THE Dragons were given a 59-10 hammering by Leinster’s second string at Rodney Parade. Here are the talking points from the Guinness PRO14 fixture…

COPPING FLAK, DESERVEDLY

At a Q&A on Monday evening chairman David Buttress stated, as tweeted by the Official Dragons Supporters Club, that “people worried that we’re getting better drives the online vitriol, 90 per cent of social media is utter garbage”.

On Saturday evening the former Just Eat chief executive would have seen an awful lot of “vitriol” and it would be extremely hard to label it garbage, nor could you argue that it was driven by improvement at Rodney Parade.

Supporters are very, very worried and have seen precious little improvement despite the summer of change.

Buttress can just be grateful that he held his Q&A after the narrow win against Edinburgh rather than this Monday, otherwise he would have needed a tin hat.

NOBODY EMERGES UNSCATHED, INCLUDING ABSENT BOSS

The Dragons players failed to produce the goods and need to respond strongly at Northampton on Saturday… and their coach needs a spirited performance at Franklin’s Gardens.

Some of the pressure was lifted on Bernard Jackman when his charges sneaked home against Edinburgh in his absence because of a two-week stadium ban.

Now the heat is intense after such a meek performance against Leinster’s second string (even if their second string are mightily impressive).

The Dragons’ 23 that was selected yesterday is, on paper at least, as strong as we have seen for years and yet the performance was among their worst horror shows.

Everybody knew that it was a big rebuilding job when Jackman took the reins but the lack of any signs of improvement is worrying.

He needs the green shoots to show in the coming months in order to convince Dragons fans that he is the man for the job.

A NEW LOW?

Past nightmare performances have been met with jeers but this time there was just stunned silence as the men in blue crossed with ease in the second half.

How bad was it? You could make an argument for it being worse than that horrendous 60-3 against Glasgow in Newport given the strength of the Dragons line-up.

Against the Warriors in 2013 they were bringing Josh Tyler off the bench for Ian Nimmo, this time they were calling Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty and Elliot Dee into the fray fresh from beating the Springboks.

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LACK OF LIFT

If the Dragons’ troubles were just down to leaving it too late to reintroduce their Wales contingent then there would have been some crumbs of comfort.

Instead it was just as bad when lock Cory Hill, hooker Elliot Dee, tighthead Leon Brown (briefly) and back row forward Ross Moriarty came off the bench.

The general lethargy and inability to change the momentum was alarming. There was just one spell when the Dragons exerted any real pressure, and that brief spell on the stroke of half-time yielded no points.

HUGE CHALLENGES AHEAD

The next five games are massive for the Dragons and the fixture list is daunting.

Northampton are not a great side and their Premiership struggles got worse with a late loss to Newcastle at home on Saturday, but they will respond at Franklin’s Gardens.

The trip to Clermont Auvergne could get ugly even if Jackman fields his first team and they put in a great performance – on their day the Frenchmen aren’t far off Leinster standards.

Then come the festive derbies in Cardiff, against the Ospreys in Newport and at the Scarlets in Llanelli.

The odds will be short on a whitewash of five losses but the Dragons desperately need to cause one upset. At the very least they need to avoid any more hammerings.