Mason Grady

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 29: Ashton Hewitt of The Dragons is tackled by Mason Grady of Cardiff Rugby during the BKT United Rugby Championship match between The Dragons RFC and Cardiff Rugby at Rodney Parade on October 29, 2023 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

Same Old Story For Desperate Dragons But Cardiff Coach Matt Sherratt Admits: Not A Classic

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By David Williams

Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt made few apologies for the lack of drama as his team won a 17th successive derby clash against the desperate Dragons.

The BKT United Rugby Championship clash between the rivals went the way of all the others in the last nine years, but Sherratt admitted the 16-9 win at Rodney Parade will not live long in the memory.

“It was about getting the job done. It certainly wasn’t a classic, but derbies rarely are in terms of attack and attacking flair. However, we ground it out.

“We kicked well given the strong wind and the Wales boys coming back made a real impact.”

You have to go back to 2014 for the last time the Blue & Blacks were beaten in the fixture and this time they stormed Rodney Parade again.

It was a second successive home defeat for the Dragons and Cardiff’s opening win of the campaign.

Returning Wales World Cup centre Mason Grady scored the only try of a dour contest.

The rest of the points came from the respective boots of home outside half Angus O’Brien, with three penalties, and opposite number Tinus de Beet, who converted the Grady try and added three penalties himself.

O’Brien’s third penalty at least earned Dai Flanagan’s men a losing bonus-point, but it was another disappointing afternoon for both the Rodney Parade faithful and their new management board.

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan said: “We came in with a plan, but we lost three players really early so I’m really proud of the way the players adapted and we nearly found a way.

“The bounce of the ball went one way for their try and against us for a possible score, but we need to stop being an almost team.

“We seem to put pressure on ourselves against Cardiff and listen to the negativity of this run. We need to turn up full of optimism, but the mindset is hard to shift.”

A poor kicking game and missed opportunity from wing Jared Rosser will haunt the Dragons in training this week as they prepare for a double dose of Irish opposition with a trip to Muster this week followed by a home tie with Leinster.

The home fans were robbed of the chance of seeing Dan Lydiate make his return to Rodney Parade when he pulled out for “personal reasons”, while Cardiff benefitted from having a fit-again Thomas Young in the back row.

There were two penalties apiece from O’Brien and De Beer in the first half, while Grady’s break and long run in for the only try of the game came in the 32nd minute.

De Beer added the extras and then swapped penalties with O’Brien after the break to ensure Cardiff kept their foot on the throat of their longest standing rivals.

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