DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman says his slow starters could pay the price for a defeat to Cardiff Blues by being dropped to the bench for their New Year’s Eve derby against the Ospreys.

The Rodney Parade region lost their 18th successive Guinness PRO14 clash against Welsh rivals in the torrential rain after leaving their charge too late.

Tries by wing Aled Summerhill, centre Rey Lee-Lo and wing Tom James put the Blues in a commanding 22-3 lead with half an hour remaining.

A score by replacement tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother and a penalty try from a driving lineout gave the Dragons hope but they failed to steal the spoils, with Jackman stating it would have been a burglary.

“Cardiff Blues deserved to win, we weren’t anywhere near good enough in the first 55 minutes,” lamented the head coach.

“We need to ask questions about why we made so many errors and why we lacked the intensity that we had spoken about.

“It’s a bit of a flip for us because so far this season we have been quite good at the start and struggled at the end, but the bench made a good impact and maybe put their hands up to start against the Ospreys because the starting team didn’t do the job that we wanted them to.”

Jackman is set to be without full-back Hallam Amos for Sunday’s date with the men from the Liberty Stadium after he limped off in the closing stages, while his Wales teammate Leon Brown is also unlikely to feature because the tighthead continues to struggle with a concussion suffered against New Zealand in November.

A bumper crowd headed through the turnstiles to watch the Dragons against the Blues and the boss knows that they have to give their supporters more to cheer against the Ospreys.

“It’s an opportunity missed for us. At least we showed a bit of heart and our fans respect that,” said Jackman.

“We showed a bit of character but certainly those first 55 minutes aren’t a good image of how we want to portray ourselves.

“We were really excited about getting a big crowd in. Thankfully we showed a bit of heart at the end but that wasn’t anywhere near where we want to be and we have got to fix it.

“Maybe we are not used to dealing with that pressure and expectation. We need to fix it because we want to play in front of big crowds and be dominant at home, but we just didn’t fire.

“There were a lot of individual errors and we just didn’t get any momentum. There’s very little time to stew on it, we just have to fix it.”

The Rodney Parade faithful vented their frustration at Irish referee Andrew Brace but unlike last weekend, when Jackman slammed Scottish official Mike Adamson following the Challenge Cup loss to Newcastle, the Dragons boss wasn’t pointing the finger at the man with the whistle.

“We weren’t clinical enough, I have not got any complaints about him,” he said.