Error-strewn Dragons frustrate boss Lyn Jones
8:01am Monday 4th November 2013 in Sport
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons boss Lyn Jones was not in the mood to toast a plucky effort against Leinster, daft errors were on his mind.
The Dragons suffered a first home defeat of the season when edged out 23-19 by the RaboDirect Pro12 champions at Rodney Parade.
In terms of performance it was a dramatic improvement on the defeats to Bath and Ospreys but it was still a third loss on the spin.
And their failure to take the spoils was compounded by Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets recording fine wins against Treviso and Ulster respectively on Saturday.
"Was it better? I don't want to go there," said director of rugby Jones. "We've got to be looking to win and keep our standards high.
"I don't want to get dragged down into Newport Gwent Dragons' 'oh deary me, sorry, sorry, sorry'.
"That's rubbish, we need to push forward and we need to keep our standards high and win these games – but we've lost."
The frustrating display of Irish official Peter Fitzgibbon meant he left the field to a chorus of boos but the man with the frequently-used whistle got the two major calls correct.
First Dragons lock Adam Jones was yellow-carded for taking out one of Dominic Ryan's lifters at a lineout – a foolish error that saw Leinster score 14 unanswered points to turn a 13-9 deficit into a 23-13 lead.
And then in the last minute replacement Jonathan Evans dived over from a quick tap but it was rightly chalked off for being taken from the wrong place.
"The refereeing doesn't matter – we could have been a lot cleaner in our game," said Jones.
"We were a bit unlucky at the breakdown but that's the way it goes and we need to look at ourselves.
"The sin-binning came from an error that led to a penalty that led to us being back in our 22 – you can't be there, rugby has to be played between the 22s, not inside your own.
"The only way to do that is be clean and return the ball, whether by hand or the boot. We have nobody to blame for this defeat but ourselves."
The Dragons struggled under the high ball all evening and made 11 handling errors to Leinster's three.
"I've got mixed emotions, the effort that the players are putting in is fantastic but at the end of the day unforced errors meant we couldn't put any sort of pressure on our opposition," said Jones.
"We gifted Leinster territory and that stopped us having the ability to score points.
"The way that it ended (the Dragons on the attack five metres out) is not important – we lost and there was 79 minutes before that.
"Leinster kicked the ball most of the game and didn't need to play because we were putting the ball on the floor and giving them an attacking platform to come at us."
The Dragons now head into the LV= Cup and an opening clash with the Scarlets in Llanelli on Friday evening.
"We've been loyal in selection to certain players, the LV= and that gives an opportunity for others to put their hands up for selection," said Jones.
"Some have been very unlucky in terms of the starting XV because we've given the team the chance to grow.
"This is a chance to bring some future Dragons into the mix as well. We go to the Scarlets with a lot to prove to each other."
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