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September 6, 2019
Pro14: Cardiff Blues 19-16 Dragons
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Pro14: Cardiff Blues 19-16 Dragons

Pro14: Cardiff Blues v Dragons
Cardiff Blues (3) 19
Try: Fish Pens: Anscombe 4 Con: Anscombe
Dragons (6) 16
Try: Sage Pens: Lewis 2 Drop goal: Lewis Con: Tovey

Cardiff Blues edged to a laboured 19-16 Pro14 victory over 14-man Dragons, thanks to Gareth Anscombe’s last-kick penalty.

Jarryd Sage’s late try threatened to earn the visitors a draw, despite playing the last 50 minutes a man short after prop Lloyd Fairbrother was sent-off.

Dan Fish crossed for the only home try early in the second half.

But nine points from the boot of Josh Lewis kept the Dragons in contention.

It was far closer than seemed likely at half-time, with the Dragons just 6-3 ahead and a man short, but they came close to breaking a run of 23 Welsh derbies without a win.

The Dragons, still under interim coach Ceri Jones, were down to 14 men in the 10th minute as Zane Kirchner took out Blaine Scully with a senseless challenge off the ball.

But the home side lost possession twice as they kicked for the corner with the rain pouring down, and after 19 minutes they eventually turned to the boot of Anscombe to drill over a penalty kick into the elements.

Dragons prop Lloyd Fairbrother leaves the field after he was sent off for elbowing Dillon Lewis in the head

Fairbrother’s dismissal came in the 31st minute as he caught opposite number Dillon Lewis a glancing blow to the head with his elbow in a ruck, although Lewis’s drop-goal and penalty edged the visitors into a precarious 6-3 lead at the break.

It did not look enough, with the visitors forced to withdraw lock Matthew Screech to bring on replacement prop Aaron Jarvis, and Anscombe soon fired over a penalty to level with wind advantage.

The first try finally arrived after 53 minutes with the Dragons’ defence stretched to breaking point as Olly Robinson’s astute inside pass put Fish over for Anscombe to convert.

The battling visitors stayed in the game as Lewis belted over a penalty only for Anscombe to reply from a metre inside his own half.

The Dragons managed to draw level after 73 minutes when some enterprising handling culminated in Sage’s angled run splitting the home defence, with Tovey’s simple conversion bringing the travelling support into full voice.

Just as it seemed as though the Dragons could play down the clock for an unlikely draw, a scrum penalty allowed Anscombe a last chance to win the game, and he made no mistake from 15 metres in from the left touchline.

Cardiff Blues: Fish; Scully, Lee-Lo, Halaholo, G Smith; Anscombe, T Williams; Gill, Dacey (capt), Lewis, Davies, Turnbull, Navidi, Robinson, N Williams.

Replacements: Myhill, Thyer, Andrews, Earle, Down, L Williams, Shingler, Morgan.

Dragons: Kirchner; Rosser, Warren, Sage, Amos; Lewis, R Williams; Bevington, Dee, Fairbrother, Nansen, Screech, Hill (c), Wainwright, Keddie.

Replacements: Hibbard, Ellis, Jarvis, Evans, Cudd, Knoyle, Tovey, J Williams.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Mark Patton (IRFU), Tim Spurrier (WRU)

TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)

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