THE Dragons kicked off the Guinness PRO14 with a home defeat to Leinster. Here are five things we learned from the 39-16 loss at Rodney Parade.

1: Patience is needed

The opener was always going to be a tricky test and so it proved against a strong and well-drilled Leinster who showed why many are tipping them to lift the trophy in Dublin in May.

But the Dragons have had just a month with new defence coach Hendre Marnitz at the helm while it will take time for Bernard Jackman’s attacking plans to settle.

It would have been nice to see them threaten more with ball in hand given the outside backs on the teamsheet but fingers crossed we will see more of that as the weeks pass and combinations bed in.

2: A fit Henson will flourish

It was a mixed bow in a Dragons jersey for the former Wales playmaker but he showed flashes of what he can do. His composure will rub off on teammates and they will get used to running off him.

Encouragingly the 35-year-old was happy to mix it with Leinster and copped more than his fair share of big hits but lasted the 80 minutes.

If Henson stays fit he will add greatly to the Dragons attack - give him good options and the fly-half/centre still has the ability to hit them.

3: Battle of the bulk

It was said on countless occasions last season that the Dragons didn’t have line-busters in the absence of Ed Jackson.

That remains the case and Bernard Jackman must be tempted to involve Robson Blake, who has his weaknesses but is dangerous carrier, in his 23 while it will be interesting to see how summer recruit hooker Gerard Ellis goes as the season progresses.

He could also do with Rynard Landman rediscovering the superb form from his early days at Rodney Parade alongside Cory Hill.

“We have to be technically very detailed and tactically very smart to try and make it not about power,” said the head coach.

“Money buys you power and better athletes. We need to find other ways because you don’t find power in September in the transfer market.”

4: Bench impact

If the Dragons are to have a good season then they need luck with injuries given their thin squad.

Starting the campaign with Lewis Evans, Sarel Pretorius, Sam Hobbs, Ollie Griffiths and Nic Cudd, a quintet of regulars, on the sidelines was far from ideal.

It was great to see youngsters Max Williams and Jared Rosser make their Dragons debuts from the bench but Jackman needs more oomph in numbers 16 to 23.

The management need the injured to recover quickly and for those sent out for Premiership action to prove a point.

5: Class divide

The opening weekend of the Guinness PRO14 didn’t give the bookies any reason to reconsider.

Leinster were top quality even without their Lions contingent, Jamie Heaslip and Garry Ringrose and they will be battling with Ulster and the Scarlets in Conference B while Munster and Glasgow are the pick of Conference A along with the Ospreys.

The league may now be split but the Dragons’ progress will be measured against traditional peers and the next fortnight, with Edinburgh followed by Connacht, will give us more idea about the early days of Jackman.