Date: November 16, 2018
Venue: Bridge Field, Bedwas
by Tom Pritchard
Davies impresses as Dragons score six tries to see off spirited Russia
THE Dragons’ venture to the Bridge Field proved a successful one, as they scored six tries to see off a Russia side coached by their former boss Lyn Jones.
The two teams met for the first time since 2011, when the Gwent side came out on top by 40 points to 12.
The game was hosted by Bedwas RFC, in an effort by the Rodney Parade side to take the game around the region.
It was the visitors who made the perfect start to the game, as lock Alexander Ilin powered his way over from close range, with only four minutes on the clock.
Dragons, coached on the night by Alan Kingsley and Ian Evans, replied with a try of their own just moments later.
After winning the ball back from the kick-off, they managed to create an overlap on the left side which allowed winger Deon Smith to dive over in the corner.
With a quarter of an hour gone, the hosts kicked to the corner after Russia had been penalised for offside.
From the lineout, a driving maul was set up and hooker Rhys Lawrence was the player in possession when the set piece was powered over the line.
Russian fly-half Ramil Gaisin notched a penalty in front of the posts three minutes later to level the game up at 10 apiece.
In a carbon copy of the first try, the Dragons scored from a driving maul for the second time in the space of seven minutes.
On this occasion, it was openside flanker Ben Fry that was the beneficiary of the Gwent side’s power up front.
Scrum-half Vasily Dorofeev saw yellow on the half hour mark for cynically slowing the ball down, as the Dragons looked for a third score.
Jones’ side began the second half well, and were rewarded when they peeled off the back of an attacking maul and created an overlap, which gave blindside flanker Anton Sychev an easy touch down in the corner.
Once again, however, Dragons were able to respond.
Scrum-half Rhodri Davies, who was named man-of-the-match, ran onto the ball at pace from a lineout, found a gap and had the paced to take him all the way to the try line.
The stand-out moment of the game came five minutes later.
A move which started in the Dragons’ half saw Davies break, and throw an offload which allowed the ball to be shifted to the right where there was a numerical advantage.
Winger Daf Howells was put into space, before passing inside, and captain Jack Dixon arced onto the outside to receive the ball and finish off a scintillating sequence of plays by the hosts.
The Bears continued to fight, and got their third try of the evening after a series of strong carries resulted in Ilin forcing his way over for his second score of the game.
The Pro 14 side scored their sixth try with the final act of the evening, as Howells collected a loose Russia kick and showed quick feet to round full-back German Godlyuk and dot down under the posts.
Dragons: 15. Carwyn Penny, 14. Daf Howells, 13. Tom Hoppe, 12. Jack Dixon (c), 11. Deon Smith, 10. Josh Lewis, 9. Rhodri Davies; 1. Ryan Bevington, 2. Rhys Lawrence, 3. Aaron Jarvis, 4. Joe Davies, 5. Rynard Landman, 6. Huw Taylor, 7. Ben Fry, 8. James Benjamin
Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis, 17. Ellis Shipp, 18. Chris Coleman, 19. James Thomas, 20. Lennon Greggains, 21. Dan Babos, 22. Evan Lloyd, 23. Llew Smith
Russia: 15. German Godlyuk, 14. Nikita Churashov, 13. Mikhail Babaev, 12. Sergei Trishin, 11. Daniil Potikhanov, 10. Ramil Gaisin, 9. Vasily Dorofeev; 1. Sergei Sekisov, 2. Evgeny Matveev (capt), 3. Evgeny Pronenko, 4. Alexei Panasenko, 5. Alexander Ilin, 6. Anton Sychev, 7. Roman Khodin, 8. Vitaly Zhivatov.
Replacements: 16. Leonid Kalinin, 17. Andrei Polivalov, 18. Anton Drozdov, 19. Evgeny Elgin, 20. Nikita Vavilin, 21. Timur Ismailov, 22. Vladimir Ostroushko, 23. Vasily Artemyev.
(All images: Matt Lofthouse)