BOSS Dean Ryan says the Dragons can’t be reliant on Sam Davies after lamenting a lack of clarity in the absence of the Wales fly-half.

Davies has been called up to the Six Nations squad and will be a member of the travelling party at Twickenham this evening, although Dan Biggar and Jarrod Evans have been named in the matchday squad.

The left-footer has been an influential figure at Rodney Parade since his move east from the Ospreys, dominating the 10 jersey in the absence of long-term injury victim Josh Lewis.

Davies, who kicked the Dragons to late wins against Worcester, the Scarlets, Ospreys and Cheetahs, was sorely missed in Friday night’s 37-25 loss to Benetton.

South Wales Argus:

Jacob Botica made his first start for the region at fly-half since joining from RGC in the summer of 2018 while Arwel Robson came off the bench on his return after a loan spell with Jersey in the English Championship.

The Dragons lacked game control throughout while the Italians were guided around the park expertly by former Munster fly-half Ian Keatley, who deservedly took the man of the match honour.

“It was an opportunity for other people to show what they have learnt and that was an example that we haven’t,” said Ryan.

“We lacked the leadership of Sam but we can’t make this side reliant on one person, and you can see when there isn’t clear leadership it becomes a hotchpotch of all sorts of things.

“Clarity is crucial to maintain energy and we lacked clarity against Benetton about what we were trying to do and we got out-thought.

“It was quite clear that you can’t run out there (on a heavy Rodney Parade surface) yet we, with good intent, thought that we could and got caught in a noose that we couldn’t get out of.

“That’s an example of how much we have to learn behind the group that is fronting for us. When our leadership lacks clarity you can see how easy it is for it to unravel.”

The Dragons made a poor start to the game to trail 14-0 and then conceded a sloppy try straight after the restart after battling to get back to 17-13.

The loss ended a five-match winning streak in Newport and Ryan had no complaints.

South Wales Argus:

“It was poor, it was disappointing for us on lots of fronts. We didn’t manage the game very well and there were soft tries at the start of each half,” he said.

“We lost collective energy and people started to go off script and do whatever they wanted to do. “When that happens, they might have good intent but it drains energy from everybody else.

“I can’t imagine what the missed tackle count was but it will be as high as we’ve had – one thing that we’ve had is a lot of energy in our defence.

“That was disappointing, there is no hiding from that.”