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Dragons host Emirates Lions in key Pool B clash

Friday 20th January 2023

1:00 pm (GMT)

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Dragons host Emirates Lions in key Pool B clash

Emirates Lions and Dragons drew 31-31 in Johannesburg in Round 1

Dragons RFC welcome Emirates Lions to Rodney Parade in what is set to be an intriguing contest in Round 4 of the EPCR Challenge Cup on Sunday.

Only two Pool B sides have confirmed their progression to the knockout stage ahead of this weekend, with Dragons and Emirates Lions currently level on eight points, occupying two of the remaining four qualification spots.

The teams have both won one, drawn one and lost one so far in the competition. The draw was in the reverse fixture, in the opening round of the campaign, as the two sides could not be separated, 31-31 in Johannesburg.

Dragons’ win came in Round 3, beating Section Paloise 21-15 on the road last weekend, while Emirates Lions look to bounce back from a 17-7 defeat at Stade Français Paris.

The match kicks off at 13:00 (UK & Irish time) on Sunday, and can be watched on Viaplay-Premier Sports, SuperSport, and FloRugby.

Dragons RFC

  • Bradley Roberts has crossed the gainline on more occasions than any other player in the competition (24). He has also made the most metres in contact from ‘pick-and-gos’, with 12.
  • Centre Jack Dixon has won five turnovers in the tournament so far, three of which have been in the tackle.
  • Aaron Wainwright has made the most restart returns (nine) and restart return metres (56) in the competition.

Emirates Lions

  • Jean-Pierre Smith is the only player in the competition this season to have been shown two yellow cards thus far.
  • Emirates Lions have picked up four yellow cards altogether – the most in the competition (equal with Glasgow Warriors).
  • Emmanuel Tshituka has made 16 dominant carry contacts (equal with Bradley Roberts); 45 per cent of his carries have been dominant.
  • The Emirates Lions have conceded more penalties for foul play than any other team (seven).

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Emirates Lions hold off Dragons as both progress

Sunday 22nd January 2023

3:24 pm (GMT)

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Emirates Lions hold off Dragons as both progress

Rio Dyer crossed for Dragons RFC in their EPCR Challenge Cup defeat to Emirates Lions

Emirates Lions secured a home tie in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 after holding off Dragons RFC to win 30-25 at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence on Sunday, the hosts also qualifying for the knockout stage.

The South African side crossed through Quan Horn and Edwill van der Merwe, while Jordan Hendrikse, kicked an impressive 20 points, including six penalties.

Dragons, meanwhile, scored four tries and secured two decisive bonus points; Will Reed’s first-half score was joined by second-half crosses from Aki Seiuli, Jordan Williams and Rio Dyer, while JJ Hanrahan’s 77th minute penalty, crucially, put them within seven of their opponents.

Emirates Lions led early on as Hendrikse kicked a penalty, but that was cancelled out when Reed stretched to reach the line and dot down for Dragons’ opening try.

However, with the conversion missed by Reed, Emirates Lions were soon back in the lead when Hendrikse kicked another penalty.

That lead was extended when Horn finished well in the corner following a flowing move, with Hendrikse converting before another five points were added when van der Merwe streaked clear to dot down.

Hendrikse then kicked a further three penalties to give Emirates Lions a healthy 27-5 lead at the break before adding another shortly after the restart.

But it would be Dragons who controlled the second period from that point on, the Welsh region scoring their second try through replacement Seiuli after a driving maul.

Reed missed the extras but was able to convert the hosts’ third score as Williams darted through a gap to put Dragons within 13 points with 20 minutes to go.

Momentum further went the way of Dragons when Emile van Heerden was awarded a yellow card on 64 minutes. The hosts immediately availed of the man advantage, with Dyer reaching to score in the corner and set up a grandstand finish.

JJ Hanrahan couldn’t convert Dyer’s effort but his penalty on 77 minutes brought Dragons within five points of the South African side and ultimately secured a second losing bonus point.

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