NEWPORT Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones was full of praise for his charges after they went toe-to-toe with one of Europe’s most powerful sides.

The Dragons head into the Guinness Pro12 season on the back of a superb 27-25 win against English champions Northampton at Eugene Cross Park.

They turned a 25-13 deficit into a victory in the closing stages when lock Cory Hill and Tom Prydie added to wing Aled Brew’s try.

But Jones would have been delighted with the display even if it had ended in defeat, especially given the way that they stood firm against the Saints’ formidable tight game.

“We showed a lot of guts, determination and the ailments from last season seem to have disappeared,” said Jones.

“Northampton are a hugely talented side but we weren’t overawed or overpowered. It was only a friendly but it was very pleasing.

“Some of the stuff from Northampton was as good as you get, not just in Europe but throughout the world, but we stood up to it and gave as good as we got.

“We were looking around counting the number of England internationals! They are a big and powerful side but are also very accurate.

“The pressure during that first half was immense in every facet and that’s something that we have got to learn to deal with. We did well, our defence was solid and we came back at them.”