THE nightmare Guinness PRO14 losing streak on the road continues but the Dragons will head to Italy with optimism after another battling display in Edinburgh.

The Rodney Parade region were level-pegging after an hour at Murrayfield thanks to a brace by centre Tyler Morgan but the Scottish play-off hopefuls put on the power to condemn them to a 40th successive league away loss.

The embarrassing streak stretches back to a triumph in Treviso in March, 2015 and Ceri Jones’ men return to that ground to try and get the monkey off their back at Benetton, who will be deprived of their Italy internationals, next Saturday.

The Dragons can at least travel in the knowledge that they gave Edinburgh a bloody nose, but they also know that they need to show more in attack.

After pushing title-chasing Munster all the way in the Newport rain, the Dragons repeated the trick against play-off hopefuls Edinburgh in crisp conditions.

The back row of Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths and James Benjamin was superb against their highly-rated counterparts, including Fijian ace Bill Mata, while centre Tyler Morgan produced one of his best displays for quite some time.

Not only did the Wales international score a brace but he made some telling contributions in defence.

There was much to admire about another battling Dragons display in defence, for an hour at least, but now they need to get over the line to prevent he losing run continuing into 2019/20.

Benetton next Saturday is followed by trips to the Ospreys, Southern Kings and Cheetahs and by hook or by crook they need to get a victory.

Of course, the Dragons should not have headed to Murrayfield on a nightmare run, the away hoodoo should have been shattered a couple miles to the south at Myreside in April, 2017.

On that occasion Kingsley Jones’ side were 20-3 up with eight minutes left but contrived to lose the game from the final play.

That was defeat number 23 and is possibly the most galling of all of them as the Dragons worryingly edge closer to a half-century of successive losses.

They could have few complaints about being beaten on this trip to Edinburgh, but at least they made their hosts sweat for their precious points.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Ollie GriffithsINFLUENTIAL: Ollie Griffiths

The Dragons had the first big opportunity when fly-half Josh Lewis kicked a penalty to within 10 metres of the line.

They hammered away at the line – with centre Jarryd Sage going agonisingly close – but Edinburgh held firm and got a crucial jackal next to their posts.

The Scots made them pay almost immediately when centre Chris Dean burst into the 22 and the ball was worked left for his midfield partner James Johnstone to skip past the tackles of Tyler Morgan, Sage and Richard Hibbard for a tenth-minute try that fly-half Jaco van der Walt converted.

But the Dragons weren’t behind for long after a terrific try down the left flank.

Morgan was instrumental in a break into Edinburgh’s 22 and then the Wales centre finished off after lovely hands from full-back Jordan Williams, number eight James Benjamin and wing Will Talbot-Davies.

Lewis converted superbly to level it up… only for the Dragons to fail to claim the restart and be punished with another seven-pointer.

The move was slick but the score was all too easy as van der Walt’s inside ball put right speedster Darcy Graham running free and the Scotland winger put Johnstone over for his second.

But no sooner was the Edinburgh fly-half converting than his opposite number was adding the extras to level after a mad first quarter, Morgan grabbing his second after picking off an awful Dean pass to race over from 30 metres.

The Dragons moved 17-14 ahead when Lewis banged over a penalty but their hosts weren’t interested in threes and twice kicked to the corner rather than at the posts.

Yet the region escaped on both occasions, first through a knock-on by scrum-half Henry Pyrgos and secondly when blindside Harri Keddie came up with a timely, and mightily fine, jackal on his own line.

And his back row partner Ollie Griffiths, who was in the thick of the action throughout, ensured they headed to their changing room with a three-point advantage with a super steal when Edinburgh were putting the pressure on in the final minute of the half.

They started as they finished and it took terrific covering by Will Talbot-Davies to deny Graham after he had chipped over the top and raced after the ball, trying to make the most of the gigantic Murrayfield deadball area.

The Dragons’ resilience forced an Edinburgh rethink – a penalty for a high tackle on 55 minutes led to van der Walt putting the ball between the posts from inside the 22.

The Scots were confident that they had the firepower, and composure, to win it in the final quarter.

They did with the third try coming in the 64th minute when a lineout drive was followed by Scotland flanker Magnus Bradbury powering over on his return from four months out.

The conversion made it 24-17 and the killer blow came with a freak score by wing Duhan van der Merwe, who burst down the left, was tackled by Jared Rosser but bounced to his feet and went over after somehow avoiding the line.

The speedster added a fifth at the death after slick hands down the left to make the scoreboard look a little harsh at 34-17.

Edinburgh: D Fife, D Graham, J Johnstone, C Dean (JP Socino 75), D van der Merwe, J van der Walt, H Pyrgos (captain), P Schoeman (R Sutherland 75), R Ford (D Cherry 55), P Ceccarelli (M McCallum 64), F McKenzie (C Hunter-Hill 70), B Toolis, M Bradbury, L Crosbie, V Mata (A Miller 75).

Scorers: tries – J Johnstone (2), M Bradbury, D van der Merwe (2); conversions – J van der Walt (3); penalties – J van der Walt

Dragons: J Williams (Z Kirchner 73), J Rosser, T Morgan, J Sage (G Henson 56), W Talbot-Davies, J Lewis, R Williams (R Davies 70), B Harris (R Fawcett 64), R Hibbard (captain, R Lawrence 72), L Fairbrother (D Suter 75), J Davies (L Evans 45), M Screech, H Keddie, O Griffiths, J Benjamin (T Basham 67).

Scorers: tries – T Morgan (2); conversions – J Lewis (2); penalty – J Lewis

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

Attendance: 4,584

Argus star man: Ollie Griffiths