BOSS Dean Ryan criticised the sluggish, uncreative Dragons for having nothing but a driving lineout in their Guinness PRO14 defeat to Connacht.

The Rodney Parade side suffered a 30-20 loss to the Irish province in Newport on Friday night despite a hat-trick from hooker Richard Hibbard.

It was a result that is hugely damaging to their hopes of pushing for Champions Cup qualification but it was the performance that was of biggest frustration to Ryan.

The director of rugby didn't excuse himself for the display and said that everyone, coaches and players, faced a weekend of soul-searching before returning to Ystrad Mynach on Monday to prepare for another home game against Edinburgh on Friday.

"We just weren't very good. We didn't look like we had the right energy, we lacked rhythm, direction and accuracy," said Ryan.

"We wouldn't have had problems in that game if we had some of those things. All game, right from the start, we invited them into our half easily with the same mistakes.

"It was too easy for them to come into our 22 and it was too easy for them to score. That's just not us.

"After previously having time off we have come back accurate and with good energy. Against Connacht we didn't and we have to look at the reasons why.

Owen Jenkins of Dragons is tackled by Oisin Dowling of Connacht

Owen Jenkins of Dragons is tackled by Oisin Dowling of Connacht

"We have to challenge ourselves and be open. We haven't got a squad that will allow us to make 10 changes so we have to ask questions about why that happened and what is getting in the way of us performing better.

"We trained very well in the week and I felt we were in a good space but it didn't transfer to the field. We've got a lot to do."

Hibbard rumbled over for three tries from driving lineout but Ryan was frustrated by the Dragons attack away from the set piece.

"It looked laboured and slow. We didn't have the physicality to go over them or the pace to go around them," he said.

"When you have that problem the only thing that you've got left is the driving lineout. That sums the game up a bit for us.

"They had more energy, especially towards the end when they were in front and kept turning us.

"The 10 for Connacht [Jack Carty] is a very wise player who knows where the game should be played, do that with a lot of people putting energy in and it's quite good for a team."

One positive of the night was the return of full-back Jordan Williams, who completed 80 minutes after being out since October with a hamstring injury.

While he wasn't at his elusive best, Ryan was pleased to have their most potent runner back on the field.

"He didn't look like Jordan but him coming back is great," said Ryan. "We got him through a game but there is so much more, even though he showed bits of sparkle.

"We know there is more to come from him, we've just got to be careful because we haven't got a huge amount of sparkle across our team and when he's not here it is very obvious."