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PREVIEW: Morgan shooting for home quarter-final

Friday 23rd January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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It has been a whirlwind season for Newport Gwent Dragons teenager Tyler Morgan. A try on his European debut

It has been a whirlwind season for Newport Gwent Dragons teenager Tyler Morgan. A try on his European debut

It has been a whirlwind season for Newport Gwent Dragons teenager Tyler Morgan. A try on his European debut, a dual-contract with the WRU, a place in Warren Gatland’s Welsh Six Nations squad and now the chance to help his club clinch a home Challenge Cup quarter-final.

The 19-year-old has grown up quickly in his first full season of senior rugby and clinched his place in the Wales squad with a mature performance in Newcastle last weekend that was crowned with a try as the Dragons clinched a quarter-final slot.

But this weekend will be a step up in class as he finds himself facing a Stade Francais back division containing Springbok outside half Morne Steyn, Wallaby wonder wing Digby Ioane, Samoan full back Paul Williams and directly opposite him Krisnan Inu, a rugby league World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2008.

The French side, who currently sit proudly in second place in the Top 14 table, level on points with the leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne, are still in with an outside chance of reaching the quarter-finals if Newcastle Falcons slip up in Romania. But, more importantly, they want to avenge their 38-22 defeat in Paris by the Welsh region.

They have made a number of changes to the team that started in the first round and will have only nine survivors of that side taking the field at Rodney Parade. Inu has moved from wing to centre to join skipper Geoffrey Doumayrou in a midfield that will pose problems for the young Dragons pair of Morgan and Jack Dixon.

“We've qualified for the quarter-finals, but a home game is really important because the crowd behind us would carry us through. We had a very good performance out in Paris against a team that were the favourites for the tournament – and also against a very good Newcastle side last weekend,” said Morgan.

“We know that Stade can be flamboyant, but they can also be direct with the pack that they have, carrying hard all over the field. We have to earn the right to play wide and cause them to tighten up before we try and go around them.”

Kingsley Jones has made six changes to the side that picked up another bonus point victory on the road at Kingston Park last week and has also drafted in the fit-again Welsh veteran lock Ian Gough onto his bench. He made his first European appearance way back in 1996 – when Tyler Morgan was one!

Match Facts

  • The Dragons have won four of five home clashes against French opposition.
  • In round 1 Dragons inflicted only Stade’s second home pool defeat in their Challenge Cup history.
  • No side has ever won both pool games against Stade Francais in a single season.
  • Dragons have won five of their last six games in the Challenge Cup, their best run in the tournament since 2011.

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REPORT: Dragons do the double over Stade

Saturday 24th January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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En position de force avec cinq points d'avance sur Newcastle

En position de force avec cinq points d'avance sur Newcastle

Tom Prydie kicked five penalties as the Newport Gwent Dragons did the double over Stade Français to secure a home quarter-final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The 30-19 victory at Rodney Parade followed a bonus point triumph in the French capital in the opening round and continued the Welsh club’s recent upturn in form.
The Welsh side struck first with Prydie slotting a simple penalty. The impressive Dragons scrum began strongly, giving outside-half Dorian Jones a platform which he took full advantage of and, after an inch perfect kick into the corner, hooker Elliot Dee scored the game’s first try from close range.  
Following his two tries and one assist last week, Hallam Amos continued his good form and was unlucky not to score with only a late Digby Ioane tackle stopping him. Young Wales Sqaud centre Tyler Morgan was also impressive and the 19-year-old evaded the Stade centres with ease and galloped 30 metres before being brought down.
Stade responded through former New Zealand rugby league World Cup winning centre Kristnan Inu, who broke through a resilient Dragons defensive line which had held firm for more than 10 phases.
An inability to stand up to the mighty Dragons scrum led to Stade’s undoing in the first-half and another Prydie penalty made it 22-7 to the Welsh side at half-time.
Stade started brightly in the second-half, with Paul Williams and Geoffrey Doumayrou making neat runs, before Zurab Zhivania crossed after heavy pressure on the Dragons’ five metre-line. Steyn was unable to add the conversion, but the gap was cut to 10 points.
The home side always looked comfortable and replied through replacement front row man Rhys Thomas, who peeled of the back of a maul to extend the Dragons lead to 27-12.
Stade’s forwards briefly came back, with replacement Remi Bonfils scoring and Steyn adding the conversion to make it 27-19, but full-back Geraint Rhys Jones banged over a penalty to make the final scoreline of 30-19 far more comfortable for the Dragons.

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