COACH Barry Maddocks bemoaned the Dragons’ scrum struggles that denied them a chance to upset the odds at the Scarlets.

The Rodney Parade region suffered a 22-13 loss in the Guinness PRO14 derby in Llanelli after being dominated by the hosts in terms of possession and territory.

The Dragons headed west without props Ryan Bevington (concussion), Leon Brown (thumb), Brok Harris (knee) and Lloyd Fairbrother (suspension) and their problems were exacerbated when Aaron Jarvis limped off in the opening stages with a hamstring injury.

That left Gerard Ellis, a converted hooker, playing loosehead and Dan Suter, who had not started since struggling against the Scarlets at Judgement Day, playing tighthead against the Scarlets’ all-Wales front row.

Suter was yellow carded at the end of the first half and he didn’t return with the Dragons leaving on 20-year-old tighthead Chris Coleman.

“We couldn’t quite get the platform that we needed,” said backs coach Maddocks. “When we did have the ball the boys played some good stuff.

“Fair play to the Scarlets, in the first half they had a stranglehold at the lineout and the scrum.

“That was a strong front row and we were down to our fourth or fifth choices really. We had a young player in Chris Coleman who came on and did admirably, as a young kid that is good for the future.

“It was always going to be tough and in territory and possession we were down to the 30s – they dominated the game so looking at our defence, the energy and effort was top drawer.

“The defensive effort of the boys over the last four games has been massive and that has probably taken a bit out of their legs, especially as we played most of the Blues game with 14.

“It has been a huge effort from each and every member of staff behind the scenes and the boys themselves have fronted up fantastically well.”

Tyler Morgan seems to be fine after taking a blow to his right knee in the opening stages and needing heavy strapping while the decision to start with Zane Kirchner at full-back rather than Jordan Williams, who was named in the XV on Friday, was tactical.