THE Dragons XV suffered defeat in their Celtic Cup opener after being edged out by Connacht Eagles in Galway.

The Rodney Parade region headed to the Sportsground with a very inexperienced team for the start of the development competition.

Fly-half Conor Dean kicked an early penalty for Connacht but the Dragons, coached by Luke Narraway, responded through wing James McCarthy, the Ireland Under-20s international from Newport who has returned to the region from Munster.

Lineout ball was won by lock Max Williams and the backs moved it neatly to the left where Wales sevens speedster Owen Jenkins provided the try-scoring pass.

The 5-3 lead was short-lived with Dean knocking over a pair of penalties for the hosts.

The Dragons got their noses back in front on 31 minutes when centre Connor Edwards, aiming for a return to the senior XV after an injury-plagued 2018/19, went over.

Fly-half Evan Lloyd added the extras but Dean punished more indiscipline to ensure it was level-pegging at half-time.

Eagles openside Lucas Culliton profited from a chargedown to strike first for the hosts but the Dragons were back in front with half an hour left when Wales Under-20s wing Rio Dyer (pictured) crossed to make it 19-17.

South Wales Argus:

However, the winning score came as the game entered its final quarter thanks to Connacht scrum dominance with number eight Mikey Wilson crossing after a spell of pressure, Dean's conversion making it 24-19.

The Dragons struck the post with a penalty with 10 minutes left and failed in their bid for a fourth try, leaving them to settle for a consolation bonus.

They welcome Munster A to Rodney Parade on Friday (kick-off 7pm) and will wear the region's new kit, which is being revealed at an event for fans at 3.30pm.

Dragons XV: O Jenkins, R Dyer, C Edwards, A Owen, J McCarthy, E Lloyd, D Buckland, J Cosgrove, E Shipp, L Yendle, E Scragg, M Williams, L Greggains, B Fry, B Roach (captain). Replacements: W Griffiths, J Reynolds, H Hibbs, M Ayling, B Hoppe, D Babos, J Botica, J Goodchild.

Scorers: tries - J McCarthy, C Edwards, R Dyer; conversions - E Lloyd (2)