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The regions claimed two valuable home wins and suffered two away defeats in a weekend of mixed results in European action for the Welsh teams.

Newport Gwent Dragons and Scarlets both secured vital home victories to keep their European campaigns ticking over nicely, while the Ospreys suffered an agonising close defeat out in France and the Blues went down over the border in England.

Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues relinquished their 100% winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as they suffered their first loss of the campaign in a 34-23 reverse against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

The Blues were well in the contest for much of the game and a first half try from Cory Allen, who got on the end of a well worked move, plus two penalties from Gareth Anscombe kept them in contention at the break.

However, the Blues were unable to seal a second win over their hosts in two weeks as second half tries for Irish from Shane Geraghty and ex Scarlets wing Andy Fenby were enough to see the exiles home, despite a try for Gareth Anscombe.

After the result the Blues are still second in Pool 1 and well positioned to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. They will now seek to bounce straight back at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Friday when they host Scarlets in the first of six red hot Welsh derbies to be played in the Guinness PRO12 over the festive period.

Newport Gwent Dragons

Once again the men of Gwent showed that Dragons eat wolves for dinner when they ran in eleven tries against Bucharest Wolves on Friday evening as they romped to a 69-17 bonus point win in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Rodney Parade.

The Dragons conceded a try early in the first half then bounced straight back, just as they did last week in Bucharest, and secured a bonus point with their fourth try before the 25 minute mark after the early hiccup.

In total the Dragons scored tries through Tom Prydie (three), Nic Cudd, Ross Wardle, Hallam Amos, Andrew Coombs, Jonathan Evans, T Rhys Thomas, Geraint Rhys Jones and Luke Jones in their record breaking win against Bucharest Wolves. Geraint Rhys Jones also filled his boots and added seven conversions.

The result leaves the Dragons in second place in Pool 3 with key fixtures to come against Newcastle Falcons and Stade Francais that will decide whether they make the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Ospreys

For the second week in a row Ospreys put in a spirited second half comeback but lost narrowly to Racing Metro in the European Rugby Champions Cup as they went down 18-14 in Le Mans.

Just as in the first part of this European double header at Liberty Stadium last week, Ospreys found the going tough in the first half against one of the most physical French teams on the block, as Racing opened up a 15-0 lead at half time thanks to two well worked tries.

But with the odds stacked against them the Ospreys displayed another remarkable fight back in the second half, with their large and powerful hosts tiring after the break due to the pace the visitors played the game at. Tries from Rhys Webb and Eli Walker, both converted by Dan Biggar, brought the ospreys back to within a point of their hosts but yet again it was a case of so close and yet so far for Ospreys as a late penalty for the home side secured the result.

The Ospreys face Ulster at home next weekend in the Guinness PRO12 and will look to bounce back from tough European defeats by maintaining their unbeaten run in the Guinness PRO12 at Liberty Stadium this season as they aim for some big wins over the busy festive period.

Scarlets

Scarlets moved up to second place in Pool 3 of European Rugby Champions Cup with a great 22-13 win over Ulster at Parc y Scarlets yesterday to maintain their unbeaten run at home in all competitions in 2014.

Scarlets turned in a mature performance, mixing up play well and kicking accurately and intelligently throughout the contest, which had all the physical battles you would expect against a tough Ulster side.

In wet and windy conditions Scarlets went into half time with a 12-0 lead thanks to the boot of Rhys Priestland and it was a lead the home team would not surrender. As Ulster fought back in the second half with a converted try and two penalties the Scarlets felt the pressure but when flanker Davies intercepted the ball from an Ulster scrum he burst clear to score a converted try underneath the posts to clinch the win.

Yesterday’s result will give the Scarlets great confidence as they face an action packed run of fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 over the festive period, including three mouth-watering Welsh derbies. They travel to face Cardiff Blues at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Friday with nothing to fear and will look to grab a highly prized away win as they keep chasing a league play-off spot.

Pro Rugby in Wales is gearing up for the six big Welsh derbies over the festive period when you can enjoy the thrills live at a feast of regional rugby at it’s best. There will be fun for all the family at these great fixtures so make sure you have your seat booked!

Cardiff Blues v Scarlets, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, Friday 19th December, 7.35pm kick off.

Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, Friday 26th December, 2.05pm kick off.

Ospreys V Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, Saturday 27th December, 5.15pm kick off.

Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, Thursday 1st January, 2.05pm kick off.

Scarlets v Ospreys, Parc Y Scarlets, Saturday 3rd January, 5.05pm kick off.

Ospreys v Newport Gwent Dragons, Liberty Stadium, Sunday 11th January, 4pm kick off.

For tickets see the links below.

Cardiff Blues tickets: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/cardiffblues/default.aspx

Newport Gwent Dragons tickets: http://www.newportgwentdragons.com/Tickets

Ospreys tickets: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/ospreysrugby/default.aspx

Scarlets tickets: http://www.scarlets.co.uk/eng/fans/tickets/index.php