DEAN Ryan backed the decision to kick the ball dead settle for a consolation bonus after the Dragons’ stirring comeback against Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster.

The region fought back from 35-15 down after 63 minutes to move within a score thanks to late tries by Luke Baldwin and Josh Lewis.

Sam Davies added a pair of conversions to his five first-half penalties to make it 35-29 and Leinster had to restart the game with the clock in the red.

However, the Dragons fly-half then opted to boot the ball out and settle for a losing bonus rather than try to force a penalty that would allow them to move into the champions’ half for a crack at victory.

South Wales Argus:

“I think it was the right decision,” said director of rugby Ryan. “That was against one of the best running sides in Europe and let’s be honest, if you are sat at home on your couch then you don’t quite understand how heavy that pitch is.

“I don’t think that we were going 80 metres and we are at a stage where a point against Leinster is quite a smart move at the moment, and we’ve got to go and get some points next week [against Zebre].

“It was absolutely the right decision otherwise we are just going to cut our own throats, but we could have got to that point earlier in the game and then something might have been on, so that’s for us to work on.”

The Dragons led 15-14 at half-time thanks to the boot of Davies but Leinster took command by scoring a third close-range try and then earning a penalty try.

Tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle and number eight Dan Baker was shown yellow on debut for dragging down a driving lineout.

“It was a bit of a mixed bag and parts of me are so proud,” said Ryan. “Aneurin Owen looked the real deal, Ben Fry was outstanding and Ben Carter is 20 – I watched them compete in that game.

“But then there is the frustration that it was a game we could have been a lot closer in but for that 10 or 15 minutes after half-time with the yellow cards.

“In those moments we still don’t believe that if we get through them we can come out the other end. It’s educating this group that if they sit in those games against these sorts of sides then something can come.

“It’s a mixed bag because we are close enough to be frustrated.”