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EXPERIMENTAL EDINBURGH SLAIN BY DRAGONS

Newport Gwent Dragons: 48 Edinburgh Rugby: 5



The Dragons kept their Heineken challenge alive in the wake of Newcastle's spectacular crash in Perpignan with this bonus point win over visiting Edinburgh at Rodney Parade this afternoon. Sadly, there was to be no repeat of last month's narrow Gunners win at the same venue on Celtic League business.

While the Dragons still had a chance of progressing at kick off, Edinburgh had chosen to use this meaningless match to try out some different combinations, and give squad players game time. The result, therefore, was little surprise.

The game brought to mind a previous European clash at this venue several years ago, which saw Kellock, Cross, Hogg, and Philip see action at the outset of their Edinburgh careers, as coach Hadden gave the youngsters a taste of Heineken competition . The Gunners were bested on that occasion too, but those callow youths have in two short years become grizzled veterans - mainstays of the top team. What price some of the squad players on show today becoming regular starters in the same way?

In the meantime, though, Edinburgh discovered that, no matter how warm the off-field welcome at Rodney Parade undoubtedly is, things are rather different on the park. Indeed, the Dragons had secured the bonus point after only half an hour with tries from Luscombe, Forster, Wyatt, and Charteris, Fergus Pringle notching an unconverted touchdown in reply.

22 - 5 down at half-time. Not very promising. And things did not get much better in the second period. Forster, Wyatt, Baber and, on the stroke of no-side, Black all notched tries, with the Gunners shut out.

The Dragons now head to Newcastle next Sunday in fine fettle and with all to play for, while the Gunners will end their European campaign this season by entertaining Perpignan at Murrayfield. Stuart Grimes tried his hand at punditry after the first Falcons-Gunners game, when he said that Edinburgh could well be the "King-makers" in the group.

A win over visiting Perpignan next weekend would not only give the Gunners a fair reward for their endeavour this term - where they could so easily have secured three wins so far if their luck had been better - but could also see Newcastle or the Dragons through.

SCORERS:
Dragons: Luscombe 1T, Forster 2T, Wyatt 2T, Charteris 1T, Baber 1T Black 1T, Sweeney 3C, Warlow 1C
Edinburgh: Pringle 1T

TEAMS:
Dragons: P Montgomery; N Brew, H Luscombe, S Tuipulotu, K Morgan; C Sweeney, G Baber; A Black, S Jones, R Thomas, I Gough, L Charteris, J Ringer, J Forster (capt), M Owen. Replacements: J Richards, C Anthony, P Sidoli, R Oakley, S Winn, C Warlow, G Wyatt.

Edinburgh: D Lee; M Dey, Hugo, B MacDougall, P Boston; B Laney, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, A Kelly, C Smith, F Pringle, S Murray (capt), A Strokosch, A Hogg, D Callam. Replacements: D Hall, A Dickinson, A Kellock, T Blackadder, M Blair, P Godman, C Joiner.

Referee: "Stopwatch" Rolland (Ireland).