SHAUN Connor hopes that the Dragons youngsters learn from a nightmare season – but feels the management team didn't get the most out of the squad at their disposal.

The 42-year-old former fly-half from Blaina, who played 29 times for the Rodney Parade region between 2008 and 2010, left his role as backs coach at the end of a troubled campaign.

The Dragons set a record low by winning just twice in the Guinness PRO14 and only the Southern Kings, whose only victory came against the Dragons, finished with a worse points tally.

Head coach Bernard Jackman points to the amount of prospects that were given a taste of professional rugby as prime reason for the on-field struggles in his first year at the helm, one that ended with 19 players leaving the club.

The Irishman has since admitted that in hindsight he told individuals that they were leaving too early.

And Connor feels the management – himself included – cannot use youth as a get out of jail free card.

"Performances weren't good this year," said Connor, who was a popular figure at Rodney Parade after returning in 2014, firstly as academy skills coach and then backs coach for past bosses Lyn Jones and Kingsley Jones.

"As coaches we have to take our share of the blame, we just didn't get as much out of the squad as we should have. That squad wasn't as bad as the results and we have got to take some of that blame.

"I include myself in that because we had more resources off the field that we have ever had under Lyn and Kingsley.

"We gave youngsters opportunities but we can't hide behind that for how poor the season was. It was one of the reasons, obviously, but the Dragons have always blooded youngsters in the past and had relative success.

"Elliot Dee, Ollie Griffiths, Jack Dixon, Tyler Morgan, Hallam Amos, Harrison Keddie were young when they were given their opportunities.

"We didn't have that much of an experienced team in the past but we got to two European semi-finals, which I will look back on as real high points.

"One thing the Dragons have been renowned for is that, even though we haven't had the most successful squads, we've worked hard and put performances in at Rodney Parade that the supporters have been proud of. We didn't do that this year.

"It's a shame to see where we have been but a lot of the young guys stepped up and will improve thanks to the experience.

"Hopefully the Dragons will be successful next year and plenty of the players will look back at this season as a great learning curve."

Connor joined the Dragons management after hanging up his boots, then took a role as a WRU skills coach based at the Ospreys before returning to Rodney Parade.

The affable Connor, who played for Abertillery, Newport, Ebbw Vale and Pontypool, is still mulling over his next career move after a draining season.

"I met Bernard at the end of January, he said that he felt he needed to change things but I saw it coming to be honest," he said.

"It was the toughest year that I've had but hopefully I can learn from it and come back stronger for the experience once I've taken stock because I still feel that I have something to offer.

"I loved working with the players at the Dragons and lots of the staff that have been there for years – there are a lot of good people that deserve success.

"It's been well-documented how tough it's been at the Dragons for a couple of years. The performances on the field haven't improved but there are positive signs off it with the Welsh Rugby Union and (chairman) David Buttress coming in.

"I am a Gwent man and I would love to see the Dragons do well. There is a lot of goodwill in the region and the supporters just need a bit of success now to drive it forward."