DEAN Ryan admits his frustration that the Dragons’ decade-long wait to play in Europe’s top tier has been ruined by coronavirus.

The Rodney Parade region are meant to entertain Bordeaux-Begles in the Champions Cup next weekend but the fixture, along with the trip to Wasps, looks likely to be scratched because of concern about a new Covid-19 strain.

The pandemic led to the Dragons being included in an expended 24-team tournament but it has also ruined their return to the top tier for the first time since 2010/11.

They were forced to make six late changes to their opening weekend team to face Wasps because of a couple of late positive tests that led to four others having to self-isolate.

The Dragons were within a score until 70 minutes until the English Premiership runners-up stretched away in Newport.

South Wales Argus: TOUGH: The Covid-hit Dragons were beaten heavily in BordeauxTOUGH: The Covid-hit Dragons were beaten heavily in Bordeaux

A makeshift team then travelled to Bordeaux-Begles and were beaten 47-8 by the French giants at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

They were hoping to give the quarter-final hopefuls a bloody nose in the return fixtures but those games look unlikely to take place, certainly not in January.

“We waited so long to have a go at it and it just hasn’t been what we wanted it to be,” said director of rugby Ryan.

“Forget the overall context of the tournament, in the first two rounds we were ravaged by Covid and close contacts.

“We were looking forward to coming into this. We knew that we were up against it but I wanted it for experiences.

“We are pretty privileged to be able to play, I like playing and we did everything we could to get out to Bordeaux, even though we were playing young kids.

“My instincts are to keep playing but I am not in charge of that, so we will wait and see what happens.”

South Wales Argus:

On the fixtures being slotted into the calendar at a later date, Ryan said he believes the hectic schedule won’t allow it.

“I don’t think it’s possible,” he said. “`There is definitely not a weekend, we are already behind in the PRO14 and there is the Rainbow Cup.

“We are on about the third or fourth spreadsheet of what might be, so we will see.”

The Dragons were hoping to take out their derby frustration on Bordeaux-Begles after the Ospreys made it a hat-trick of defeats to Welsh rivals.

Ryan’s team were beaten 28-20 and ultimately paid the price for failing to make pressure count early in the second half.

“We looked to ramp up the ambition but just weren’t accurate enough; we had plenty of time in their half and plenty of opportunities,” said the director of rugby, whose side were level at 20-20 after 70 minutes.

“We weren’t sharp enough and don’t have enough quality on deck at the moment. This has been a tough derby period and looking at ourselves through a critical lens is an important thing that we have to do.”