DIRECTOR of rugby Lyn Jones lamented a Newport Gwent Dragons horror show after Connacht battered them up front for a bonus-point win at Rodney Parade.

The region headed into the game looking to put the heat on the Scarlets for sixth place in the RaboDirect Pro12 but instead it is the Irish province that are sniffing the final qualification spot for Europe’s premier competition after a comprehensive 24-8 success.

They ran in four tries thanks to their strong scrum and driving lineout and such was their dominance that Jones changed his front row after just half an hour with the score at 14-3.

“That was the worst opening that we’ve had all season and it took the wind out of our sails,” said Jones, whose side sit ninth after being leapfrogged by Edinburgh and Connacht.

“We’ve made such good progress throughout the season but we have taken a big backwards step in many facets of the game.

“Connacht played well and their error count was pretty low, while we were pretty poor and it’s not difficult to see where our weaknesses are.

“It’s not nice to make early replacements but we were running backwards in the scrum and had to change the front row – we didn’t concede a point while (ex-England tighthead) Duncan Bell was on.

“We have made strides as a team and as individuals this season but all the bad habits associated with Gwent rugby came back and we are back to square one.”

The Dragons will attempt to return to winning ways against Zebre in Italy on Saturday.