JAMES Benjamin has called on the Dragons to prove that they deserve to wear the shirt by responding to their “unacceptable” Munster humiliation by showing spirit against the Saints, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade region open their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a clash against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 5.15pm).

The Dragons have been licking their wounds this week after a 49-6, seven-try hammering at the hands of Munster in Cork.

A raft of injuries, plus the absence of Wales’ Cory Hill, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown and Hallam Amos, means changes will be kept to the minimum.

Back row forward Benjamin, who has made a fine start to the campaign, knows the squad has a point to prove.

“Frankly it was unacceptable from us. The 23 take full responsibility for that performance,” said the 23-year-old from Rogerstone.

“It was unfortunately as bad a performance as it gets and we have had to take a long hard look at ourselves.

“We have to improve across the board because there were uncharacteristic errors from 1 to 23. We let the club down, we let ourselves down and we let the badge down.

“It was so disappointing but it’s all about the comeback now. It was a step backwards but the Anglo-Welsh Cup is a chance to put things right.

“We have got another opportunity and there are only so many lessons that you can have – we need to see actions on the pitch.

“We have to get things right over the next couple of weeks before going back into the PRO14.”

The Cork display was all the more galling for Benjamin given that it was his first time skippering his region.

“It was a huge honour, the proudest moment of my career,” he said. “Sadly it’s not going to be a great memory but we have to put things right now. We have to prove that we deserve the shirt, because it’s an honour.”

Benjamin has played in nine of ten games this season, his only weekend off coming when the Dragons faced Ulster. After being frozen out in 2016/17, when he made just one appearance off the bench, the flanker is loving life under new coach Bernard Jackman.

“It’s been enjoyable just to be playing again after a difficult couple of seasons,” said Benjamin.

“I will just keep my head down and keep trying to improve. As a team I think we are getting better, excluding the Munster game, and I am confident that the wins will come soon.”

l Robson's chance at 10: Page 40