THE Dragons suffered a heavy 47-8 defeat to Bordeaux-Begles in the Champions after heading to the Stade Chaban-Delmas with a makeshift team.

The Rodney Parade region put up a good fight in France, although it didn't necessarily show on the scoreboard after last year's Top 14 leaders ran in seven tries.

The Dragons trailed 19-3 at half-time after tries by Mahamadou Diaby, Santiago Cordero and Maxime Lamothe.

A quickfire double at the start of the second half by Cordero and fly-half Matthieu Jalibert put the hosts 33-3 to the good.

The Dragons rallied but Argentina wing Cordero completed his hat-trick on the hour before Nick Tompkins scored a consolation with a fine finish.

However, the French side had the final say when wing Ben Lam finished off a flowing move.

Here are the talking points from the clash in Bordeaux…

South Wales Argus:

'At least we turned up'

The words of former England captain John Pullin came to mind when the Dragons kicked the ball out to settle for a 47-8 defeat.

The English got a standing ovation at Lansdowne Road when they took to the field in Dublin in 1973, doing what Scotland and Wales hadn't done a year earlier during the troubles.

"We're not much good but at least we turned up," Pullin said with self-deprecation at the post-match function after an 18-9 defeat.

With a depleted squad at a high level, the same applied after a predictably one-sided game in Bordeaux with the Dragons fulfilling the fixture when others haven't in this odd season.

How many of the starters would make the XV if everyone was available? Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Joe Davies/Joe Maksymiw, Nick Tompkins?

They were never going to win but the Dragons stuck at it in testing circumstances.

They brought 19-year-old Ben Carter and 20-year-old debutants Aneurin Owen and Evan Lloyd onto the pitch.

Bordeaux were turn to France international forwards Alexandre Flanquart and Marco Tauleigne plus the considerable frame of giant Tongan prop Ben Tameifuna.

The Dragons ended up with a backline consisting of a fly-half playing full-back, a centre on the wing, a 12 at 13 and a pair of youngsters on debut.

Experience missed

The Dragons were keen to taste life in the top tier after a decade in the Challenge Cup.

To be honest, that experience isn't quite the same in these strange times – there was no band in the Stade Chaban-Delmas, there was not a sizeable crowd backing their side towards the knockout stages.

Nonetheless, it's a shame that a number of Dragons have not tested themselves at a level which is a rung below Test rugby.

Harri Keddie and Ashton Hewitt could have put themselves on the Wales radar while it would have benefited Leon Brown and Aaron Wainwright even though they are internationals.

A fully-loaded Dragons would have had a shot at upsetting Wasps, who are suddenly looking good for the knockout stages, and would have landed a few more punches in Bordeaux.

Fingers crossed they can put a spanner in the works for the two teams in January with the help of reinforcements.

South Wales Argus: The Dragons frustrated Bordeaux after Mahamadou Diaby's (controversial) early scoreThe Dragons frustrated Bordeaux after Mahamadou Diaby's (controversial) early score

Determined defence

This seems an odd thing to say given that Bordeaux scored seven tries, but the Dragons defended with determination and organisation.

They were just 12-3 down with the clock in the red in the first half and has stood firm against some seriously big units despite the absence of the likes of Brown, Keddie, Wainwright, Ross Moriarty, Jamie Roberts.

The Dragons weren't punctured with regularity by the direct runners while they also kept Bordeaux out from the driving lineout (and caused a few issues themselves when they secured possession).

That is huge progress from Castres last season when they were bullied by a French pack in the tight.

However, discipline let them down at times – back-to-back penalties are punished at PRO14 level, let alone the Champions Cup.

The Dragons need to be better at avoiding being pushed to their own 22.

Hungry for more

The absentee list has given opportunities to plenty of those who have been limited to training hard in Ystrad Mynach due to the lack of A team fixtures.

The past fortnight has given boss Dean Ryan the odd headache for the festive derbies and also showed that he has players he can rely on.

Wing Rio Dyer had some lively moments out wide on his first appearance of the season, Will Talbot-Davies went about his business well in the back three, centre Jack Dixon is keeping the heat on Tompkins and Jamie Roberts, lock Joe Maksymiw did well for the second week running after a slow start to life in Wales.

But most pleasing is the return of Dragons great Lewis Evans, who put in two 80-minute shifts thanks to the coronavirus issues.

Ryan is normally blessed with back row options and the 33-year-old may not possess the dynamism of Wainwright, Ollie Griffiths and Taine Basham or the profile of abrasive Ross Moriarty but he has shown his value.

Evans is an honest grafter and led from the front on a tough assignment to put himself right in the derby mix.