DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan said his side must learn lessons from their opening day defeat to Leinster as they prepare to face Zebre at Rodney Parade.

Ryan's side were beaten 35-5 in Dublin, but despite the scoreline, the Newport region were on top for spells at the end of each half. 

Looking ahead to their first home game of the season, the Dragons director of rugby said they needed to cut out the attacking errors if they are to improve on last year's progress.


“When we looked at the game, there are three or four times when we could have deprived them of a score or two by being more accurate and we could have got more on the board ourselves,” he said.

“We can’t afford to have four five-metre lineouts and come away with nothing and expect to be competitive. It was a mixed bag in terms of the review.

“We were very robust defensively. There was one element when we had a yellow card and played three minutes continuous. We need to be better at that under pressure.

“But it is Leinster away, first up, and they paid us the compliment of being fully loaded. That is a level that we are delighted to be playing at.

“We’re disappointed by the result, but our focus has to be on where we can get better and improve.”

Ryan said his side needed to be prepared for a physical game on Friday night under the lights.

“We know from last week’s game (with Cardiff Blues) and last season, when Zebre have their international players they are a real threat,” he said. “They have a real physical presence around the set piece.

“The challenge of last week was the pace that we had to play. The challenge of this week will be very much about the physicality and the set piece game.

“We have got to add to the physical challenge up front and make sure that we have got them under control to be able to get the result that we want.”