19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
Following a night of torrential rain, the game was played in difficult conditions. However, Connacht began on a positive note and were clearly dominating in the possession stakes.
The visitors capitalised on some Dragons indiscipline and Dan Parks put the first score on the board with his penalty kick after six minutes.
The challenging conditions prevented free-flowing rugby and it was 25 minutes until the hosts made their chances pay. Prydie scored the first of his three penalties after Connacht hooker Jason Harris-Wright was sent to the sin-bin.
Eric Elwood's men then faced another massive blow when Andrew Browne was ordered to join his team-mate on the touchline.
Reduced to just 13 men, the westerners were under huge pressure in their own 22. The Dragons took their chance with Leech sliding over in the left corner. Prydie failed to convert but the home side went in 8-3 up at half-time.
Two more accurate penalties from Prydie in the second half stretched his side's lead to 14-3 with half an hour to go.
Dragons' captain and flanker Lewis Evans then became the third man to see yellow with 13 minutes remaining and Connacht looked threatening with a number of scrums and lineouts close to the Dragons' line.
Unfortunately, they were unable to break through the Welsh side's defence and the final whistle dashed any hope of a losing bonus point.
Connacht replacements Ethienne Reynecke, Rodney Ah You, Ronan Loughney and David Moore were introduced from the bench.
Connacht assistant coach Dan McFarland said after the match in Newport: "We're extremely disappointed. We were clearly on top of the game for the first 20 minutes and, for one reason or another, the game swung.
"We made a couple of mistakes, and then it was two yellow cards and they scored - it wasn't possible to get back into the game after that.
"They scored that crucial try when we were down to 13 men. That was the turning point and effectively that cost us in the end."
The former front rower added: "Building up to next week and our next match (at home to Edinburgh), we have to pull ourselves back up from tonight. That was a huge game for us and the lads are incredibly disappointed.
"Even with the swing, we should have had the composure to win the game. It's going to cost us in the long run. It makes next week's game even more important now."
|Newport Gwent Dragons Score Card|
|Connacht Rugby Score Card|