THE Dragons suffered more Guinness PRO14 derby anguish after running out of steam at the Arms Park to fall victim to a stirring Cardiff Blues comeback.

The Rodney Parade region played 40 minutes of scintillating rugby to lead 21-10 at the break thanks to scores by wings Adam Warren and George Gasson and hooker Elliot Dee.

The Dragons were physical in defence and daring in attack, playing with panache and what was almost an obsession for the offload.

It was marvellous rugby with Gavin Henson pulling the strings expertly, Tyler Morgan rediscovering his cutting edge and Hallam Amos showing why many see him as a full-back… but it all ended after 40 minutes.

The second half was one-way traffic with the Blues running in five tries and 33 points, although at least replacement prop Lloyd Fairbrother earned a four-try bonus consolation late on.

What looked like being a stunning upset turned into a chastening evening in the capital, a turnaround to highlight the lack of depth in the Dragons’ squad.

They had been hindered by injuries in the build-up – 29 in total – and although they were able to field a pretty good XV, the fear was always that the bench lacked experience and oomph.

So it proved, meaning that instead of sending a message of intent at the start of Bernard Jackman’s era, the Dragons’ two miserable streaks continue.

They have not won away in the PRO14 since March, 2015 while they have not won a derby since triumphing in the capital on Boxing Day earlier in that season.

For almost three years they have suffered defeats in Newport, Swansea, Llanelli, Cardiff (Arms Park and Principality Stadium) and even Caerphilly.

It was a miserable regional run that was 15-games long and rarely have they been as close to ending it.

The Dragons gave some hope on Thursday afternoon by naming Amos and Ashton Hewitt in their XV but then took half of that away on arrival at the Arms Park.

The former took his place at full-back after coming through the warm-up unscathed with his left leg heavily strapped but the latter didn’t feature and nor did fellow wing Jared Rosser.

That led to Adam Warren making his first appearance of the season on the right with Gasson making his second Dragons appearance on the left after a solid debut at Ulster a fortnight ago.

Nonetheless, Jackman was able to name a XV that is not far from his best, it was just the lack of depth and experience on his bench that was cause for concern.

That meant a rapid start – similar to their triumph in the capital almost three years ago – was essential… and they got one with a fantastic try inside four minutes.

Amos was caught with a high tackle by tighthead Taufa’ao Filise but the Dragons played on, the full-back and then impressive hooker Elliot Dee offloading to spark a wonderful attack from their own half that ended with scrum-half Sarel Pretorius, number eight James Benjamin and then fly-half Gavin Henson putting Warren over.

Referee Nigel Owens showed a yellow card to the hosts’ prop before the TMO gave the green light for the score after deeming the final pass was flat.

Henson converted marvellously but the Dragons were soon level-pegging after failing to make a proper job of the restart.

The 14-man Blues went on the charge in the 22 before Wales hooker Kristian Dacey burst over from close range for a try that Jarrod Evans converted.

It was manic stuff and the Dragons were soon seven points ahead again after incessant pressure in the 22 that ended with Henson passing to the left flanker where Wales hopeful Dee burst through the poor tackle of Keiron Assiratti, who was on for Filise.

Henson banged over his second majestic conversion of the evening and even though the action continued to be manic, the scoring dried up until Evans knocked over a 26th minute scrum penalty to cut the Dragons’ lead to 14-10.

But soon the visitors were beyond a score for the first time with a try that Gasson will always remember as his first in senior rugby, but one that the rest of us will remember for Tyler Morgan’s stunning break.

The Wales centre hasn’t shown too much threat with ball in hand in recent year but scented a chance when the ball came his way just outside the 22 and raced past Willis Halaholo on the outside, stepped inside full-back Rhun Williams and offloaded after being caught by Alex Cuthbert for his novice winger.

Henson converted for a 21-10 lead that the Dragons held as they headed to their changing room – if they had enough gas in the tank then the XV had a glorious opportunity to end those horrid derby and away streaks.

Yet they made a sloppy start to the second half by failing to clear their lines and inviting Blues pressure that eventually, after a number of close scrapes, ended with Evans putting replacement full-back Matthew Morgan over.

Evans made it 21-17 before a scrum penalty allowed Henson to build a seven-point buffer.

But that was a rare excursion into Cardiff territory with the hosts completely bossing matters against a Dragons side that was tiring and without any experienced impact on the bench.

Every head in the stands was turned towards the Westgate Street end to watch the action as the Blues continued to press and it was all rather inevitable when wing Tom James raced through a gap for the Blues’ third try just past the hour.

It stayed at 24-22 when Evans missed the conversion but the hosts were within inches of the lead when Josh Navidi intercepted Amos and raced 70 metres only for a magnificent Tyler Morgan tackle to save the day, the Wales flanker held up over the line.

The respite didn’t last long and the Blues raced away with a trio of quickfire tries, first Cuthbert powering over, then Evans spotting a gap and then Matthew Morgan dashing away.

The Dragons were beaten, although they did rally to earn a bonus thanks to Fairbrother barrelling over from a yard.

The nightmare derby run goes on but the first 40 minutes gives hope that it can be ended in 2017/18.

Cardiff Blues: R Williams (M Morgan 40), A Cuthbert, R Lee-Lo, W Halaholo (S Shingler 74), T James, J Evans, L Williams (captain, T Williams 59), B Thyer (C Domachowski 52), K Dacey (M Rees 61), T Filise (K Assiratti 52), S Davies, D Welch (J Down 52), J Navidi, O Robinson (K Assiratti 5-14), N Williams.

Scorers: tries – K Dacey, M Morgan, T James, A Cuthbert, J Evans, M Morgan; conversions – J Evans (5); penalty – J Evans

Dragons: H Amos, A Warren, T Morgan, J Dixon, G Gasson, G Henson (A O’Brien 74), S Pretorius, B Harris (L Garrett 74), E Dee, L Brown (L Fairbrother 74), M Screech (J Davies 8-15, 61), C Hill (captain), J Thomas (A Wainwright 71), O Griffiths, J Benjamin.

Scorers: tries – A Warren, E Dee, G Gasson, L Fairbrother; conversions – G Henson (3); penalty – G Henson

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Attendance: 8,178

Argus star man: Tyler Morgan