THE Dragons hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup are all but over after a 36-28 loss at Bordeaux-Begles. Here are five things from the game at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

1: Superb first half

The Dragons got it spot-on in the first half to move into a 16-3 lead, matching the French pack and playing smart rugby.

They kicked a little too much but on the whole it was a mature performance that frustrated the Bordeaux crowd.

With the lineout going well, the Dragons gave themselves a real shot at causing a huge upset. Sadly they just ran out of steam.

2: Costly misses

Perhaps the Dragons would have added Bordeaux to the scalps of Stade Francais and Pau had they taken two chances either side of half-time.

Wing Jared Rosser probably should have taken Elliot Dee’s long pass to extend the lead from 16-8 just before the break and then afterwards the Dragons, with the benefit of hindsight, should have taken three points rather than go for a driving lineout.

It was the same against Newcastle in round four when a costly defeat left the region needing to win in France.

3: Super Sarel

Sarel Pretorius’ time looks to be up with the Dragons signing scrum-halves Rhodri Williams and Rhodri Davies for next season but the South African is a class act.

He has played second fiddle to promising prospect Dan Babos in recent weeks but impressed back in the 9 jersey with some trademark breaks.

Pretorius is one of the most exciting scrum-halves around when he goes on the run and his try was a thing of beauty, sniping and then weaving over with fast feet.

The South African has been a super signing since heading to Newport from the Cheetahs and hopefully he can have a flying end to the campaign.

4: Blake makes his point

Robson Blake said before the game that he was playing for his future and the number eight certainly made an impression on Jackman.

The hefty back rower had to play the full 80 and produced a super display with some big carries against Bordeaux’s big units.

Blake will play again on Saturday and needs to pick up where he left off because it won’t be long until Harri Keddie, Ollie Griffiths and Lewis Evans are back.

5: Euro frustration

Saturday should have been about the Dragons winning to extend their Challenge Cup campaign but instead it will be about finishing on a high.

There’s a slim chance they can make the quarters but in reality they are playing for pride, which is frustrating given that Pool One was a good opportunity.

The Dragons left a point on the table against Enisei-STM, could easily have won in Newcastle and certainly should have beaten the Falcons at Rodney Parade.

It was that second loss to the English side that has been their downfall. Winning in Russia meant that a clean sweep in Wales would have been enough.