THE Dragons suffered another away defeat in the Guinness PRO14 after being hit by a late Cheetahs surge. Here are the talking points from the clash in Bloemfontein…

DESERVED DEFEAT, CRUEL SCOREBOARD

Clearly the Cheetahs were worthy winners but those just looking at the scoreline would think it was a drubbing.

The truth was that it was nip and tuck throughout and the Dragons led on the hour and were just four points down with seven minutes left.

Legs were weary and when the Cheetahs applied the killer blow to make it 24-13 the floodgates opened.

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COSTLY TACKLE COUNT

Just before fly-half Tian Schoeman jinked over to make it 24-13, a graphic came up on screen with the tackle count. Both teams had missed 10 but the Dragons had made 126 to the Cheetahs’ 61.

Defence is tiring and on the whole the visitors were pretty solid, especially in the first half when really under the pump.

However, the workload took its toll and there was no more energy to rally when the game was gone at the death.

The Dragons simply don’t hold onto the ball well enough and their possession and territory percentages continue to kill them.

TALENTED TEEN

Joining Wales internationals Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty in the back row was Taine Basham and once again the teenager from Talywain impressed.

The flanker is a bundle of energy and, while he is raw and has the mad moments you expect of someone so inexperienced, continues to catch the eye.

With a powerful finish from close range, some telling blows and one superb jackal on his line, Basham is yet another Gwent back rower to get excited about.

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JUST 80 MINUTES TO GO IN ANOTHER GRIM SEASON

The Dragons sit bottom of Conference B and if they fail to beat the Scarlets then it’s possible that not only will they fail to overtake the Southern Kings but they are at risk of having a worse points tally than Conference A basement dwellers Zebre.

The stunning win against the Ospreys at the end of December provided hope of a fighting second half to the campaign but it has been desperate.

Of the 40 points available since that derby success at Rodney Parade, the Dragons have managed just THREE.

One imagines that has put paid to Ceri Jones’ hopes of being boss next season rather than forwards coach but whoever it is that calls the shots faces an almighty task.

With just four wins this season and with an away winless streak that will stretch at least to four and a half years, surely the only way is up? However, we’ve said that plenty of times before.

Fingers crossed the Dragons will at least give the Scarlets a bloody nose at Judgement Day in their last game until late September.