THE Dragons suffered European anguish when edged out 27-25 by Newcastle in the Challenge Cup. Here are five things from the clash at Rodney Parade.

1: Referee rage

I’m not usually one for bashing the referee, it’s a thankless task and at times the reaction of partisan home supporters claiming their side has been wronged makes you roll your eyes.

However, the conclusion against Newcastle understandably led to head coach Bernard Jackman being furious when conducting his post-match media duties.

Scottish official Mike Adamson was a little fussy throughout but it was the closing stages that vexed the Dragons.

Jackman claimed that they should have been given a penalty try after two driving lineouts were stopped illegally while their strong scrum with the clock in the red certainly looked to the naked eye to be so dominant that Gavin Henson should have been given a shot at a winner.

If the Dragons are not in action when the quarter-finals are played at the end of March then they could well be shouting a few more expletives at Mr Adamson.

That being said, they also know that they didn't help themselves against the Falcons (see 4).

2: Going to the corner

Should the Dragons have gone for a fourth try rather than bringing the tee on for Henson with four minutes to go?

Such decisions depend on the result, ask Chris Robshaw, and captain Cory Hill will point to the driving lineout being stopped illegally.

The maul has been a weapon all season for the Dragons and allowed hooker Elliot Dee to take his try tally for the campaign to seven, so there was good reason for attempting to power over.

3: Still alive

If the finale had gone the Dragons’ way then things would have been an awful lot easier in January.

While taking Pool One top spot would have been hard because of the Falcons’ double-header with Enisei-STM, it would have taken just one success against Bordeaux-Begles to get a points haul likely to be enough for an away quarter-final.

Now they need to triumph in France before repeating the trick a week later in Newport.

The Dragons have enjoyed memorable wins at Stade Francais and Pau in recent years, while they’ve pushed Castres hard and given Montpellier a bit of a scare.

Bordeaux weren’t the most convincing winners against Enisei last night, so it’s certainly not beyond Jackman’s side to cause an upset.

4: Giving gifts

The clash had echoes of the Challenge Cup encounter with the Falcons at Rodney Parade in October, 2014 when the visitors took the spoils 30-26.

On that occasion Newcastle profited from a pair of chargedown tries of Hallam Amos kicks and this time it was Henson whose clearance provided seven points.

The defence was soft from a scrum in the build-up to the first try while the third was also too easy from a counter-attack from an Amos kick from a mark that didn’t find touch, albeit the handling was lovely.

The Dragons showed character to get back in it, yet they cannot afford to allow Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys score points so easily in the coming weeks.

5: Front row in fine form

The triumvirate of Sam Hobbs, Elliot Dee and Lloyd Fairbrother worked well to have the nudge on an English side, no easy task.

Loosehead Hobbs had a cracking first season at Rodney Parade so it’s good to have him back and getting sharper after summer knee surgery.

Dee was rewarded for a lively start to the campaign with caps against Georgia and South Africa and the hooker will be in the Wales squad for the Six Nations if he maintains his high standard of play.

Fairbrother, meanwhile, has been nothing short of a revelation in recent weeks. One wondered whether he would be a Jackman man after a slow start to the season and some harsh words about his performances from the bench.

The tighthead has responded in recent weeks while deputising for Wales prop Leon Brown during the autumn.

The Cornishman has been strong in the set piece and has also done well around the paddock.

He played the full 80 again versus Newcastle and Brown, who should be back from concussion, has a battle on his hands for the 3 jersey against Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys.