Phillips breaks Dragons hearts

Newport Gwent Dragons were effectively eliminated from the Amlin Challenge Cup after Welsh scrum-half Mike Phillips scored a late try to give Bayonne a 25-22 win at Stade Jean Dauger.

The Dragons led for much of the contest, with Tom Prydie kicking 17 points and Lewis Evans grabbing a try, but the visiting side could not hold on until the final whistle.

It is still mathematically possible for the Dragons to finish top of Pool 3 and qualify for the quarter-finals, but a Wasps win against Italian minnows Mogliano on Saturday would seal their fate.

Bayonne made a fast start and took the lead before the two-minute mark as fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter slotted over a penalty, but the Dragons eventually found their feet and Prydie levelled the scores.

Prydie missed a chance to put the visitors in front when Robin Linde was penalised for a high tackle, and it was Bayonne who edged back ahead as Potgieter sent over his second penalty on 20 minutes.

But the Welsh side then grabbed the opening try from the restart, Michael Poole charging down a clearing kick and skipper Evans collecting the loose ball to score. Prydie added the extras.

Bayonne had Sam Gerber sin-binned as the Dragons continued to come forward, with Prydie knocking over two more penalties to make it 16-6 at the half-time interval.

Prydie added three more points to the lead on 52 minutes but this time Bayonne hit straight back, mauling their way to the try-line before David Roumieu touched down, with Potgieter adding the extras.

The French side continued to pile on the pressure and moved to within one point when Gerber dived over in the corner, although Prydie gave the Dragons some breathing space with his fifth penalty.

But the visitors were caught out when Phillips, who has played for every current Welsh RaboDirect PRO12 side except for the Dragons, took a quick tap penalty over for the decisive try in the 77th minute.