WHILE Cardiff Blues coach Dale McIntosh admitted to tearing into his charges after a substandard performance against the Ospreys last weekend, Newport Gwent Dragons boss Lyn Jones has left the hairdryer off and accepted his portion of the blame.

The director of rugby opted not to rant and rave at the region's players following their 24-8 RaboDirect Pro12 drubbing at the hands of Connacht at Rodney Parade, admitting that he was just as frustrated by his own efforts.

"Kingsley (Jones, assistant coach) and I were equally to blame for that performance as the players," said Jones, who held his hands up to a selection error in the front row. "As long as you identify what went wrong you have a chance to put things right.

"Raising your voice doesn't cure things, it just makes one person feel better. Our planning and preparation needs to improve greatly and with that comes a better attitude and more confidence for the players."

But there is no shying away from the fact that the Dragons need to dramatically improve in almost all facets of the game if they are to avoid a first defeat to bottom club Zebre tomorrow.

"We've had issues in our tight play all season but the rest of our game has been far better than other teams," said Jones.

"That collapsed against Connacht which left us with our pants down. It's up to the players to pick themselves up, go out to Zebre and pull something out of the bag.

"The whole squad is embarrassed by some of the skill levels and decision making against Connacht. As coaches we need to step up and the players need to step up, because what we saw on Sunday would struggle to beat Bedwas."

The Scarlets will take a big step towards earning the Pro12's final qualification spot in Europe's new premier competition if they can beat Connacht in Llanelli on Sunday afternoon.

The Dragons still have hopes of finishing in the top half but trail the sixth-placed west Walians by eight points, although they have a game in hand.

Zebre are in their own tussle with Treviso for Italy's berth in the top tier Euro tournament, trailing their more esteemed rivals by just two points.