LLANELLI had an Irish feel to it last night as the Dragons endured yet another torrid away encounter in the Guinness PRO14.

The Rodney Parade region’s travel sickness in the league continued as they suffered a seven-try, 47-13 hammering at the hands of the Scarlets out west.

It was a drubbing that had shades of the losses at Ulster, Munster and Leinster in the first half of the campaign.

The defeat wasn’t the disappointing thing, that was expected given the Dragons’ list of absentees, it was the manner of the loss.

There is promise for what is to come when reinforcements arrive for 2018/19 but there are at least 12 games left in this campaign and Bernard Jackman’s side simply have to show more than they did in Llanelli.

James Benjamin continued his fine season with strong defence and some lovely touches in attack and it’s incredible to think that his workaholic back row colleague Aaron Wainwright is in his first season as a pro, but that was about it.

Miracles don’t happen overnight but this was a similar performance to those at the end of Kingsley Jones’ reign when there was the mitigation of off-field uncertainty.

That the Dragons’ league derby losing streak was extended to 20, leaving them with a Judgement Day shot against the Scarlets to avoid a third successive whitewash, was no surprise.

They headed west with a vastly inexperienced side in which centre Sam Beard, at 27, was the oldest starter.

The average age of the XV was 22 while four players in the side – wing Jared Rosser, scrum-half Dan Babos and flankers Wainwright and teenage debutant Taine Basham – had not played regional rugby before this season.

But unlike Ulster in September, this was not a selection decision.

Barring Gavin Henson, the side was pretty much as strong as the Dragons could field and it laid bare the region’s lack of depth.

The Scarlets also had their own injury problems with a list of stellar backs on the sidelines but were able to field a formidable pack featuring Wales front rowers Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee, international back rowers Aaron Shingler and John Barclay plus all-action openside James Davies.

As such, it was not so much about the result against the champs but showing some enterprise to go along with the usual endeavour.

Unlike in the home games against Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys over the festive period, there could be no grumbles about the conditions on a chilly but dry night in Llanelli.

Yet it was a slow start featuring scrums, reset scrums and not a lot else as both sides played their third derby in the space of 11 days.

The Scarlets, perhaps with early thoughts of pushing for a five-point haul, kicked an ninth minute scrum penalty to the corner but the lineout drive was defended well and then the attack spluttered out, rather summing up the opening exchanges.

Not that the Dragons minded, and they were first on the scoreboard when fly-half Arwel Robson boomed over a 50-metre penalty after the hosts were caught offside.

The Scarlets were not at their slickest and failed to make the most of couple of counters that they have made a habit of ruthlessly scoring in recent times.

However, their set piece was predictably on top and it earned them a 7-3 lead in the 18th minute when a scrum penalty was followed by a lineout drive try by James Davies that Dan Jones converted.

The Dragons’ penalty count was sky high, not only leading to a warning from Italian official Marius Mitrea but pressure inside the 22.

With just 25 minutes on the clock the Dragons management made the incredible decision to change their props, with loosehead Luke Garrett and tighthead Nicky Thomas looking gutted as they headed to the touchline after struggling against their former side.

A change of front rowers didn’t lead to a change of fortune and it was soon 12-3.

The Scarlets had been a little obsessed with driving lineouts and they profited from instead shifting the ball from a lineout for an attack that ended with centre Steff Hughes kicking through for wing Tom Prydie to score against the side he left last summer.

Try number three swiftly followed with Owens and Davies combining to put Jones under the posts for a score that he converted himself.

It was getting ugly but thankfully the Dragons struck next with a long-ranger by Carl Meyer to stem the flow and make it an incredibly one-sided 19-6 at the break.

The Scarlets should probably have been enjoying their half-time oranges with a four-try bonus point already secured and the Dragons continued to frustrate them with a more resolute start to the second half.

Meyer was short with a penalty from just inside his own half and the hosts were kept at arm’s length.

But all of that good work counted for nothing when the fourth try was scored by scrum-half Aled Davies after wonderful handling lock Steve Cummins and full-back Rhys Patchell.

Jones converted and with half an hour left the Dragons once again had to dig deep with the score at 26-6.

But a fifth soon came with Owens’ turnover inside his own half leading to a thrilling counter that ended, despite the best efforts of tireless Wainwright, with Shingler sauntering over for 33-6.

The sixth came from replacement flanker Will Boyde from a driving lineout then the knife was twisted when another old boy, Rhys Jones, was put over by another old boy, Jonathan Evans.

Replacement scrum-half Sarel Pretorius opened the Dragons’ account by sniping over from close range in the 74th minute but it was no consolation on another awful night.

Scarlets: R Patchell; T Prydie, S Hughes, H Parkes, I Nicholas (M Williams); D Jones (R Jones 60), A Davies (J Evans 55); R Evans (W Jones 60), K Owens (captain, R Elias 55), S Lee (S Gardiner 51), S Cummins, D Bulbring, A Shingler (L Rawlins 54), J Davies (W Boyde 54), J Barclay.

Scorers: tries – J Davies, T Prydie, D Jones, A Davies, A Shingler, W Boyde, R Jones; conversions – D Jones (4), R Patchell (2)

Dragons: C Meyer; P Howard, S Beard, J Dixon (J Sage 54), J Rosser; A Robson (A O’Brien 17), D Babos (S Pretorius 54); L Garrett (T Davies 25), L Belcher, N Thomas (L Fairbrother 25), J Davies (R Blake 60), C Hill (captain, R Landman 46), A Wainwright, T Basham, J Benjamin.

Scorers: try – S Pretorius; conversion – A O’Brien; penalties – A Robson, C Meyer

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Attendance: 9,347

Argus star man: James Benjamin