|Dragons (9) 9|
|Pens: Robson 3|
|Ospreys (15) 22|
|Tries: Baldwin, Allen, Davies Cons: Biggar 2 Pen: Biggar|
Ospreys ended a run of 10 successive away defeats in Pro14 with victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade, but the win came at a price.
Wales internationals Dan Lydiate (arm) and Cory Allen (biceps) both left the field injured during the first half.
It was another Wales player – Dan Biggar – who inspired the visitors.
He set up two tries and added a further seven points with his boot, but Ospreys failed to earn the bonus point as they could not find a fourth try.
Heading into the match as the Conference A bottom side, Ospreys left Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones on the bench.
They recalled Biggar at fly-half, but Hanno Dirksen was a late withdrawal with a thigh injury and centre Kieron Fonotia was absent for personal reasons.
Dragons left Gavin Henson out against his former team, with Henson tweeting he endorsed the move as he had not been “physical enough in the contact area”.
Wing Hallam Amos’ ankle injury kept him out too after he limped off late on in his side’s 22-17 defeat by Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day, but hooker Elliot Dee started after a citing charge was dismissed.
The visitors seized the advantage after only four minutes, with Scott Baldwin crossing after smart work from Biggar, who added the extras.
Arwel Robson slotted a penalty to reduce the arrears, but Biggar once again played a key role as Steve Tandy’s side added a second try in the opening 15 minutes, offloading brilliantly to Allen after a surge towards the line.
Robson kicked another penalty for the hosts, but the contest was scrappy and not helped by torrential rain lashing down.
Lydiate left the field with an arm injury and the Ospreys suffered a further injury scare with Rhys Webb limping off with what looked like a groin injury, then Allen also left in a troubling five-minute spell.
The injuries disrupted the visitors, and Robson added a third penalty to give Dragons hope before the break, but Webb returned for the second half to boost Ospreys.
Indeed, it was the Wales man who set up the score that made the game safe, with his pass unlocking the Dragons just before the hour allowing Sam Davies to cross the gain line, with Biggar again adding the extras.
However, the game drifted to a conclusion and Ospreys will feel they should probably have added a fourth try to earn the bonus.
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy told BBC Sport Wales: “I am pretty satisfied with the way the boys fronted up after a disappointing defeat last week, they really put their bodies on the line.
“We left the bonus points out there, we had some opportunities, but with the conditions… I think the boys adapted really well.
“The defence has been the standout for us for four or five weeks. It is something we’ve needed to improve.”
Dragons coach Bernard Jackman told BBC Sport Wales: “When the rain came it made our job even harder because of the style we want to play.
“It became about power… we were very young and very light.
“We showed more physicality than we did against the Blues, but Ospreys are probably a better side.
“I can’t be too critical of the players though… we need to bring in bigger, stronger athletes.”
Dragons: Carl Meyer; Ashton Hewitt, Sam Beard, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser; Arwel Robson, Dan Babos; Sam Hobbs, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill (capt), Rynard Landman, Aaron Wainwright, Ben Roach, James Benjamin.
Replacements: Liam Belcher, Thomas Davies, Nicky Thomas, Robson Blake, James Sheekey, Sarel Pretorius, Angus O’Brien, Jarryd Sage.
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Cory Allen, Ashley Beck, Owen Watkin, Jeff Hassler; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Dmitri Arhip, Bradley Davies, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate (capt), Justin Tipuric, Olly Cracknell.
Replacements: Scott Otten, Paul James, Ma’afu Fia, Alun Wyn Jones, Rob McCusker, Tom Habberfield, Sam Davies, James Hook.
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (WRU) and Mike English (WRU)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (WRU)
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