Match Page - Scoreboard
Match Page - Fixed Scoreboard
Match Centre - Preview - Current Standing A v B
Match Centre - Preview - H2H
Match Centre - Preview - Form Guide
Match Centre - Preview - Last Three Meetings
Season so far
Match Centre - Preview - Season So Far A v B
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team A)
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team B)
Newport Gwent Dragons face a do-or-die European Rugby Challenge Cup tie with Brive to see who will make the quarter-finals as Pool 3 winners.
Kingsley Jones’ men travel to France knowing they need a bonus-point win to leapfrog the Top14 outfit and jump to the top of the group.
The Dragons have had an excellent record in France in the past few seasons – they downed Stade Francais in Paris in 2014 – but are yet to win on the road this season.
It all points to a tight encounter but after getting the better of Brive on home soil, the Rodney Parade outfit are confident of a win. A bonus-point success, while limiting their opposition to no points, would send the Dragons through to the last eight for the third successive season.
“We've beaten Brive at home so that shows they are a beatable side,” said their flanker Nick Crosswell.
“They will be different in France but we have been over there in the last couple years and had some wins against some pretty good sides.
“It's a massive challenge but one we are willing to accept and one we think we can do.”
In addition to that win over Stade, the Dragons claimed a double over Pau in 2015 and pushed a giant Montpellier side hard in last season’s semi-finals before going down to a 22-12 defeat at the Altrad Stadium.
“I wasn't here for Stade Francais but by all accounts the boys played really well and then we were stoked to get a win against a really good Pau team,” Crosswell added.
“The boys put in a creditable performance against a massive Montpellier side when nobody gave us a shot. The fact we were more than competitive shows we can fight it out with them.
“We need that mindset again and to just get stuck into Brive.”
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
Georgian prop Soso Bekoshvili picked up two tries as Brive powered their way into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals and left the Dragons dreaming of what might have been.
Semi-finalists in the last two seasons, the Welsh region arrived at a sun-bathed Stade Amedee-Domenech knowing they had to in to stand any chance of going into the knock-out phase once again. They got off to a terrible start, clawed their way back into the contest, but then fell away at the death.
Brive, who celebrate the 20th anniversary of their famous European Cup triumph over Leicester in Cardiff on 25 January, got off to a flying start and were 15 points up in as many minutes. Bekoshvili powered his way over for the first of five home tries after only four minutes.
Gaetan Germain couldn’t convert that one, but he kicked a penalty and then added the extras to a second try from Taku Ngwenya with the game only a quarter-of-an-hour old. That gave the Dragons a real mountain to climb, but they quickly began to tackle the task.
Former Wales scrum half Tavis Knoyle scampered over for a try that Angus O’Brien converted and not even a third home try, this time from Damien Lavergne, could dampen the visitors’ spirits. Three minutes after taking over from Knoyle, Sarel Pretorius made sure the Dragons made the most of the yellow card issued to Romain Cabannes by crossing for a second try.
O’Brien added the extras and the gap at the break was only eight points. That was cut even further seven minutes into the second half when Pretorius claimed his second try to make it 22-19.
Now the Dragons were right back in it and had plenty of chances to push for the win. With three tries to their credit, they were only one away from the bonus point they needed, but couldn’t make the most of their chances.
In the end, the power of the home pack triumphed and three of their five tries came from close range, driving line-outs. Bekoshvili was driven over for his second on 64 minutes to bag the bonus-point and then Patrick Toetu put the game beyond doubt with a fifth.
LIVE - TEST - Commentary