Result: Dragons 10-10 Edinburgh

Edinburgh held on for a draw at Rodney Parade after weathering a second-half onslaught by the Newport Gwent Dragons.


Ben Cairns gave Edinburgh a great start with an incisive run after eight minutes that took the 22-year-old over the try line, Phil Godman converting.

A Godman penalty gave the Scots a 10-0 lead, but the Dragons then took charge.

Richard Fussell replied with a try and Aled Thomas kicked the Welsh level, before Joe Bearman was just denied a winning try in the final seconds.

Heavy rain and a fierce wind promised to make mischief with both side’s handling, but perversely the opening score was a slick backs move.

Cairns had been handed the captain’s armband for Edinburgh’s trip south and he soon laid down an example for his team-mates to follow.

The young centre cut a great angle to scythe through the Dragons midfield, helped by some powder-puff tackling from Ceri Sweeney and Martyn Thomas, and lope away to the line.

Godman added the conversion and then a penalty to give Edinburgh a 10-0 lead with just 15 minutes played.

Further woe for the Dragons arrived when Sweeney took a heavy knock to his shoulder and was forced off, with Aled Thomas coming on to take over at fly-half.

The home side needed some inspiration and it came in the form of Bearman, the burly back-row who picked and drove to punch great holes in the Scottish line.

Once the Dragons pack gave their backs the semblance of a platform a home try soon followed.

Ashley Smith dinked through a delicate grubber-kick and Fussell just beat the Edinburgh cover to dot the ball down, Aled Thomas adding the extras.

Edinburgh lost Nick De Luca to injury just before half-time, the centre damaging an ankle that was soon wrapped in ice but must put in doubt his Six Nations involvement for Scotland against England next week.

Godman missed a penalty for the visitors before the break, not helped by the wet and windy conditions, but Edinburgh still held a 10-7 lead.

Aled Thomas struck a penalty in the 57th-minute to tie the scores, but either side of that kick the physios were being kept busy as the cold and the tackling took its toll.

Both sides went all out for the win in the dying moments, with first Aled Thomas having a snap drop-goal charged down by an Edinburgh rush.

The Scottish defence then harried the Dragons backline so well that the Welsh lost their menacing position on the visitors’ 22, then lost the ball after being repulsed to the half-way line.

It seemed that now Edinburgh would have the chance to snatch the win, only for that man Bearman to intervene once again.

The blind-side ripped the ball clear of a Scottish ruck and then raced away up the right wing.

A match-winning try would have been deserved for his efforts and the Dragons’ territorial dominance, only for another magnificent Scottish tackle – this time from Greig Laidlaw – to deny him.

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