LET'S address the elephant in the room: I'm not one to shy away from it, our first half performance at Leinster was poor.

We didn't hit the standards we have previous set throughout this season; it wasn't good enough and as players we demand more of ourselves. Individual errors cost us but it's not as case of going back to the drawing board.

We showed some spirit to come back from 28-3 down to be pushing for a bonus point at the end, so it was disappointing to read some negativity from some quarters.

Some of the reporting from journalists based in the capital was nothing short of disrespectful; I appreciate that it can be part of the job to try and be controversial and get the interest of readers but it was more written with venom than journalistic insight.

At times it seems like people are waiting for the chance to be negative about us and sometimes it's easy to kick the Dragons.

We are on a run of four home wins while our closest rivals just down the M4 haven't won for a month. When other teams have tough times it sometimes seems to go under the radar.

It was said that we were playing a 'second string' Leinster but if anything I'd rather have gone up against the likes of Jamie Heaslip, Jack McGrath, Devin Toner, Sean Cronin, Rob Kearney, Sean O'Brien and others.

They would have been facing us bruised after tough Tests against New Zealand and Australia and perhaps lacking motivation while we faced players determined to stake a claim for European games against Northampton.

It's also clear that Leinster have quality youngsters coming through with fly-half Joey Carbery and others.

We did travel to Dublin with the intent to win, yet it may not have been noticed by some but they haven't lost in the Guinness Pro12 at home since we beat them in February 2015. A home record like that, beating all other Pro12 teams, doesn't happen without great strength in depth.

That's not to say we are content with how things went in Dublin and we know that we have to improve certain things on and off the field, but we are working hard to do just that and such words only add fuel to our fire.

Some players can take things to heart too much and I have learnt to take criticism, constructive and unconstructive, with a pinch of salt, including from those at the Argus.

That is part of the job as a professional rugby player but we won't go into our shells and will stick tight as a group.

Anyhoo, rant over…

We are back into European Rugby Challenge Cup action with a double-header against Worcester, who have been having a bit of a hard time in the Aviva Premiership.

The analysis shows that they are a team who do some very good things but struggle for consistency, perhaps a little bit like us.

Our forwards coach Ceri Jones knows all about them having joined us from the Worcester academy set-up and we will be going there with positive attacking intent.

If we can get the ball into the likes of Ashton Hewitt on the wing then I am sure he will cause them problems on the plastic pitch and help us to get an all-important win to set up our Rodney Parade fixture the following Friday.

Newport is a happy place at the moment with the Black and Ambers on a great run of form to keep alive hopes of finishing in the top eight in the Principality Premiership when the split takes place in January.

I was travelling back from Dublin so didn't get the chance to see the brilliant home win against high-flying Aberavon but it's great that things are so positive and that the hard work is paying off.

We look a really good team at the moment and the O'Briens are on form – Angus is playing well for the Dragons while his older brother Matt was player of the month for Newport.

Hopefully we'll pick up where we left off when we return to Premiership action at Cross Keys on Boxing Day.