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|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
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com