THE Dragons will have to find a makeshift fly-half solution “in-house” for Saturday’s daunting date with the Lions after losing all three of their frontline fly-half options.

The Rodney Parade club endured a nightmare evening in Durban against the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship.

Not only did they ship 10 tries in a 69-14 loss to the previously winless South Africans – who were boosted by their Springboks World Cup winners – but Will Reed and Cai Evans both went off in the first half.

With Angus O’Brien sidelined with a fractured forearm, that left centre Steff Hughes pulling the strings at Kings Park.

The Dragons now head to Johannesburg and the club captain could be tasked with wearing 10 against the Lions, with fit-again full-back Jordan Williams or even scrum-half Rhodri Williams other options.

The only player with experience of being a frontline fly-half in recent years is backs coach Matt O'Brien, who is one of the star performers in the Premiership for Newport RFC.

It was always going to be a risk going into the campaign with one out-and-out 10 in Reed plus a pair of 10/15s but now they have been exposed when on tour.

South Wales Argus: DEJECTED: The Dragons after defeat to the Sharks in DurbanDEJECTED: The Dragons after defeat to the Sharks in Durban (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“I will check on the HIAs but if we have lost our two 10 options, with Angus already injured, we have got to find a solution quickly. We must find an option in-house,” he said.

“I thought Steff did a decent job, he can ball play, but your kicking game is vital over here. You don’t get any ins, so we have got to work on that.”

Jordan Williams has been out of action with a back injury but was included in the 30-strong touring party with a view to featuring in the double-header.

He played fly-half in age-grade rugby, as did inside centre Aneurin Owen, but the lack of another full-back in the squad may well lead to Hughes getting the nod.

The nightmare at 10 certainly isn’t the Dragons’ only problem after a battering at Kings Park.

“When you play South African teams, it’s about dealing with their power –we couldn’t deal with their power,” admitted Flanagan.

“We could never get set defensively. We work hard individually and try to fix it, and they just pick us off.

“It’s not a quick fix to stop that power. We have to come here every year and we have got to match it.

“It was a tough evening. We leaked too many points too easily at the end and we know that is not good enough.

“The group work extremely hard, but they do it individually and my job is to get them to do it collectively. That comes down to discipline.”

The Dragons were comprehensively beaten yet could easily have left with a four-try bonus in a heavy loss had they been more accurate in attack.

“We missed opportunities,” said Flanagan. “We’re playing top level teams here and we’ve got to be better than that.

“I have to reflect on this performance before I think too much about the Lions. We have got to put some things to bed this week.”

The Lions warmed up for the Dragons by smashing Zebre 61-19.