Angus O’Brien delivered a kicking masterclass from the tee as Newport Gwent Dragons put a stop to their three-game losing streak with a dominant display over Benetton Treviso under Friday Night Lights.
The Dragons came into their tie at Rodney Parade on the back of successive defeats in the Guinness PRO12, but turned their fortunes around for only their fourth league victory of the season.
After giving Kingsley Jones’ side an early lead from a penalty, O’Brien went on to add 11 further points for the Dragons, with tries for the Welsh outfit coming from Sarel Pretorius and skipper Lewis Evans.
A score from Tito Tebaldi and three points from Tommaso Allan looked to have given the Italians hope early on in the first half, but a sudden increase in tempo from the Dragons put the game to bed.
O’Brien broke the deadlock for the Dragons, kicking them into the lead from the tee after the Italians were penalised in front of the posts.
But Treviso immediately responded when Tebaldi reacted quickest to a Dragons mistake, hacking on and gathering to cross in the corner.
They further extended their lead on 24 minutes when Allan successfully kicked for three points after the Dragons were called up for slowing possession at a ruck, having given away a handful of penalties in the lead up.
It didn’t take long, however, for the hosts to regain their advantage, upping the tempo for Pretorius to dot down under the posts after spotting the gap before O’Brien nailed the conversion.
Pretorius was then sin-binned seven minutes later for slamming the ball down following a scrum in the Dragons’ 22, before the visitors wasted a glorious opportunity to pull some points back, knocking on after attacking from the scrum.
O’Brien ensured Jones’ men would go into the break with a five-point advantage, slotting home a penalty from 40 metres on the stroke of half-time.
The hosts saw their lead further extended ten minutes into the second period, that man again O’Brien – the Dragons’ top point scorer – coolly burying a drop goal after struggling to find a way through the Treviso defence.
He then stretched his side’s lead to 11 points four minutes later, opting for the posts after the opposition were penalised.
It was the turn of Evans to cross the whitewash next for the Dragons, finding himself on the end of the maul to score, and the hosts put the game out of Treviso’s reach when Dorian Jones added the extras.
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