sport

Zebre denied maiden Pro12 win

RaboDirect Pro 12 newcomers Zebre were denied a first victory of the season in a 14-13 defeat to the Dragons.

The Italian minnows led 13-3 early in the second-half after Matteo Pratichetti crossed in the dying minutes of the opening period.

However, the Welsh side hit back through Jevon Groves on the hour, and with Steffan Jones kicking three penalties the Dragons edged an unconvincing win.

Pride was realistically the only thing at stake for the Italians, who still prop up the table with a meagre haul of seven points.

But when home stand-off Alberto Chillon kicked a penalty in the 21st minute there was cause for cheer and centre Pratichetti duly went over seven minutes after Jones had levelled the scores from the kicking tee.

That try was converted by Chillon and the Parmesan club held a sizeable advantage at the interval.

They increased their lead to 10 points through another Chillon penalty when play resumed but Newport soon began to wrest back some control.

Jones' second penalty brought the Dragons within sight of victory in the 56th minute and back-row forward Groves dotted down to narrow the deficit to just two points with 19 minutes to play.

The Italian crowd cheered when the subsequent conversion was missed but Parma fell silent when Jones steered his third and final penalty through the sticks to win the game in the 69th minute.

Newport close to within a point of 10th-placed Edinburgh, who lost at Ospreys on Friday, with reigning champions Leinster next up at Rodney Parade. Zebre, meanwhile, are 15 points adrift at the bottom of the table.