Saturday May 14, 2022

4:03pm, 13 May 2022

The Dragons’ young fly-half Will Reed missed a last-minute penalty from 45 metres to maintain his side’s miserable record against Cardiff.

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The Men of Gwent have not beaten their fierce rivals since Boxing Day 2014, a run of 14 matches, and the defeat means they have only one game left to avoid the ignominy of not winning a home game all season.

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The game was marred by two red cards in the first half, Joe Davies of Dragons and Cardiff’s Liam Belcher both for high challenges.

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Rhys Priestland was Cardiff’s hero with four penalties and a conversion of a try from Lloyd Williams.

Jack Dixon and Olly Griffiths scored tries for Dragons, Sam Davies converted one with Reed adding two penalties.

Priestland gave Cardiff a third-minute lead with a straightforward penalty before Dragons suffered another setback when Joe Davies was sent off for a high challenge on visiting prop Rhys Carre.

Priestland’s penalty was the only score of a pedestrian and error-ridden first quarter, with Cardiff having much the better of territory and possession but having little idea on how to capitalise on it.

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It took Dragons 24 minutes to have their first opportunity for points, Reed making no mistake with his 40-metre kick.

A couple of minutes later, Reed had another penalty chance, this one from the halfway line, but the fly-half was well off target.

The game badly needed a spark and it got one when Owen Lane took advantage of some space to race past Jack Dixon and provide Williams with an easy run-in.

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Priestland converted before Belcher, on his 50th appearance for the club, was red-carded for a head-high tackle on Reed, who departed for a head injury assessment.

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Dragons immediately capitalised when Griffiths picked up from a five-metre scrum to crash over, with a conversion from Sam Davies leaving the scores level at 10-10 at the interval.

Reed returned for the second half and in time to see Priestland first miss with a 40-metre penalty before succeeding with a kick of similar distance.

The outside-half then chanced his arm from inside his own half but his kick was nowhere near so his penalty was the only score of a featureless third quarter.

After 64 minutes, Dragons took the lead for the first time when they moved the ball sweetly along their three-quarter line for Dixon to force his way over in the corner.

Reed missed the touchline conversion before Priestland restored Cardiff’s advantage with two penalties in quick succession.

A second from Reed set up a tense finish but his late miss ensured Cardiff held on to the four points.

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