THE Dragons failed to answer questions over their defence after suffering another heavy 40-23 pre-season defeat in their final tune-up against Glasgow in Ebbw Vale.

Bernard Jackman’s side headed to Eugene Cross Park on the back of losses to a trio of European heavyweights in Montpellier, Northampton and Exeter.

And unfortunately they failed to stem the flow against another Champions Cup team in their last hit-out before Leinster head to Rodney Parade in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday.

The Warriors scored six tries as they stretched away in the second half, exploiting some terrible tackling and disorganised defence to take the points shipped in pre-season to 201.

There are mitigating circumstances – defence coach Hendre Marnitz has only been in place for a month.

However, the South African was prowling in the dead ball area and will know that they have to up their game against the men from Dublin, who racked up 54 points in Newport last season.

And it is the Rodney Parade scoreboard that matters, not those in Aveyron, Franklin’s Gardens, Sandy Park and Eugene Cross Park.

New boss Bernard Jackman will have learned an awful lot about his squad thanks to a devilishly tough August schedule. Some have taken their chance, others haven’t and the Irishman will have no doubt about the size of his rebuilding task.

It was another defeat but an invaluable exercise and it was also an entertaining event at Ebbw Vale with a good crowd considering the afternoon kick-off.

That had been arranged to allow the Warriors to get back in good time for their preparations for their PRO14 opener in Galway with entry free for supporters, who were rewarded with better weather than the last time the Dragons headed to Eugene Cross Park.

They beat Northampton four years ago in torrential rain but this time perfect conditions ensured both sets of coaches could get a good look at all their charges.

The Dragons named a strong set of backs that could conceivably start against Leinster, perhaps with the addition of Sarel Pretorius and Gavin Henson at half-back, with centre Tyler Morgan enjoying his first outing of pre-season after his Wales exploits.

Up front there were more individuals with opportunities to force their way in – notably captain for the afternoon James Thomas and fellow flanker James Benjamin after they endured frustrating 2016/17 campaigns.

Brok Harris shifted across to start at loosehead while locks Matthew Screech and Ashley Sweet had a chance to shine in the absence of club captain Cory Hill and Rynard Landman.

The Dragons made a bright start with ball in hand, with wing Ashton Hewitt making a pair of glorious takes of high kicks, and got the points their efforts deserved through the boot of Angus O’Brien on six minutes.

And the fly-half was soon adding the extras after the first try of the afternoon, albeit a rather fortunate one.

The ball was worked wide to the left for Hallam Amos from a solid scrum and the Wales wing put in a grubber that should have been dealt with.

However, Rory Hughes was left slamming the turf in frustration after slipping to gift Charlie Davies the simplest of scores under the sticks.

At 10-0 up Jackman would have been happy but he would have been even more pleased with the defensive effort after being porous in France, the Midlands and Devon.

But that changed on 18 minutes when a missed tackle allowed Hughes to atone for his error and scoot over for a try that fly-half Adam Hastings, son of Scotland legend Gavin, converted.

The Scots were soon in front when a sumptuous Scott Cummings offload put full-back Ruaridh Jackson, usually a fly-half and who had been on the Dragons’ radar before Jackman took over, under the posts for 14-10.

The Dragons settled and O’Brien narrowed the gap after a late hit on Harris – worthy of a yellow in a proper game – before missing with another long-range effort nearing half-time.

There was still time for the hosts to push before the break but an attack sparked by a trademark dazzling Hewitt break fizzled out.

The Dragons started the second half the stronger and nudged in front 16-14 through O’Brien’s right peg before he was wide left with a long-range effort.

Then it all went wrong with a maddening few minutes to make Marnitz’s blood boil with a pair of soft tries for Nick Grigg and Cummings, the second a super finish by the rapid lock after poor tackling on former All Blacks wing Lelia Masaga.

It got worse. More weak tackling and large gaps allowed Sam Johnson to go over to make it 33-16 to the Scots as the game entered the final quarter.

The Dragons had to show some resilience yet it was one-way traffic with Patrick Kelly powering over on a strong midfield run from a close-range scrum, Peter Horne’s conversion making it 40-16.

Thankfully the hosts had the chance to work on their attack for a period and they at least had the final say when a nice break by Hallam Amos ended with Adam Warren reaching over.

However, it didn’t mask the size of the defensive work that needs to be put in for Leinster.

Dragons: Z Kirchner (A Hughes 52), A Hewitt (J Rosser 46), T Morgan (P Howard 52), S Beard (A Warren 52), H Amos, A O’Brien (D Jones 52-64), C Davies (D Jones 70), B Harris (T Davies 52), E Dee (R Buckley 52), L Brown (L Fairbrother 52), M Screech, A Sweet (M Snook 60-70), J Thomas (captain), O Griffiths (N Cudd 40, L Greggains 52), J Benjamin.

Scorers: tries – C Davies, A Warren; conversions – A O’Brien (2); penalties – A O’Brien (3)

Glasgow: R Jackson, L Jones, N Grigg, S Johnson, R Hughes, A Hastings, G Horne, J Bhatti, J Malcolm, D Rae, B Alainu'uese, S Cummings, L Wynne, C Fusaro, A Ashe (captain).

Replacements: G Turner, G Strain, A Nicol, G Peterson, K McDonald, H Burr, M Smith, M Fagerson, H Pyrgos, P Horne, P Kelly, L Masaga, S McDowell.

Scorers: tries – R Hughes, R Jackson, N Grigg, S Cummings, S Johnson, P Kelly, ; conversions – A Hastings (2), P Horne (3)

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)