THE Dragons' horror show against Leinster prompted the players to lead a harsh dissection of their shortcomings in a bid for an upturn in fortunes at Northampton on Saturday, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade region got back to work at their Ystrad Mynach headquarters on Monday after stewing on their nine-try, 59-10 hammering to the Guinness PRO14 champions for 24 hours.

The Dragons were dismantled by Leinster's team of fringe players and bright prospects with the Irish province securing their bonus point early in the second half and then, after Rhodri Williams had raced over for the hosts, crossed for five more tries despite the introduction of Wales internationals Cory Hill, Ross Moriarty, Elliot Dee.

It made it a video nasty when the squad, minus the Test contingent who have been given a holiday week, gathered on Monday morning.

Head coach Bernard Jackman and his management team took a back seat with the players taking the lead as they held their hands up to individual errors and pointed the finger at mistakes of their colleagues.

"The weekend was really upsetting and bitterly disappointing for all of us. We came in on Monday and had a player review – it's different when your peers are talking," said tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother.

"Sometimes it's from the coaches, but when your peers are giving criticism and feedback it helps.

We've put that to bed and want to bounce back.

"It's hard to hear it from your peers but we want an honest culture. You have got to put your hand up sometimes if there are missed tackles or errors or you jump out of the system in defence.

"It's hard but you get respect for each other and make sure you don't do it again. It was good."

Backs coach Barry Maddocks hopes that the Monday meeting has set the Dragons up for a much-improved display in the European Challenge Cup at Franklin's Gardens.

"It was a poor performance, so the boys have had to pick themselves up," he said. "It was good and the boys reviewed themselves, which is needed in order for them to understand things.

"They were thorough in their review of the departments and how things went and as coaches we supported them in that process.

"We expect a reaction from the boys and they have trained really well. We are looking for a significant improvement in performance in lots of aspects.

"Of course it's about restoring pride, for the whole group – players, staff, everyone. We have to change it around for this week."

Northampton are also looking for a response after losing at home to Newcastle, a defeat that keeps them in the thick of the Gallagher Premiership relegation scrap.

The Saints will be on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages if they repeat their October win at Rodney Parade.

Clermont Auvergne are hot favourites to top the group but Northampton have two games against Timisoara Saracens that should yield 10 points, which combined with a Dragons double should be enough for at least a best runners-up spot in the last eight.