CAPTAIN Steff Hughes believes Dragons’ young guns will benefit from the experience of Saturday’s 45-14 defeat by Munster at Musgrave Park, even though the squad is hurting right now.

The Rodney Parade region were without 20 players, due to a combination of international call-ups and injury, for the trip to Cork to take on the reigning champions.

Wales under-20s captain Ryan Woodman scored a try in his first start, while Luke Yendle also impressed in his first start and Ewan Rosser, Nathan Evans and Barny Langton-Cryer all made club debuts as Dragons showcased their young talents.

But a third successive defeat in the United Rugby Championship was never in serious doubt as Munster ran in seven tries.

“It got away from us,” admitted Hughes afterwards. “Credit to Munster, they are a very good team at home, and we just weren’t accurate enough in that game.

“We gave away points a bit too easily and we didn’t convert when we had opportunities.

“Obviously it is difficult when you lose 20 players through injury and international selection.

“But it has been a great opportunity for some of our younger players to get some game time.

“Hopefully they will benefit from that in the future, but obviously it’s really tough to take at the moment.”

Hughes felt there were positives to take from Saturday's performance in trying circumstances but stressed the need to find more consistency in the coming weeks.

“Our maul was very good, and the scrum was solid,” said the 29-year-old centre.

“When we moved the ball, I thought we looked quite dangerous and we posed them problems.

“I think we can learn a little bit, in terms of overplaying and being more direct.

“There are aspects of that game that was good, there always is, but the key lesson for us is consistency within that 80 minutes.”

Dai Flanagan’s men return to Rodney Parade for their next two matches, against Leinster this Sunday and the derby against Ospreys on November 18.

They then head to South Africa for games against the Sharks and the Lions in Durban and Johannesburg respectively.

Flanagan will be boosted by the return of seven players who represented Wales against the Barbarians at the weekend.

Aaron Wainwright scored a second-half try in Wales’ 49-26 win at the Principality Stadium.

Lloyd Fairbrother made his international debut alongside Wainright, Dan Lydiate, Rio Dyer and Ben Carter from the start in Cardiff, while Elliot Dee and Cai Evans both came off the bench in the second half.