TWO Matthew Screech tries helped the Dragons end their Guinness PRO14 campaign with a 24-17 win over Edinburgh at Principality Stadium, but they fell well short in pursuit of a place in next season’s Champions Cup.

The Welsh region went into the game needing to beat the Scots by a 45-point margin to overtake Glasgow in fourth place in Conference A.

They led 24-5 with five minutes of the first half left, only to fall off the pace in the second period as Edinburgh threatened to leave Cardiff with a share of the spoils.

The Dragons, whose six league wins is their best in the competition since 2015, will now turn their attention to the Challenge Cup last 16 tie against Northampton next Saturday.

Boss Dean Ryan made just two changes for today after the impressive display against Glasgow, and both of those were enforced due to the injuries picked up by Jamie Roberts and Ollie Griffiths.

Jack Dixon took over from Roberts at inside-centre and Aaron Wainwright, part of Wales’ Guinness Six Nations-winning squad went straight into the back row.

Wainwright’s fellow Wales stars Elliot Dee and Leon Brown started on the bench.

With injuries and players on international duty, Edinburgh chief Richard Cockerill made nine changes to his starting XV.

The Dragons were guilty of over-playing in the early stages, but after Sam Davies missed a penalty, Ashton Hewitt’s elusive running led to the game’s first try.

An Edinburgh turnover and clearance on their own try line initially negated the threat, however, the resulting lineout saw Screech barge his way over. Davies converted.

Five minutes later and Screech was at it again.

Hewitt played another key role, getting his hands on the ball three times in the move that led to his team-mate’s second try of the afternoon.

When the ball was moved wide, Davies fed Screech and there was no stopping the big man. Davies added the extras.

The Dragons had lost Richard Hibbard to injury just before Screech completed his brace.

Firmly on top, the hosts’ cause was boosted further when Edinburgh lock Jamie Hodgson saw yellow for infringing in the red zone.

Davies slotted the three points and, at 17-0 up, that 45-point winning margin wasn’t looking as big as it was at the start.

Edinburgh then threw a spanner in the works on 24 minutes as number-eight Melu Kunavala powered over from close range.

But the Dragons hit back through Jonah Holmes, the winger touching down in the corner after a delightful pass from Davies, who then converted.

And it looked as though the bonus point had been secured on the stroke of half-time when Hewitt scampered down the touchline to finish off a flowing move started by Aneurin Owen from deep.

The Dragons’ joy was short-lived as Hewitt had brushed the whitewash with his right foot and the try got chalked off.

The Scots gained the upper hand after the interval, but a combination of stoic Dragons defence and Kunavala lifting Wainwright upside down denied them.

It was then the Dragons’ turn to infringe with the line in their sights, as a dart from Jordan Williams went unrewarded.

From looking like being comfortable winners, the Dragons started leaving gaps in defence that the visitors exploited.

Replacement scrum-half Charlie Shiel took a quick tap penalty and just about squeezed over, while three minutes later, full-back Blair Kinghorn started and finished a flowing move to make it 24-17.

Sensing they could now get something out of the game, Edinburgh piled forward in the closing stages.

A superb tackle by Jordan Williams held up winger Eroni Sau over the try line two minutes from time, before Hewitt and Owen hauled George Taylor over the touchline with the clock in the red.

Dragons: J Williams; J Holmes, A Owen, J Dixon (N Tompkins 67), A Hewitt; S Davies, G Bertranou (R Williams 56); B Harris (G Bateman 59), R Hibbard (E Dee 12), L Fairbrother (L Brown 55), J Davies ( B Carter 49), M Screech, A Wainwright, H Keddie (capt) (B Fry 72), R Moriarty. Rep not used: E Lloyd.

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; J Blain, M Bennett (G Taylor 78), C Dean, E Sau; J van der Walt (M Currie 28), H Pyrgos (C Shiel 50); M McCallum (S Gunn 67), S Kitchen (P Harrison 56), L-R Atalifo (A Williams 57), M Sykes (A Ferreira 67), J Hodgson, M Bradbury (C Boyle 52), L Crosbie, M Kunavula.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)

Argus star man: Matthew Screech