Wales star's red card proves crucial as Dragons lose eight-try thriller

Dragons look on after Connacht score -Credit:Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency
Dragons look on after Connacht score -Credit:Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency

A late red card for Wales lock Ben Carter proved crucial as the Dragons went down 34-27 to play-off chasing Connacht at Rodney Parade.

The Dragons have won four matches all season - all at home - and were within a chance of making that five heading into the final 10 minutes with the scores all level.

However, Carter's dismissal late on ultimately tipped the game in Connacht's favour, with the Irish province scoring the winning try from the resulting penalty.

With victory, Connacht moved in front of the Ospreys in the table as the URC play-off place heats up with three rounds of matches left.

The visitors opened the scoring after just two minutes, with Shamus Hurley-Langton crashing over from close range.

The Dragons responded almost instantly, with centre Steff Hughes stepping through the Connacht defence to dive over.

However, tries from Ireland international Finlay Bealham and John Porch moved the Galway side two scores ahead before the half-hour mark.

Dai Flanagan's side would finish the half strongly, with a powerful maul setting the platform for scrum-half Rhodri Williams to snip down the blindside and score just before the break.

Connacht's maul caused problems at the start of the second-half. First, Wales hooker Elliot Dee was sent to the sin-bin on his 150th appearance for the club after bringing down a maul illegally.

Then, minutes later, Connacht made their numerical advantage up front count, with the maul powering over for their bonus point try through Dave Heffernan.

A Cai Evans penalty closed the gap, before Wales wing Rio Dyer showed great pace to latch onto Jordan Williams' grubber to level the scores with a try.

The two sides exchanged penalties as the scores remained even heading into the final 10 minutes, before Dragons lock Ben Carter was sent off for a high tackle on Connacht winger Shane Jennings.

That allowed Connacht to go to the corner again, with their maul driving its way over as replacement hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin touched down for the winning try.