History of the Derby: Dragons v Scarlets

Bradley West
20 December 2019

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It’s the most wonderful time of year for rugby fans who will be treated to a bumper festive derby period in the Guinness PRO14.

Over the next three weeks the fierce local rivalries that make up the Guinness PRO14 take centre stage with bragging rights and crucial points up for grabs.

On Saturday Dragons host Scarlets in a Welsh derby that has so often delivered thrillingly dramatic clashes.

Dragons stun Scarlets on Judgement Day

It was a monumental Judgement Day for Dragons in the last meeting between these two sides as they secured a first Guinness PRO14 win away from Rodney Parade since March 2015.

In a nine-try thriller it was the Dragons who triumphed 34-32 in dramatic fashion thanks to a late Matthew Screech try, converted by Jason Tovey.

And even that almost proved in vein as Rhys Patchell had the chance to steal the win away from the Dragons only for his last-gasp drop-goal to fly wide to the delight of all Dragons fans.

Scarlets had led 17-6 at half-time through tries from Ioan Nicholas and Johnny McNicholl but the Dragons remarkably found it in them to fight back in the second 40 minutes of the contest.

Screech scored two tries alongside efforts from Jack Dixon and Josh Lewis to earn a sensational highlight at the end of a difficult season, only their sixth ever win against Scarlets in the competition.

Scarlets edge past valiant Dragons

Back to another Judgement Day now, this time in 2017, when Scarlets edged past Dragons in a gritty encounter.

In a brilliant victorious season for Wayne Pivac’s side, who claimed their second title, it was the Dragons who provided some of the most resistance in their April encounter.

Scarlets were overwhelming favourites, housing a star-studded line-up and facing a Dragons side on a nine-match losing streak in all competitions, but it was the Dragons who were the better team for large parts of the match.

Dragons contained the Scarlets threat and took a 6-3 lead into the break but, despite a last-minute Adam Hughes try, scores from Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams eventually ended the resistance of Kingsley Jones’ outfit in a 21-16 success.

Scarlets tested once more

Earlier in that same season it was Dragons again who gave Scarlets a stiff test.

After just 35 minutes the visitors had taken a 20-7 lead thanks to a try by Hallam Amos and two from Adam Warren but Scarlets recovered in a famous fightback.

Liam Williams went over just before half-time in a pivotal score which preceded a superb solo try from Jonathan Evans and Steff Evans also crossed the whitewash twice.

Sarel Pretorius’ try made for a tight and tense finale but Scarlets just about held on for their third consecutive win of the season, running out 31-27 victors.

Poor form proves no barrier for Dragons

Back in 2013 Dragons provided another memorable win in the history of their encounters with Scarlets when they ended a ten-match losing run in beating their Welsh rivals 23-16.

The Dragons employed an adventurous approach and reaped the rewards through Phil Price and Evans who both went over.

Scarlets, as they often do, didn’t go down without a fight with a Scott Williams try and Rhys Priestland’s kicking giving them hope.

But, the Dragons held out with the kicking efforts of Jason Tovey and Tom Prydie to thank.

Sensational Scarlets earn miracle win

Speaking of Scarlets comebacks, they pulled off a truly incredible performance in September 2008 to come from 25-6 behind to win 27-25 at Rodney Parade.

The visitors appeared dead and buried in the contest when tries from Richard Fussell, Tom Willis and Lewis Evans put the Dragons well clear.

Martin Roberts and Nathan Brew popped up with crucial scores as the match went on though, aided by a yellow card to Dragons’ Tal Selley, but even then, the hosts looked like holding on by the skin of their teeth.

But, Stephen Jones changed all that three minutes from time when he knocked over a penalty from under the posts to spark jubilant scenes amongst the travelling support.

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