DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan expects to be under pressure for his job after their “unacceptable” nine-try derby defeat to Cardiff.

The Rodney Parade club suffered a 17th straight defeat to the Blue and Blacks in the United Rugby Championship.

They were hammered 55-21 in a humiliating derby clash at a sold-out Arms Park and prop up the table with just one league success.

Head coach Flanagan has been in charge since director of rugby Dean Ryan was sacked a game into last season but he admits performances like this raise questions about whether he is the right man for the job.

“Rightly the pressure is on me,” he said. “It’s difficult to answer, I’ve watched rugby and football for years when people are asked ‘are you the right guy?’.

“It’s not for me to answer but it’s for me to work my backside off to make sure I improve this team.

“That will take time, the whole place needs time, but we cannot accept performances like that.

“It’s really difficult because I really enjoy working with this group of players. I have high expectations for them and believe they are super-talented but they have to prove that to me. Today it wasn’t there.

“It’s tough, we have a brand to sell and want people to watch us and come to support us but performances like that will never do it.”

South Wales Argus: SCORE: Tomos Williams scores one of Cardiff's nine tries against the DragonsSCORE: Tomos Williams scores one of Cardiff's nine tries against the Dragons (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Cardiff had their bonus point inside the first quarter and ran seven of their nine tries in before the break to get the job done.

“This is the lowest that I have been, and I have been in rugby for a long time,” said Flanagan. “To see that first-half performance was really difficult.

“We seemed to train and prep well, there was a good buzz around the group and then we see that on the field.

“We’ve got to figure out why because that is not acceptable in a derby game against local rivals.

“We massively froze, individually and collectively. Cardiff put some pressure on us and we cracked.

“We are sorry and I am personally sorry, that is not acceptable. If there is one or two things then it’s quite easy to fix but then you see that after the two weeks we had in Europe when we were collectively good.

“The intensity, pressure and physicality that Cardiff put on us, we didn’t have an answer for. There was a big occasion and big players play in big games, we didn’t play.”

The game was over as a contest before the break but the Dragons were chasing a bonus point in the final quarter after a Harri Keddie brace and a penalty try. A fourth score didn’t come.

“Let’s be honest, we didn’t deserve anything from today. The right result happened after that first-half performance and it would have been wrong had we taken a point away,” admitted Flanagan.

“We have to be honest with each other and it’s really difficult to put a positive spin on that.

Things like that should never happen, we should be collectively tight and to see us not connecting, that’s an issue. We have to be in this together.

“This was the biggest occasion that this club and Cardiff have had in a long time and it was over by 25 minutes.”