Rynard Landman gets his marching orders as Connacht slay Dragons
Newport Gwent Dragons captain Rynard Landman could find himself in hot water after being sent off during his side's 30-25 Guinness Pro12 defeat to Connacht at Rodney Parade.
The South African second row was dismissed for a high tackle on Connacht fly-half Jack Carty (inset) just 15 minutes into the game after Scottish referee Lloyd Linton looked at the big screen and consulted with his fellow officials.
It may see Landman handed a ban which could be as long as eight weeks, potentially ruling him out of the Dragons' big European Challenge Cup quarter-final Welsh derby with Cardiff Blues on April 4.
It was part of an eventful match which saw Dragons wing Hallam Amos score two tries and centre Jack Dixon get one. Wing Tom Prydie added two penalties and converted two tries.
Connacht went over for tries through centre Craig Ronaldson, number eight Eoghan Masterson and replacement second row Mick Kearney, with fly-half Carty kicking a penalty and two conversions, while full-back Darragh Leader added two penalties and a conversion.
The Dragons went ahead when Prydie booted a long-range penalty but, after influential full-back Jason Tovey slipped awkwardly on the wet surface and limped off, Connacht raced into a 17-3 lead.
Ronaldson drove over in the middle after an attacking line-out put the Dragons under the cosh. Carty added a penalty to the conversion a few minutes later.
Landman's needless high tackle and dismissal on the halfway line wrecked the Dragons' flow as they faced an uphill task in playing the rest of the match with 14 men.
After Carty missed a couple of straightforward penalties, back row Masterson added a further five points when he drove from five metres through the desperate Dragons defence on their own line, with Carty kicking another two points.
The frustration of the afternoon boiled over when both packs got to grips with each other but the Dragons had the final say of the half.
Welsh international Amos went diving through the mud and over the Connacht line after a move right from the base of a ruck.
Linton checked for crossing by home centre Jack Dixon but ruled he had not interfered with play and granted the Dragons their touchdown.
But it looked like Connacht would inch their way to a comfortable victory as the Dragons gave away a couple of penalties within reach of Leader, who took over the kicking duties when Carty went off.
As much as the rain tried to ruin the game, handling was excellent for the most part by both sides.
But the Dragons kicked on again and, despite their disadvantage, they got to within five points when Dixon scrambled his way over down the right from a well-worked move.
It seemed like the Welsh outfit could secure an unlikely win but Connacht wrecked those hopes as Kearney charged down an attempted clearance inside the Dragons 22 and followed up to pounce on the ball.
Leader converted to put Connacht 12 points to the good with just minutes remaining.
However, the fighting Dragons would not be denied.
After playing the ball for three minutes through phases up the field, Amos found a slight gap in the Connacht defence to go over from 20 metres for a touchdown that Prydie converted, thus securing a losing bonus point for the home side.