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PREVIEW: Dragons prepared for Pau arsenal

Thursday 10th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Newport Gwent Dragons are looking to avenge a French defeat by Castres Olympique when Pau arrive on Rodney Parade

Newport Gwent Dragons are looking to avenge a French defeat by Castres Olympique when Pau arrive on Rodney Parade

Newport Gwent Dragons are looking to avenge a French defeat by Castres Olympique when Pau arrive on Rodney Parade, and outside-half Dorian Jones is prepared to face their arsenal of big guns.

All Blacks Conrad Smith and Colin Slade, former France internationals Julien Pierre and Damien Traille have all been registered for Challenge Cup action along with Scotland tighthead Euan Murray and Fijian backs Mosese Ratuvou, Watisoni Votu, Marika Vunibaka and Sireli Bobo. But Saturday’s South Wales tie may come too soon for the New Zealand Rugby World Cup stars.

The Dragons have finally found some form after a slow start to the season. A victory over Sale Sharks gave them a dream start to their Pool Two campaign before a narrow loss out in Castres. And a league win over Champions Cup heavyweights Munster on Sunday will have boosted their confidence no-end. Pau are struggling in their first season back in the Top14, with three wins from 10 matches. But a mini revival saw them draw with Racing 92 last weekend. And Jones is ready to face anything that comes at them in round three.

He said: “I'm not too sure what side they will bring. They are struggling in the league so may rest their big players but those who have not been selected in the past few weeks will be hungry.

“The big names might not fancy coming to Rodney Parade but the young boys will relish the chance to come here. It was the same with Munster resting a few and we need to start getting some respect from our opposition.

“If they want to come here and roll out the boys who haven't had much game time we need to perform and make sure they do send their big names in the future.”

Match Facts

  • This will be the first meeting between the sides in Europe.
  • Newport Gwent Dragons have won eight of their last 11 Challenge Cup fixtures, but only one of their last three.
  • Newport Gwent Dragons have won their last four at home in the Challenge Cup, scoring 154 points in the process.
  • Pau have lost their last seven away from home in the competition, although four of those defeats came by fewer than 10 points.
  • Pau have won four of their five meetings with Welsh opposition in the Challenge Cup, however they have not faced a team from Wales in the competition since 2002.


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REPORT: Dragons shut out Pau

Saturday 12th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Malgré toute la bonne volonté du monde

Malgré toute la bonne volonté du monde

Sarel Pretorius set Newport Gwent Dragons on course for an impressive win over Pau in the European Challenge Cup.

Scrum-half Pretorius kicked off a man of the match display with the first Dragons try.

And fly-half Jones added 17 points, including a second half try, that finally sank Pau at Rodney Parade.

Director of rugby Lyn Jones will also have been delighted at keeping a clean sheet against French opposition for the first time.

But there was disappointment as Tom Prydie suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury in the second half.

The Dragons led 11-0 at half-time but only after surviving a shaky start.

Ex-Scotland and British Lions tight-head Euan Murray dominated the early scrums to hand Samuel Marques an early chance but the scrum-half scuffed his kick wide.

The Dragons’ pace caused Pau real problems. Twice Adam Warren broke through and both led to penalties that Jones converted into the wind.

Pretorius then struck with a classic counter attack after Pau lost possession in attack.

The South African picked up inside his own half, stepped through two tacklers before racing 60 metres up to dive over on 27 minutes.

Jones missed the conversion but Dragons were soon facing 14 men when wing Marika Vunibaka was binned for a late hit on Hewitt.

But it was Dragons forced to defend their line after surviving a series of scrums close to their line on the stroke of half-time.

That feel-good factor continued after half-time as Jones kicked Dragons further ahead with two straight-forward penalties.

Jones then weaved through a crowd of players to grab the crucial second score that effectively settled the tie on 57 minutes.

Dragons then chased a potential bonus-point but Adam Hughes went agonisingly close to an interception score.

Ashton Hewitt was caught in two minds after winning the race to Pretorius’ kick and knock on five yards from Pau’s line and Rynard Landman later dropped a pass as further tries went begging.

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