THE Dragons paid the price for trying to land a knockout blow when a jab was needed in their United Rugby Championship opener, and boss Dai Flanagan took the blame.

The Rodney Parade club were 17-6 up after 51 minutes of their home fixture against Edinburgh when they won a penalty in enemy territory.

The Scots had scored the first points of the half through the right boot of fly-half Ben Healy before Cai Evans replied in kind from in front of the posts.

However, on this occasion the Dragons went for the corner rather than building a score.

The fact this article exists gives a clue to what happened next – the hosts failed to get anything from the attack and Edinburgh stayed in the fight.

Healy chipped away at the lead, then put Ben Vellacott over for a try, then won it from the tee.

The Dragons could have gone 14 points up and forced their visitors to chase the game, instead they left the door ajar.

South Wales Argus: Dragons boss Dai FlanaganDragons boss Dai Flanagan (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“The buck will always stop with me,” said Flanagan. “If I haven’t educated them well enough on scoreboard pressure then it's my fault.

“I am up in the stand, I can't get down there to call every play and option. I have got to educate these boys and we have had a lot of callers and leaders in meetings this week about scenarios.

“In the second half we are talking about understanding scoreboard pressure and the effect it might have had if we scored [three points].

“The feeling on the field was that if we scored a try then we would win the game while a penalty might have kept them in it.

“The conversation went from captain to lineout caller against Edinburgh – the process was right – but it will always be outcome-based.

“We are closely aligned, and I love the fact they went with winning that lineout because we need to be brave and have belief.

"George Nott said that he would take a lineout every time because he believes in the players."

If the Dragons get a repeat situation against Cardiff on Sunday then one hopes Angus O’Brien will be calling for the tee.

There is a time and a place, as is shown by the lack of a kerfuffle about decisions earlier in the game.

Edinburgh went off their feet after 15 minutes and the Dragons went to the corner.

South Wales Argus: PLAN: Jared Rosser and Sio Tomkinson lined up at the front of the lineout, Steff Hughes at the back with Rodrigo Martinez at scrum-halfPLAN: Jared Rosser and Sio Tomkinson lined up at the front of the lineout, Steff Hughes at the back with Rodrigo Martinez at scrum-half (Image: URC)

It was a plan with Jared Rosser, Sio Tomkinson and Steff Hughes joining the lineout and loosehead Rodrigo Martinez playing at scrum-half.

“We had a plan to go to the corner, whatever the score,” said Flanagan. “We had a 10-man lineout that we thought would set a mindset precedent.”

It didn’t go exactly to plan but hooker Bradley Roberts peeled off the drive and went within inches, then Hughes kicked to unmarked winger Corey Baldwin for a try down the right.

At 14-0 and 22 minutes gone there was another chance to build the lead but a penalty was kicked to the corner only for the lineout to be wonky.

However, it was the later failure in the red zone with the clock ticking down that really felt like a missed opportunity.