DEAN Ryan says the Dragons can’t hide from their power problems that are “staring them in the eyes” after being outmuscled for the second time this season by Irish opposition.

The Rodney Parade region endured a 38-14 hammering by Connacht in the Newport rain on Friday, coming a distant second best in the exchanges in the tight.

A try by centre Tyler Morgan had given the Dragons the lead but 38 unanswered points meant there was precious little cheer when flanker Taine Basham went over at the death.

It was a demoralising night at Rodney Parade after the high of a win at Zebre and defeat came from being overpowered by the Irish province, just as they were when beaten 39-9 by Munster in Limerick on opening weekend.

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“We can’t hide from the fact that in that game we never contested in certain areas to the required level. We started brightly but we didn’t adapt to the rain coming in,” lamented director of rugby Ryan.

“Full credit to Connacht for their pressure game, their physicality, ball carrying and the scrum and the drive – they were areas where we were very much second best and we have got to respect those areas.

“We’ve definitely challenged ourselves to play the game faster and in a different way but the best part of rugby is the basic fundamentals of the challenge around physicality. You can’t hide from that and we came very much second best in that.”

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Ryan was chosen as Bernard Jackman’s successor this summer and has constantly warned against expecting overnight miracles to happen at Rodney Parade.

“This is a very good game to remind us that there are not another 10 things that we need to go and find out about, we’ve just got to be better at the 10 things we need to engage with,” he said.

“Sometimes we have looked for magic and something different, but this is staring us in the eyes.

“Sometimes we can be smarter and stay away from things, but not on a night like Friday and not on a day like at Thomond Park. You can’t hide and we have to address that challenge in the group.”

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The Dragons have spoken about wanting to play a high-tempo, expansive game but Ryan knows that their failings up front means that teams will relish getting them in an arm-wrestle.

“There is a danger that sometimes you can talk about minimising the impact of certain things by playing differently,” said Ryan.

“You’ve got to be careful that that is not running away from it. We can’t run away from it, we have certain issues in the physical contest and come up against sides that put that very directly at us.

“Connacht do that aspect very well, they kick very well and put us under pressure, their scrum put pressure on us, their lineout drive put pressure on us.

“That’s what the game is – the game only grows out to be something else if those areas are a really equal contest. If you can’t contest in that area then you have a challenge, especially on evenings like Friday.

“We have never been under any illusions about the challenge, Friday was just an example of how we look to start to get better.

“We won’t get better just because we have a conversation on Tuesday, we need to roll up our sleeves and start engaging with those aspects of the game.”

The Dragons are next in action against Glasgow in Newport at the end of the month.

They will hope to have loosehead Ryan Bevington back after he was forced to pull out of the Connacht game because of a knee injury.

That blow that led to debutant Jack Cosgrove playing 78 minutes after coming on when influential prop Brok Harris suffered a concussion.