At Rodney Parade, South Africa’s Bulls defeated Dragons by a bonus point margin in the United Rugby Championship (URC).
The South African back Kurt-Lee Arendse’s score was a highlight as the Bulls surged to a 17-point lead in the opening minutes.
Bradley Roberts and Max Clark scored tries for the Dragons to come back and make the halftime score three points.
The visitors won in Newport thanks to goals from Harold Vorster and Bismarck du Plessis in the second half.
Bulls ended a three-match losing streak and moved up to third in the table thanks to the scrummaging dominance and ball-carrying abilities of number eight Elrigh Louw.
Seven games have passed without a victory for the Dragons, including six defeats and a draw.
Dai Flanagan’s team suffered their ninth league defeat with just three victories. They currently sit in 14th place, just behind Scarlets and Zebre.
After recovering from back and calf injuries, Wales flanker Ollie Griffiths made his first appearance of the season in the Dragons’ back row.
From the team that lost to Scarlets, Griffiths was one of five new players. Sean Lonsdale started as a flanker, and flyhalf Sam Davies, center Max Clark, fullback Jordan Williams, and Sio Tomkinson moved to the wing with Ashton Hewitt resting.
Following the announcement that Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan had officially left the region this week, Rodney Parade was a tale of both new and old coaches.
Warren Gatland, the manager of New Wales, was in Newport to watch his first live domestic game after returning from New Zealand.
Due to illness, Bulls World Cup-winning coach Jake White was unable to attend Rodney Parade.
After running back a loose Dragons kick and evading the tackles of Sean Lonsdale and Griffiths, his replacement, fly-half Johan Goosen, also missed the game due to illness.
Arendse was let go by Goosen, and he rode a Rio Dyer tackle and slid over. Before converting, Goosen converted a penalty.
Under pressure from Bulls wing Canan Moodie, scrum half Lewis Jones deliberately punched the ball out of play, earning him a yellow card.
As the Bulls jumped out to a 17-point lead after 15 minutes, a penalty try was awarded because a try scoring opportunity was missed.
The trend then reversed. After the Wales wing received a Davies chip kick, Arendse’s skillful covering tackle prevented Dyer from scoring.
Despite having 14 men on the field, Dragons scored quickly thanks to a well-executed line-out move that allowed hooker Roberts to dive over and Davies converted.
Goosen was terrible because he kicked out of control and kept missing touch. On the other hand, Davies, a teammate, kicked an excellent attack that set up the hosts’ second try.
The hosts only trailed by three points at halftime thanks to a long pass from captain Steff Hughes to fellow center Clark, who crossed into the left-hand corner and Davies converted again.
For the start of the second half, Dragons substituted Wales flanker Taine Basham and prop Lloyd Fairbrother for Chris Coleman and Griffiths.
Before Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou was one of the Dragons’ second-half substitutes in his first game since the autumn internationals in November, Davies attempted a penalty but missed the target.
The Bulls’ relentless dominance persisted, laying the groundwork for center Vorster to fall over.
Du Plessis, a 38-year-old veteran replacement hooker, powered over with his first contribution, completing the victory with the bonus point score.
. We made too many mistakes, even though our effort and character have been unbelievable.
Ollie Griffiths, a flanker:
Our game had some good parts, but we had trouble at scrum time and it was hard to stop their power once they got into our 22.
“It made me the most proud I’ve ever been as a Dragon for a long time the way we turned up the energy against the Ospreys, Munster, and the Sharks. Consistency in our performances is crucial to us.