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PREVIEW: Complacency is no issue for Dragons

Thursday 4th December 2014

12:00 am (GMT)

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Newport Gwent Dragons Head Coach Kingsley Jones says complacency will not be a problem as they travel to Romania to take on Bucharest Wolves on Saturday. - 04/12/2014 16:53

Newport Gwent Dragons Head Coach Kingsley Jones says complacency will not be a problem as they travel to Romania to take on Bucharest Wolves on Saturday. - 04/12/2014 16:53

Newport Gwent Dragons Head Coach Kingsley Jones says complacency will not be a problem as they travel to Romania to take on Bucharest Wolves on Saturday.

Jones will meet his old Pontyridd coach Lynn Howells, who takes charge of the assembled side, for the Challenge Cup pool three clash. And Jones knows his Dragons are not in for an easy ride after the Romanians pushed Stade Francais all the way in their eventual 13-9 defeat.

He said: “I know Bucharest well from my time in Russia, they are a side with a good spirit and we are not going to underestimate them.

“They have been playing well in this competition and it's away from home so it's going to be tough, but we have also grown in this competition and will be looking to get a result. If you look at the history of Bucharest in this competition they have always pushed teams very close without being able to get the wins. They control the game well from outside half, with a strong kicking game that can be hard to play against.”

Pool three is finely poised after the Rodney Parade region failed to back-up their shock win over Satde Francais with defeat at home to Newcastle Falcons.

It means they trail Dean Richards’ men by three points in second-place heading into the crucial double-header weekend. Bucharest fell to a 49-13 defeat in round one to Newcastle but almost pulled off what would have been the shock of the year against Stade. And Wolves coach Howells wants his men to give the Dragons a frosty Romanian welcome.

He said: “The players know that this competition is providing them with an opportunity to play at a higher level and everything is building towards the World Cup.

“They are excited by the challenge. The Dragons have given themselves every opportunity of making it out of the group by beating Stade Francais but will need to be on their game up front, and Kingsley (Jones, head coach) will know that after coming here with Russia.”

Match Facts

  • These sides have met just twice before, in the Pool Stage in 2006/07; Newport Gwent Dragons emerged victorious in both fixtures.
  • Newport Gwent Dragons’ 66-10 victory over Bucharest Wolves remains their biggest ever victory in the tournament.
  • The Dragons’ Hallam Amos has beaten nine defenders in the opening two rounds of this season’s Challenge Cup; a joint tournament-high.
  • Bucharest Wolves’ Johann Van Heerden made four lineout steals against Stade Francais Paris; more than any other player in the second round of Challenge Cup fixtures.



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REPORT: Two try Coombs boosts Dragons

Saturday 6th December 2014

12:00 am (GMT)

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Malgré une entame de match frileuse à Bucarest

Malgré une entame de match frileuse à Bucarest

Newport Gwent Dragons kept themselves in the mix to advance from Pool 3 of the European Challenge Cup with a 37-10 victory over Bucharest Wolves in Romania.

The hosts had made a hot start in freezing conditions and led 10-0 thanks to a try from flanker Sean Morrell and five points from the boot of fly-half Florin Vlaicu.

But the Welsh visitors roared back as Ashley Smith, Rhys Thomas, James Thomas and Andrew Coombs (2) all crossed for tries, with Rhys Jones and Jason Tovey booting the rest of their points.

It leaves the Dragons second in the pool, behind Newcastle who have a 100 per cent record from their three games.

But a bonus point win had not looked likely at Ghencea Stadium, which was hosting the fixture after the pitch at Stadium Arcul was left waterlogged by melting snow.

Vlaicu’s boot had given the home side an early lead, and they extended that advantage when a series of strong forward carried ended with Morrell charging over for a converted try.

But the Dragons began to take control as they adjusted to the testing conditions, with Jones and Tovey slotting a penalty apiece to bring them back to within four points.

They landed a crucial blow just before half-time as a patient build-up ended up working Smith over for their first try, converted by Jones for a 13-10 lead.

Two tries early in the second half effectively killed the game off as two well controlled driving mauls allowed Rhys Thomas and James Thomas to dot down and out the away side 10 points clear.

The scores kept on coming as a Tovey interception paved the way for Coombs’ first, with the Wales international rounding off the scoring with his second just after the hour mark.

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