Dean Ryan insisted Dragons RFC would take ‘good lessons’ from the 28-12 defeat to a clinical Wasps side in pre-season – as thoughts over selection for the URC season opener in Scotland continue to crystalise.
Front row duo Bradley Roberts and Luke Yendle grabbed tries for the Men of Gwent at Rodney Parade.
A second half fightback, though, was ultimately in vain as the English Premiership side - who had opened up a 21-0 lead early in the second period – took the spoils.
But for Ryan it was another night where the coaching team learnt more about a new-look squad and areas to focus on in the weeks running up to the new league campaign and first game at Edinburgh.
“We were disappointed by the first half. We got caught ball watching a little bit and that is a lesson for us to learn,” said Ryan.
“They were clinical with two or three chances, and we weren’t. They had a few chances to put the ball down and took them and the error rate in that first half was against us.
“The game is simple if you are in the right place mentally and it started to swing back to us in that second half.
"We got on the front foot a little bit, Sio (Tomkinson) comes in and he opens things up a little bit, which makes our game a little bit easier. Suddenly we see what we’re capable of doing.
“It’s good lessons for us, we got another 15 men out on the park, and we are starting to be clearer about who we go to Edinburgh with.”
Ryan admitted Dragons would continue to work on their all-round attacking game after dominating at times in the set piece.
“The set piece gave us good foundations, but we don’t score five-metre drives and we had enough chances,” he said.
“There is plenty of work to do because we have got to have a variety to our attack.
“Our running game is good and five metres out we can look threatening. We have got that capability and physicality, but we have got to be better at getting those five-metre lineouts over.”
There was also positives for Ashton Hewitt and Ross Moriarty as the key duo returned to action after lengthy lay-offs.
“I’m delighted to see Ashton back – simple as that,” said Ryan. “Let’s not make it about anything else. He is back on the field after a long wait.
“Ross being back is also a positive - he probably had to do more than he expected,” he added. “He’s keen to keep building and we’re pleased he’s returned.”
Dragons now complete pre-season preparations with a trip to Llanelli next Friday to tackle Scarlets (kick-off 7pm).
And Ryan will again shuffle his side as he gives players a final chance to push for league selection on the opening weekend in Scotland.
“We’ll look at the squad we take and it’s an opportunity to maybe take some players out, but it’s also another opportunity for others to really stake a claim,” he insisted.
“That is the mentality we must take into the game. We are getting closer to the team that will face Edinburgh, but there are still places to fight for and that is what we want to see in Llanelli.”
It’s good lessons for us, we got another 15 men out on the park, and we are starting to be clearer about who we go to Edinburgh with...