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JOSH Lewis ‘first start in 17 months was just three minutes in the Dragons’ friendly 36-10 loss to the more experienced Scarlets at Rodney Parade
The match was placed between rounds of Guinness PRO14 to give playing time to youngsters and those looking to enter the first team
This allowed the half fly Lewis to wear 10 for the first time since the 2019 Judgment Day win over the Scarlets, but he didn’t have a chance to put pressure on Sam Davies
The 28-year-old threw a big tackle at former dragon Tom Prydie, but wobbled as he stood before falling to the ground
Lewis has not returned and will have to go through concussion protocols if he wants to play Ulster next Sunday
It was a setback that left the inexperienced XV Dragons guided onto the pitch by 18-year-old Will Reed, and as such it was a blow to their hopes of making it a competitive game.
It was a game that showed that while the Dragons had improved their depth, they were still far behind the Scarlets, as one would expect given the budget deficit that allowed them to bring in a 31-man squad.
A handful of the Home XV will be in consideration for Ulster next Sunday while a raft from the away side will replace their large Welsh contingent
The Scarlets headed east with a XV starring Wales freehead Rob Evans returning from a neck injury, big Fijian lock Tevita Ratuva, South African influencer Uzair Cassiem and five former dragons in Tyler Morgan, Tom Prydie, Angus O’Brien, Dane Blacker and Aled Brew
As such, most of the Dragons’ defining moments have been in defense with flanker Ben Fry and testing center Joe Thomas.
Added to Lewis’ kick, flanker Huw Taylor and fullback Dafydd Howells were aided from the field after shots
The game was dignified, but it was turned into a bit of a farce in the early stages of the second half due to a complete mismatch, with the Scarlets starting over Cassiem, Ratuva and Morgan despite their dominance on the scoreboard.
The Dragons were under the pump from the start and the pressure was constant for 10 minutes
Only a pair of timely turnovers in the 22 by young fullbacks Taine Basham and Ben Fry, as well as a loss of possession from Wales loser Rob Evans as he stretched for the line, kept him without any goal
The Scarlets, eager to secure a reward for their dominance, called at the start after 12 minutes for Angus O’Brien to make it 3-0 against his former team
The half-butterfly quickly added to his tally by converting a test drive of the large Javan Sebastian helicopter, which flew up close
The Dragons nearly responded with a cracker after an attack triggered by center Aneurin Owen and featuring midfielder partner Joe Thomas, winger Owen Jenkins, hooker Ellis Shipp, lock Ben Carter and finally running back. melee Luke Baldwin
A try was initially given by referee Dan Jones before it was then given as held over the line
The Dragons had finally had some pressure to attack the North Terrace, but were soon back at their end and 14 man after Lloyd Fairbrother was punished for an overabundance of team infractions, shown in yellow for collapsing a maul
The Scarlets continued to work hard as half-time approached, but eventually got their second with the final game when a penalty kick was kicked into the corner, prop Evans came in and then hooker Marc Jones finished
Reed opened the Dragons’ count with a penalty shortly after the restart, but the visitors stretched their lead when replacement scrum-half Will Homer shot after Brew came close, O’Brien converting to carry 22-3
After Jared Rosser was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle, testing continued to pass through replacement half-butterfly Sam Costelow and Homer again before the Scarlets fortunately opted to use their bench
The Dragons have responded with their first try – though the way it was won won’t appeal to management
Connor Edwards had the ball torn as he carried heavily and it fell for Rosser, who kicked forward and won the ball race Reed converted to make 36-10 with what s ‘turned out to be the final score
Dragons XV: D Howells; O Jenkins, J Thomas, A Owen, J Rosser; J Lewis, L Baldwin; C Maguire, E Shipp, L Fairbrother, B Carter, J Maksymiw, H Taylor (captain), B Fry, T Basham Alternates: R Lawrence, J Reynolds, C Coleman, M Williams, G Young, D Babos, W Reed, R Dyer, E Lloyd
Scarlet: T Prydie; R Conbeer, T Morgan, P Asquith, A Brew; A O’Brien, D Blacker; R Evans, Marc Jones, J Sebastian, T Ratuva, Morgan Jones, E Kennedy, J Morgan (captain), U Cassiem Alternates: T Davies, S Evans, D Evans, K Mathias, W Kruger, H O’Connor, J Price , T Phillips, J Miles, D Davies, C Tuipulotu, W Homer, S Costelow, J Roberts, I Nicholas
Scorers: tries – J Sebastian, M Jones, W Homer (2), S Costelow; conversions – A O’Brien (3), S Costelow; penalties – A O’Brien
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News from around the world – GB – Dragons 10 Scarlets 36: Experience friendly beating shows at Rodney Parade
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