GOING out of the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend was a massive disappointment but we can't afford to let heads drop.

After being in the semi-finals for two seasons running it's frustrating to miss out on the knockout stages, especially after being well in the game with an hour gone at Brive.

At 22-19 down we felt that we had a chance to get the win that we needed but we failed to take one or two chances and came up short.

Brive built the pressure on us and capitalised, pinning us back in our own half and then their power and weight took over.

Our scrum has been good this season but struggled out there, while our defensive lineout was still strong – we stole nine of their throws – but clearly three that really counted ended with them going over for tries with their strong maul.

We were disappointed to come up short but have to look forward and we have placings to go for in the Guinness PRO12 while first we will be looking to keep our home run going in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Newcastle visit us on Sunday and we are looking to make it nine wins in our 12th game at Rodney Parade.

Clearly we have to solve the problem we are having away from Newport and the next couple of weeks will be important to build into a big block in the PRO12.

We've got Munster and Connacht away then Leinster at home in the league in February, three tough games but we have to keep moving in the league.

Getting the win against Newcastle and then returning to Kingsholm, where we won in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup last season, gives us the chance to head into the PRO12 with confidence.

It was good to read on Wednesday that our flanker Nic Cudd has signed a two-year contract extension.

There was an incredible Opta stat that since his PRO12 debut in October, 2012 he has made 99 turnovers, 21 more than anyone else.

That goes to show that he's one of the best at the breakdown in the game and us players certainly appreciate him.

Cuddy is a quiet bloke but is mentally tough and just gets on with the job. When he does speak the rest of us listen because he knows what he's talking about.

He's followed a fair few of the other boys in re-signing and now we need to keep building as a group. I genuinely believe the future is bright for the Dragons.