded with tries from Mesu Kunavula, Charlie Shiel and Blair Kinghorn, with the latter adding a conversion.

Not just content with a losing bonus-point, Richard Cockerill's young side pushed for a last-minute match equaliser, but Dragons held on to secure the win at the death.

Match action

Davies missed an opportunity to give Dragons a second-minute lead as his 40-metre penalty attempt sailed wide.

However, it mattered little as Dragons soon had their first try. Strong runs from Ashton Hewitt and Holmes took the hosts into the opposition 22, from where Screech peeled off a maul to score.

Within minutes, Screech had scored a second. From inside their own half, Dragons produced a flowing move which culminated in Davies making a sharp break before off-loading to send Screech over.

Edinburgh were struggling to cope with a fired-up Dragons and they lost lock Jamie Hodgson to a yellow card, with Davies kicking the resulting penalty for a 17-0 lead at the end of a one-sided first quarter.

From their first real period of pressure, the capital side got themselves on the scoreboard when Kunavula crashed over from close range but they then suffered an injury setback when Scotland international fly-half Jaco van der Walt was forced to leave the field with a dead leg.

Dragons scored an excellent third try when good linking between backs and forwards culminated in Davies sending out a loop pass to Holmes, who raced into the corner.

A length-of-the-field movement then saw Hewitt denied by the touch-line but Dragons still held a 24-5 interval lead.

Hewitt’s disallowed try seemed to take the impetus from Dragons as the third quarter was spent mostly in their half, with Edinburgh proving stubborn opponents.

Edinburgh earned their reward when first replacement scrum-half Shiel quickly took a short penalty to race away and score before Kinghorn added their third try shortly afterwards.

The full-back - playing stand-off - was impressive all afternoon and his score was thing of beauty. After feeding Chris Dean with an inside ball, Kinghorn showed brilliant work rate as a trialing runner, collecting Dean's offload before racing under the sticks.

Kinghorn converted from in front of the posts to secure a losing bonus point for his side before Edinburgh spent the final five minutes of the fixture pushing for an equalising try.

The comeback was not to be however with Dragons defending well and holding on the seven-point victory.

live commentary 2:00 PM Sunday 28 Mar 2021

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Kick-off 2:00 PM

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