Let's take out pain of defeat on the Blues – Appleyard
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons coach Rob Appleyard has called on his charges to take their frustration out on Cardiff Blues after they failed to break their Dublin duck.
The Dragons have never recorded any league points from their encounters with Leinster in the Irish capital.
But they let a golden opportunity to secure at least one bonus point against the European champions slip through their fingers at the Royal Dublin Society on Saturday.
The Dragons scored three tries but failed to make their pressure count in the final quarter before a last-gasp Leinster interception try took the final score to 45-25.
“We have to lick our wounds,” said Appleyard. “Hopefully there will be a backlash against the Blues on Saturday because there is a feeling of huge disappointment in the squad.
“We had some real chances in the second half and should have gone over for that fourth try. We need to be much more clinical than we were.
“After the opening win against Zebre we wanted to build momentum for the Blues game and we should have done that.
“It’s hugely frustrating that we don’t have anything to show for our efforts because this was a great chance for us and our preparation was perfect.
“We didn’t make them work hard for their tries and then failed to take our openings when they came along.
“There needs to be some honest chat this week because there is no way that we should have been going home with nothing. There were some great moments in attack but we need to be much, much more clinical against the Blues.”
Defence coach Appleyard was also frustrated that the Dragons failed to thrive at the breakdown – an area that they bossed against Zebre.
“We struggled with the referee’s interpretation at the contact area,” he said about Italian official Marius Mitrea.
“That took our momentum out of attack and defence and gave Leinster plenty of territory.
“It forced us to make the decision to leave the contact area alone and fill the field – something that we don’t really like to do. He just wasn’t seeing it the way that we did but we made the change and that led to us having chances to come back into the game.
“That we didn’t make the most of those opportunities is a massive disappointment but there were some positives and it was good to get Adam Jones and Lewis Evans back out there after injury.
“That bodes well and there will be some tough selection calls for the Blues game.”