CAPTAIN Richard Hibbard admits the Dragons let themselves down with their home horror show against Leinster – but believes their daunting European date with Northampton is the perfect opportunity to restore their pride.

The Rodney Parade region endured a 59-10 hammering at the hands of the Guinness PRO14 champions despite the visitors leaving their big guns in Dublin.

The Dragons headed into the game on the back of an 18-12 win against Edinburgh but shipped nine tries and barely fired a shot in attack on a miserable night in Newport.

“We let ourselves down out there,” said former Wales hooker Hibbard, who led the side with Cory Hill on the bench after Test duty.

“We had the worst possible start and it wasn’t down to them, they are a good team and we know that Leinster are clinical, but we gave them possession and a hell of a start.

“I honestly can’t put my finger on it, I thought that we lacked physicality out there, and cohesion.

“From last week against Edinburgh it was chalk and cheese. Last week we really put it out there but this week we didn’t have it.

“It is tough and you just have to keep the team going and keep their heads up. There are lessons to be learnt from that.”

The Dragons now head into the Challenge Cup needing to win at either Northampton of Clermont Auvergne to keep their slim knockout qualification hopes alive.

“The challenge doesn’t get much bigger than Northampton and Clermont, but I think that’s great and it’s straight back on the horse,” said Hibbard ahead of the clash with the Saints, who lost to Newcastle in the Premiership this afternoon.

“It’s exactly what the boys need – when you get a drumming like that at home it hurts your pride, and if it doesn’t hurt your pride then you shouldn’t be on the park.

“There is no better chance than going out to Northampton at their place to show some heart and pride.

“We’ve got to pull ourselves together and dust ourselves off, because that wasn’t us. It does hurt.”

As an experienced player of 38 caps for Wales and a successful Lions series in Australia five years ago, Hibbard knew that the changing room wasn’t the time for ranting and raving.

“Sometimes less is more in situations like that, we are all hurting and no-one likes to lose at home, let alone with that sort of scoreline,” said the 34-year-old.

“It’s about keeping chat to the minimum, dusting ourselves off, have 24 hours away from the boys to come in on Monday open-minded to see what we did wrong.”