DEAN Ryan admits the Dragons have to find a way to stand up to direct Irish running after his side were “outgunned” by Ulster in Belfast.

The Rodney Parade region entertain Munster in Newport next Sunday (kick-off 3pm) and will need a dramatic improvement after a hammering at Kingspan Stadium.

The Dragons trailed 35-3 at half-time after Ulster scored five tries, with their bonus point secured after just 31 minutes.

The visitors improved after the break for wing Ashton Hewitt and centre Jamie Roberts to score excellent consolation tries but it didn’t mask their shortcomings in the confrontations.

“We were disappointed at how we got marched back, especially at the scrum,” said Ryan. “Four or five times we couldn’t get the answer and it ended up with Ulster in our 22.

“We’ve got to face up to the challenge that we were outgunned. They are very direct and got very fast ball.

“There weren’t a lot of issues around us being in the wrong position, we just couldn’t answer that physically.”

South Wales Argus: BOSS: Dean Ryan before the game in BelfastBOSS: Dean Ryan before the game in Belfast

The Dragons lost to Leinster in Dublin on opening weekend and now entertain Munster and Connacht at Rodney Parade.

“All Irish sides have been pretty direct and at the moment we haven’t had an answer to that speed of ball,” said Ryan.

“I am pretty sure about what is coming next week and we’ve got to challenge ourselves internally to solve that.”

A huge positive on an afternoon of negatives was provided by back row forward Ollie Griffiths on his first appearance since March.

The once-capped Wales international was a constant force in attack and defence and Ryan has challenged the rest of the team to hit his standards.

“Ollie was outstanding. To have not played for as long as that and come in to be the one player that had threat on the ball (was impressive),” said the boss.

“When he was around the tackle we had a chance but the rest of the team need to work hard to reach those levels.

“For some other players it is physicality in the tackle to slow it down, we just didn’t have enough of that.

“You can’t just keep making tackles and tackles and tackles because a side as direct as Ulster will get you over the line, so there is a lot to work on for Munster. We’ve got to face up the challenge of physicality.

“Our first half performances against Leinster and Ulster haven’t been good enough to answer their speed of ball.”