Max Deegan's first half try was all Leinster could manage against the Dragons in the United Rugby Championship this afternoon but it proved enough for victory in a match of low quality at Rodney Parade.

Deegan touched down after 13 minutes, with Ross Byrne adding the extras, and the home side had to play with two men off the pitch for parts of the first half when Lewis Jones and Josh Lewis were sin-binned.

Despite the advantage, Leinster couldn't put more points on the board in the opening 40 minutes and led just 7-0.

Conditions worsened in the second half and Leinster were forced to hang on after two Sam Davies penalties within three minutes of each other inside the final quarter made it a one-point game.

Nick McCarthy was denied a try by the TMO because of a knock-on earlier in the build-up with three minutes remaining.

The closing play saw Leo Cullen's side happily kick for touch to ensure the points from a forgettable game and one which should have been considerably more comfortable.


It was Leinster's 11th consecutive victory over the Dragons, whose winless streak against Irish provinces extended to 22 matches.

The home side suffered two early blows. First scrum-half Jones was penalised for a deliberate offside to pick up a yellow card, with the visitors immediately capitalising when Deegan forced his way over.

The Dragons’ woes continued when full-back Lewis followed Jones into the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on but both players were able to return without any further damage to the scoreboard as Leinster frittered chance after chance with inaccurate play.

The visitors completely dominated the opening period and it took Dragons over half an hour to enter the opposition 22 and although it came to nothing, the hosts could still take considerable heart from a brave defensive effort which saw them only trail 7-0 at the interval.

After the restart, Leinster lost wing Rory O’Loughlin to a head injury as the hosts continued to frustrate their opponents and the third quarter finished scoreless.

Rhys Ruddock charges forward

Despite never threatening to score in that period, the Dragons made a better fist of it as they prevented Leinster from having so many gilt-edged opportunities.

After 63 minutes, the home side had their first scoring chance and they took it with Davies knocking over a simple penalty.

Almost immediately Davies kicked a second and Leinster looked in danger of going down to a shock defeat as the introduction of Rhodri Williams at scrum-half seemed to galvanise Dragons.

Leinster thought they had put the game to bed with three minutes remaining but McCarthy’s try was chalked off for a knock-on by Robbie Russell in the build-up, but they held on following a few final tense minutes.