THE Dragons were given a 38-14 hammering by Connacht in the Guinness PRO14 last night. Here are the talking points from the clash at Rodney Parade...

HARRIS HAMMER BLOW

A telling blow happened with just two minutes on the clock when prop Brok Harris suffered a horrible bang to the head when attempting to make a tackle.

The way that he staggered around, with wing Ashton Hewitt looking for assistance, meant that a return was never likely.

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Ryan Bevington had been named on the bench on Thursday but failed to recover from the knee injury that saw him miss the win in Zebre.

That led to Jack Cosgrove being Harris’ back-up and the summer recruit from Worcester was swiftly into the fray.

The loosehead needs to prove himself to his former Worcester boss Dean Ryan, who wasn’t at the helm when the signing was made, but didn’t have a debut to remember.

The Harris-Bevington combo has served the Dragons well but they need Cosgrove and prospect Josh Reynolds to make strides.

LINEOUT SHAMBLES

Richard Hibbard had a strong first season at the Dragons but last night was a performance to forget.

The former Wales and Lions hooker put in the odd firm hit in defence but his darts were terrible in the testing conditions.

A throw early in the second half, when the ball slipped out of his grasp and wobbled a couple of metres, summed up Hibbard’s night but the veteran will no doubt respond in the coming weeks before Elliot Dee returns.

WET-WEATHER WOES

A 2017 study, using data from the Met Office, revealed that Newport was the 13th wettest city in the UK. Cardiff took top spot and Swansea was 11th.

It seems that games at Rodney Parade are always accompanied by rain; even if the skies were blue most supporters would probably bring a cagoule.

The Dragons want to play high-tempo, expansive rugby but they need to be better at adapting and work out how they can avoid being ground down by those that are better at the nuts and bolts.

There are no easy solutions, they don’t have the budget to bring in a load of hefty Georgians and their overseas recruit, Samoa lock Brandon Nansen, sadly seems to be injury prone.

Last night was the same as Munster on opening weekend. The Dragons have to find a way of staying in the fight in slippery conditions.

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HEADS DROPPED

There will be plenty for the Dragons to work on ahead of Glasgow at the end of the month but brains seemed frazzled in the second half.

A moment summed that up in the 64th minute when they scrambled in defence and then replacement scrum-half Tavis Knoyle looked to clear from 10 metres away from his line.

We’ve grown used to seeing sides line up like Saracens to give their 9 the opportunity to land their kick on the mark but instead the forwards were lined up for a carry to Knoyle’s right, nobody blocked the defender and there was a clear line for a (partial) chargedown.

Just seconds later Huw Taylor flew into a breakdown and dangerously cleared out Caolin Blade.

The Dragons had lost their heads and were getting the little details wrong.

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CONNACHT INSPIRATION

Five tries, 38-7 up and job done… yet the visitors didn’t just wave the Dragons over at the death.

Connacht were still scrambling in defence with the clock in the red, determined to not give away any freebies.

Their line was crossed thanks to Owen Jenkins’ lovely assist for Taine Basham, but the Dragons had to work for it.

Connacht’s spirit is what will make them contenders for the play-offs and Champions Cup qualification again.

They are exactly what we would love the Dragons to be.