BOSS Dean Ryan felt World Cup referee Nigel Owens didn’t give the Dragons the reward they deserved for dominance up front in the tense derby defeat to Cardiff Blues.

The Rodney Parade region suffered a 16-12 defeat in the Guinness PRO14 clash at the Arms Park.

Flanker Taine Basham scored in the first half and lock Matthew Screech put the visitors into the lead soon after the resumption but penalties by fly-halves Jarrod Evans and Jason Tovey earned the hosts a derby victory.

READ MORE: Cardiff Blues 16 Dragons 12

The Dragons were stronger up front while the Blues looked slicker behind, but director of rugby Ryan was frustrated that his pack didn’t get the reward their efforts merited.

South Wales Argus:

“It was a game where I don’t think people necessarily valued the same things as we did – we didn’t get anything from our scrum and we didn’t get anything from the driving lineout,” said the former England forward.

“The Blues did a pretty good job at slowing our ball down, which made it a pretty difficult place for us. I am not sure where you are supposed to go when that happens, normally you would go to your drive but we weren’t getting anything from that.

“Credit to the Blues defensively, they were pretty hard to break down. I’m not sure I would the same interpretation of people around the contact area but they did a pretty good job of slowing us down.

“That made it difficult for us because if you can’t go to the scrum, you can’t go your drive and you can’t get fast ball then it’s a big old pitch to try and find a different answer.”

The Dragons took the spoils against the Scarlets thanks to Sam Davies’ last-gasp drop goal and left the capital with a consolation bonus point.

After showing their fighting qualities in a pair of derbies, they now have one last push against the Ospreys on January 4 to make it a winning festive period.

South Wales Argus:

“Emotions are always a bit mixed after a defeat like that, it always hurts a bit when you are in something so close but don’t get it,” said Ryan.

“I am pretty pleased and proud of how competitive we are and how we are working things out in games.

“For us to be in a contest away from home, five days after winning against the Scarlets, I am pretty proud of our group.

“We’ll just talk about doing that regularly and getting better at understanding how to make that next step because we had a chance at the end but didn’t really manipulate that situation to pull the trigger.”

Evergreen loosehead Brok Harris played his second successive 80-minute game after youngster Josh Reynolds was a late withdrawal.

Wales number eight Ross Moriarty limped off early in the second half with a dead leg but the Dragons dug deep.

“People have got to recognise that is a squad on a five-day turnaround that is funded the way that we are with the age range that we’ve got,” said Ryan.

“Maybe they will look at us and give us some credit for what we are doing because that was an amazing challenge, for both squads, to do a game of that quality five days after playing another derby with Christmas in the middle.

“Anybody asked to play this game knows that it hurts. If you had a normal week it would hurt, so full credit to both sides.”