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|Home team||Away Team|
|37 - 6||
- Guinness PRO12
- 31st Aug 2012
- KO 19:00
- Ground: Rodney Parade, Newport
- Att: 4,540
Flying start for Dragons
New boys have plenty to work on
Newport Gwent Dragons kicked off the new RaboDirect PRO12 campaign with a bonus point victory over new Italian outfit Zebre at Rodney Parade.
It was a rousing first-half performance by the Welshmen as Dan Evans grabbed two first-half tries with others coming from centre Andy Tuilagi and wing Will Harries.
Wing Tom Prydie kicked four conversions and two penalties and fly-half Steffan Jones added a drop-goal against two penalties for Zebre's fly-half Luciano Orquera.
The Dragons had their four tries and bonus point in the bag by the break with probable and possible Welsh caps for the big Autumn Test matches against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia watched by national coach Warren Gatland and assistant Neil Jenkins from the stand.
Gatland would have been impressed by the very early season form of regular Wales stars Dan Lydiate and Toby Faetau, who both had good run-outs against a Zebre side who showed plenty of fighting spirit for their debut in the competition.
However, as reasonable as the Italians were in attack, their defence was found wanting when stretched, leaving them way off the pace at 34-6 at half-time.
Full-back Evans had a glorious 40 minutes. The Wales Under-20 cap, making his debut for the Gwent side after five seasons at the Scarlets, set-up the first try of the campaign for powerful Tuilagi on 13 minutes before scoring two himself towards the end of the half.
But none of those three tries matched the cracker on 19 minutes which came after a thumping tackle inside the home 22 saw hooker Steve Jones, another on Gatland's possible list, retrieve the ball.
The Dragons skipper ran out and gave it to Prydie before the ex-Wales wing produced a piece of quick-thinking.
He was tackled into touch but threw the ball straight back into play, found Jones who laid the ball to Harries to storm over.
Jones booted a drop-goal while Prydie added all four conversions to an early penalty against two penalties from Zebre stand-off Lucian Orquera.
The concern for Dragons coach Darren Edwards, though, must have been how his side dropped the intensity in the second half having established such a big lead.
Zebre, with the pack working as a unit and a wily scrum-half in 14-times Italy capped Tito Tebaldi behind, put pressure on the Welshmen for quite a while in the second period but failed to find a route to the line.
As the clocked ticked over the hour mark, the Dragons finally got the scoreboard moving again when Zebre infringed in front of their posts and Prydie popped over his second penalty.
To their credit, the Italians were enterprising in attack all night with the ball in hand and were not worried about throwing it around via the forwards or backs - which kept the home side on their toes.
But it was not a good second-half for the Dragons.
Nevertheless, Gatland and Jenkins left the ground a few minutes before the end having seen a job well done - although it goes from one extreme to the next in the Dragons' second league game where they play last season's runners-up and Heineken Cup champions Leinster in Dublin.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Sunday 21st December|
|16:00||Dragons vs Zebre|
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Dragons|
|17:00||Munster vs Leinster|
|18:45||Ulster vs Connacht|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:40||Glasgow vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Scarlets|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Connacht|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Ospreys 31 - 20 Ulster|
|Glasgow Warriors 21 - 18 Munster|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com