DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan says his team have to be smart if they are to thrive against more powerful teams in the Guinness PRO14.

The director of rugby suffered a 39-9 loss to Munster in his first game in charge, with the Irish province running in five tries at a sodden Thomond Park.

The Dragons had plenty of opportunities in the 22 but were unable to force their way over the line, with Ryan left to lament being outmuscled.

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“You sometimes get taught a lesson by Munster in how to get over from five metres but we do have to learn to play sides that are more physical than us,” he said.

“We are not the biggest side but we were a smart side today, which gave us a chance. But we’ve also got to work out how we stay in those contests a little bit longer.

“We know where we are. I haven’t got a magic wand that will get the power game from somewhere, so we’ve just got to keep working on being smart and pray for it to be a little bit drier when we come to places like this!”

The Dragons’ winless streak on the road in the PRO14 has stretched to 45 games but they have another shot next weekend when they travel to Parma, with Ryan expecting another examination up front.

“Zebre will be a pretty physical. They are a big Italian side, so that’s a challenge and there isn’t a simple answer,” he said.

“If it’s raining and the pitch is heavy then it’s a challenge we have got to work out how we can be better in those areas, because we can’t run away from it and go and play a game that only turns up in the sunshine.

“But at the same time we can’t blow apart lots of things that I thought were very good.”

The Dragons do, however, need to find a cutting edge after failing to make pressure count in the second half in Limerick.

“We got opportunities but we didn’t take them and I have seen enough games at Munster to know that you don’t get many opportunities. If you don’t take them then you are going to spend a long time trying to get back into the game,” said Ryan.

“In that first half we had two or three in the 22 and came away with nothing, Munster came twice and came away with two scores.

“At half-time I felt that we still had enough shape and in at 25-9, we came away with nothing again. From there on the contest was distorted by us chasing it.”

Centre Jack Dixon was forced off in the first half with a shoulder injury and will be assessed in the coming days while wing Ashton Hewitt suffered a nasty cut underneath his nose.