THE Dragons XV had to settle for a pair of bonus points after being beaten 40-35 by the Scarlets in the first part of the Rodney Parade double-header.

The Celtic Cup fixture went the way of the west Walians, who scored six tries to the Dragons’ five.

The smattering of experience in both sides helped make it a good contest, therefore far more useful as an exercise than the one-sided drubbing of Munster in Newport.

That game had seen the Dragons’ backs running amok but this time it was the forwards and hard-running centre Connor Edwards to the fore.

Lock Max Williams continued his impressive Celtic Cup campaign, running the lineout well and showing leadership around the park, while fly-half Arwel Robson controlled things nicely for a half on his return from nine months out with a torn hamstring.

The demand from head coach Luke Narraway will be that his young charges continue to learn valuable lessons in the remaining fixtures against Irish title contenders Ulster and Leinster plus the Ospreys.

South Wales Argus:

The Scarlets struck first when former Dragons scrum-half Jonathan Evans put through a nice grubber in the 22 for centre Ioan Nicholas to go over, fly-half Ioan Hughes converting for a 7-0 lead after six minutes.

The hosts responded swiftly after kicking a penalty to the corner with centre Connor Edwards first cutting a lovely line inside the 22 and then crashing over with his second carry.

Fly-half Arwel Robson added the simple conversion and then kicked a tougher effort after 15 minutes after an attack that started with his interception on the 22.

The Dragons rather made a mess of the breakout but got away with it for loosehead Josh Reynolds to crash over for a 14-7 lead.

It was soon level-pegging when Evans, Argus Dragon of the Year in 2013 and a class act, sniped over.

Back came the home side with their driving lineout doing the damage before Reynolds hammered over for his second, with a combined yardage of two.

Robson converted to make it 21-14 but the lead went when centre Edwards had a moment that left him smacking his forehead in frustration.

The 12 ran hard from lineout ball but passed before contact, only the ball to fly behind his support and gift Nicholas a second that Hughes converted.

The Scarlets ended the half on the front foot and got their reward through a driving lineout score by hooker Daf Hughes for a 26-21 lead at the break.

South Wales Argus:

The Dragons were back in front seven minutes after the restart when they hammered away in the 22 before Edwards atoned for his earlier error by running a nice line to go over from an inside ball.

Carwyn Penny, who had moved from full-back to fly-half after Robson’s planned half-time exit on his return from injury, kicked the conversion for a 28-26 lead.

It swung back the way of the Scarlets approaching the hour when hooker Rhys Lawrence was sin-binned for killing the ball under the posts and then the visitors’ scrum earned a penalty try and a 33-28 lead.

The visitors took command when Tomi Lewis skinned Wales Sevens international Joe Goodchild with a brilliant finish down the right that Hughes converted.

The Dragons produced their own cracker for a fifth when an offload by hooker Will Griffiths put full-back Dai Richards racing under the posts, Penny making it 40-35.

There was still time to press for a winner but the hosts had to settle for a consolation bonus.

Dragons XV: C Penny, R Dyer, T Hoppe, C Edwards, J Goodchild, A Robson, D Babos; J Reynolds, R Lawrence, C Coleman, E Scragg, M Williams, B Roach (c), B Hoppe, B Fry.

Replacements: W Griffiths, J Cosgrove, L Yendle, M Ayling, G Price, D Buckland, O Lewis, D Richards, M Richards, J McCarthy.

Scorers: tries – C Edwards (2), J Reynolds (2), D Richards; conversions – A Robson (3), C Penny (2)

Scarlets scorers: tries – I Nicholas (2), J Evans, D Hughes, penalty, T Lewis; conversions – I Hughes (4)