UNLIKE the Exiles at Rodney Parade, the Dragons didn’t experience the magic of the cup as they endured a 40-21 defeat at Saracens.

The European champions’ next generation romped to a six tries to three success that means the region are out of the competition before Friday’s final pool game against Worcester in Newport.

Allianz Park under grey skies and in drizzle isn’t the most stimulating setting in rugby and there was very little by way of inspiration from the men in red.

Opportunity knocked for a number of players to force their way into the reckoning for the Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow but few grasped their chance in slippery conditions.

The Dragons had the edge in terms of experience but the game was done and dusted a minute into the second half when Sarries had their bonus in the bag.

Head coach Bernard Jackman was prowling on the touchline and will demand more against the Warriors next weekend, perhaps with several more first-teamers pressed into action.

It was an underwhelming afternoon in north London but on the plus side there was a return after four months on the sidelines with shoulder injuries for Zane Kirchner, Harrison Keddie and Max Williams while there debuts for wings Rio Dyer and Calvin Wellington, lock Henri Williams and scrum-half Callum Morris.

It was a scrappy opening in which both sides made plenty of errors with the mitigation of there being a raft of new combinations on display.

Saracens took an early lead through the boot of Max Malins, a star for England at last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship, before the fly-half and opposite number Kirchner traded missed penalties.

The Dragons had some flashes of inspiration and one led to them going in front after 22 minutes.

Centre Connor Edwards cut a glorious line to break into the Sarries 22 and then the forwards hammered away at the line before captain Keddie, returning in the unfamiliar position of openside, powered over.

Kirchner added the extras from wide on the left to make it a 7-3 advantage but the hosts edged back in front in the 32nd minute when a burst down the left by wing Rotimi Segun was finished off by lock Mark Flanagan despite the scrambling effort of flanker Aaron Wainwright.

Malins struck the right post with the tricky conversion but swiftly learnt from his effort in the stiff wind to add the extras when centre Nick Tompkins broke away, showing too much pace for Kirchner.

The hosts led 15-7 as the half-time whistle approached when the Dragons made a bid for rugby’s equivalent of the Darwin Award.

With the clock in the red, they just needed to get the ball off the park from a scrum inside their 22.

Instead number eight Robson Blake, who had otherwise enjoyed a strong half, attempted to run and the ball was turned over for wing Segun to make it 20-7.

It was braindead rugby - a farce that one hopes scrum-half Dan Babos will learn from - and left the region with a stiff task in the second half, one that got even stiffer in the opening minute.

Poor defence allowed impressive number eight Sione Vailanu to burst through and draw the final man for full-back Matt Gallagher to canter over for a bonus-point try that Malins converted.

Malins stretched the lead with a three-pointer before the Dragons got their second seven-pointer through a driving lineout, hooker Liam Belcher going over after hitting his man.

Kirchner converted via the orange left post but any hopes of the most unlikely of comebacks were dashed when flanker Sean Reffell went over from close range in the 70th minute to make it 35-14.

That was swiftly followed by scrum-half Tom Whiteley dashing over for a well-taken, if a little too easy, try for 40-14.

The Dragons had the final say when tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother went over from close range but there was little by way of celebrations from the visitors.

Saracens: M Gallagher, O Morris (N Stirzaker 51), N Tompkins, R Bird-Tulloch (D Morris 55), R Segun, M Malins (A Gliksten 74), T Whiteley, H Thompson (T Lamositele 51), S Spurling (T McElroy 68), K Longbottom (J Figallo 63), D Day, M Flanagan, J Nay (S Reffell 56), B Earl (captain), S Vailanu.

Scorers: tries – M Flanagan, N Tompkins, R Segun, M Gallagher, S Reffell, T Whiteley; conversions – M Malins (2); penalties – M Malins (2)

Dragons: C Meyer, P Howard (C Wellington 43), S Beard (J Sage 55), C Edwards, R Dyer, Z Kirchner, D Babos (C Morris 68), S Hobbs (G Ellis 63), L Belcher (E Shipp 63), N Thomas (L Fairbrother 49), M Williams (H Williams 59), R Landman, J Sheekey (A Wainwright 14), H Keddie (captain), R Blake.

Scorers: tries – H Keddie, L Belcher, L Fairbrother; conversions – Z Kirchner (3)

Referee: Simon Harding (RFU)

Attendance: 6,432