BOSS Dai Flanagan says the Dragons can’t overreact despite the frustration of starting the United Rugby Championship with a familiar narrow loss to Edinburgh.

The Rodney Parade club led for 70 minutes of the clash in Newport only to go down 22-17 to the Scots.

The Dragons struck twice in the opening quarter through centre Sio Tomkinson and wing Corey Baldwin then were in front 17-9 in the final quarter.

However, Edinburgh struck through captain Ben Vellacott and the right boot of Scotland fly-half Ben Healy to leave Flanagan’s men having to settle for a losing bonus.

They haven’t won on home soil in the URC since the end of last October and added this defeat to the frustrating near-misses of 2022/23.

“We can’t overreact,” said Flanagan. “We know that it’s our biggest work-on, we spoke about it all summer and we were pleased in pre-season when we managed to win the games at the death [against the Ospreys and Scarlets].

“This is another step up, this actually counts and that’s the disappointing thing. Sometimes you’d rather turn up and get hammered and have loads to work on instead of fine-tuning.”

The Dragons started impressively but lost their way in the second half when the penalty count racked up from Irish referee Eoghan Cross.

“I am gutted, the second quarter was when we lost it,” said Flanagan. “We lost momentum and lost the ref with our decisions and ill-discipline.

“We lost the momentum and he was refereeing one team then, and rightly so because we didn’t pull it back.

“We gave away 20 penalties – you would win at any level, let alone URC with that, especially with a kicker like Ben Healy in the opposition.

“We can’t concede so many penalties off a maul or scrum, giving them easy outs. Sometimes you have to be whiter than white and take your medicine so that they kick the ball and you can go back at them. We didn’t do that.”

The Dragons are at home again a week on Sunday when they welcome closest rivals Cardiff to Rodney Parade in what feels like a must-win.