THE Dragons' result at Castres may have been one to forget but the six-try defeat at the Stade Pierre-Fabre is one that Carwyn Penny will always remember fondly.

The 21-year-old from High Cross came off the bench after 66 minutes in the European Challenge Cup defeat in France.

With the score at 35-7 the game had already been lost but Penny was keen to make an impression on his first outing in senior rugby.

The full-back, who came through Newport High School Old Boys along with fellow prospects Rio Dyer, Josh Reynolds, Lennon Greggains and James McCarthy, had spent the previous week training with Wales Sevens but injuries to Jordan Williams and Will Talbot-Davies led to a Dragons debut in front of 8,273 supporters.

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"It was amazing, the French love it and the atmosphere was incredible. There was a real buzz and it was surreal to make my debut in France," he said.

"I enjoyed it against a good team. I didn't find out until Thursday that I had got the call after having been away with the sevens the previous week.

"I came back in for training, learnt my roles and got in the mix. It's not the way that I wanted things to happen but injuries happen and you have to take your opportunities when they come and put your best foot forward."

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Penny signed for the Dragons last year after previously being with the Gloucester academy, who have a link with his former school Clifton College.

The Wales Under-20s international featured in the friendly wins against Hong Kong and Russia last season, played club rugby in New Zealand in the summer and continued to work towards bridging the gap to senior rugby in the Celtic Cup at the start of the campaign.

The Dragons had to field fly-half Jacob Botica as a makeshift full-back in France and Penny is keen to press for a first start.

"I used to play 10 so I like getting in the mix, attacking the line and being that second pair of hands," said Penny, who has played Premiership rugby with Cross Keys, Bargoed and Ebbw Vale.

"It was a good experience to play Hong Kong and Russia last year and it was nice to make my first team debut.

"Now I want to try and stay in the mix and take my opportunity when chances come. I need to make sure I know my role and do my job."

Penny is likely to make appearance number two when the Dragons attempt to secure progress to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup on Friday.

A bonus-point victory would earn a place in the last eight, either as Pool One winners if Castres slip up at Worcester or as one of the three best runners-up.

"It's a tight group and we need to get the five points," said Penny. "We are still in the mix despite losing in Castres and just have to take care of what we can control."

The Dragons cannot earn a home quarter-final even if they pip Castres to top spot.

Bristol, Toulon, Leicester and Bordeaux-Begles currently lead the other groups and are in pole position to enjoy last eight ties on their own turf.

Edinburgh host pointless Agen, so are set to claim one of the three best runners-up spot along with the team from the Dragons' group.

The final spot will go to Pau if they beat Leicester in France on Saturday but a Tigers win would open the door for the Scarlets, who head to London Irish in the evening.