JOSH Lewis’ first start in 17 months lasted just three minutes in the Dragons’ 36-10 friendly defeat to the more experienced Scarlets at Rodney Parade.

The fixture was slotted in between Guinness PRO14 rounds to give game time to youngsters and those keen on pushing into the first team.

It provided an opportunity for fly-half Lewis to wear 10 for the first time since the 2019 Judgement Day win against the Scarlets, yet he didn’t get the chance to put the pressure on Sam Davies.

The 28-year-old put in a big tackle on former Dragon Tom Prydie but wobbled as he got to his feet before falling to the ground.

Lewis didn’t return and will have to go through the concussion protocols if he is to feature against Ulster next Sunday.

It was a setback that left the inexperienced Dragons XV being guided around the pitch by 18-year-old Will Reed, and as such it was a blow to their hopes of making it a competitive game.

South Wales Argus:

It was a game that showed that if the Dragons have improved their depth then they are still some way behind the Scarlets, as you would expect given the budget gap that allowed them to bring a 31-man squad.

A handful of the home XV will be in consideration for Ulster next Sunday while a raft of the away side will be deputising for their large Wales contingent.

The Scarlets headed east with an XV featuring Wales loosehead Rob Evans, fresh back from a neck injury, big Fijian lock Tevita Ratuva, influential South African Uzair Cassiem and five former Dragons in Tyler Morgan, Tom Prydie, Angus O’Brien, Dane Blacker and Aled Brew.

As such, most of the Dragons’ standout moments were in defence with flanker Ben Fry and on-trial centre Joe Thomas putting themselves about.

Added to the Lewis blow, flanker Huw Taylor and full-back Dafydd Howells were helped from the field after knocks.

The fixture was a worthy one but it was turned into a bit of a farce in the opening stages of the second half due to it being a complete mismatch, with the Scarlets leaving on the likes of Cassiem, Ratuva and Morgan despite their scoreboard dominance.

South Wales Argus:

The Dragons were under the pump from the off and it was constant pressure for 10 minutes.

Only a pair of timely turnovers in the 22 by young back rowers Taine Basham and Ben Fry plus a loss of possession from Wales loosehead Rob Evans as he stretched for the line kept it scoreless.

The Scarlets, keen to get some reward for their dominance, called for the tee after 12 minutes for Angus O’Brien to make it 3-0 against his former side.

The fly-half was soon adding to his tally by converting a try by hefty prop Javan Sebastian, who powered over from close range.

The Dragons almost responded with a cracker after an attack sparked by centre Aneurin Owen and featuring his midfield partner Joe Thomas, wing Owen Jenkins, hooker Ellis Shipp, lock Ben Carter and finally scrum-half Luke Baldwin.

A try was initially given by referee Dan Jones before it was then given as held up over the line.

The Dragons had finally had some pressure attacking the North Terrace but were soon back at their end and down to 14 men after tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother was punished for a glut of team offences, shown yellow for collapsing a maul.

The Scarlets continued to make hard work of it as half-time approached but finally got their second with the final play when a penalty was kicked to the corner, prop Evans went close and then hooker Marc Jones finished off.

Reed opened the Dragons’ account with a penalty soon after the restart but the visitors stretched their lead when replacement scrum-half Will Homer sniped over after Brew had gone close, O’Brien converting to make it 22-3.

After Jared Rosser was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle, the tries kept coming through replacement fly-half Sam Costelow and Homer again before thankfully the Scarlets opted to use their bench.

The Dragons responded with their first try – although the way it was earned won’t please the management.

Connor Edwards had the ball ripped as he carried strongly and it fell for Rosser, who kicked ahead and won the race to the ball. Reed converted to make it 36-10 with what proved to be the final score.

Dragons XV: D Howells; O Jenkins, J Thomas, A Owen, J Rosser; J Lewis, L Baldwin; C Maguire, E Shipp, L Fairbrother, B Carter, J Maksymiw, H Taylor (captain), B Fry, T Basham. Replacements: R Lawrence, J Reynolds, C Coleman, M Williams, G Young, D Babos, W Reed, R Dyer, E Lloyd.

Scorers: try – J Rosser; conversion – W Reed; penalty – W Reed

Scarlets: T Prydie; R Conbeer, T Morgan, P Asquith, A Brew; A O'Brien, D Blacker; R Evans, Marc Jones, J Sebastian, T Ratuva, Morgan Jones, E Kennedy, J Morgan (captain), U Cassiem. Replacements: T Davies, S Evans, D Evans, K Mathias, W Kruger, H O'Connor, J Price, T Phillips, J Miles, D Davies, C Tuipulotu, W Homer, S Costelow, J Roberts, I Nicholas.

Scorers: tries – J Sebastian, M Jones, W Homer (2), S Costelow; conversions – A O’Brien (3), S Costelow; penalties – A O’Brien

Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)