THE Dragons battled until the death but left Murrayfield with nothing but bruises after being beaten 20-7 by Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14.

The Rodney Parade region produced a display full of character and defensive spirit against a side likely to be in the mix for the play-offs.

Edinburgh Richard Cockerill had spoken about claiming a maximum haul in the build-up but the Dragons frustrated the hosts, and nearly got a reward.

Centre Adam Warren scored a superb try and it was a one-score game in the final quarter.

Edinburgh scored their second try, wing Duhan van der Merwe adding to Blair Kinghorn’s earlier effort, to secure the win.

However, the Dragons had a chance with the clock in the red to breakaway only for wing Owen Jenkins’ footballing skills to let him down.

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No points but plenty of positives for director of rugby Dean Ryan from the final game in the first block of PRO14.

The Dragons certainly weren't lacking in commitment, tenacity or aggression, as they showed with an impressive defensive stand to limit the damage to 10-0 at the end of the first half.

However, they failed to make their own visits to enemy territory count on the scoreboard and Edinburgh are not a side that you want to chase.

Boss Ryan predicted a power approach from the Scots and he wasn't disappointed by Richard Cockerill's side.

They were direct as they attempted to steamroller the Dragons, but they were met with tenacity from the visitors.

Ryan will have been impressed by the way that his side stayed in the fight – with a bit of luck they could have left Murrayfield with something to show for their graft.

The Dragons were led out by Warren on the centre’s 100th appearance and they started strongly only to miss out on a lead when fly-half Sam Davies missed with a tough penalty in the third minute.

That was a lucky escape for the hosts and then it was the visitors' turn.

Back-to-back penalties moved the Scots to five metres out and they hunted a driving lineout, only for referee George Clancy to deny them when they crashed over because he had instructed them to use possession after the maul had stalled for a second time.

Edinburgh kept going for the corner and struck from penalty advantage, the forwards earning a free hit for the backs to work a neat move that saw full-back Kinghorn go over.

Fly-half Simon Hickey added the extras to make it 7-0 after 16 minutes and Davies missed a chance to respond when he struck the outside of the left post from a penalty.

The Dragons had enjoyed their share of possession but couldn’t turn it into points.

However, their ruggedness in defence meant that they stayed in the fight and the held firm before the break to force Edinburgh into a change of tactics.

They hammered away at the line but, with the clock in the red, opted for three from the tee and a 10-0 lead at half-time.

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Edinburgh thought that they had the killer blow in the 41st minute when centre Matt Scott raced away but referee Clancy was well-placed to call play back for a forward pass.

The Irish official was spot-on, without the need for video assistance and he was soon back in the action, this time after looking at the big screen.

A manic period of play saw Fijian winger Eroni Sau denied by the bounce of the ball and it fell to Dragons full-back Jordan Williams, who countered.

He grubbered ahead and it was adjudged that lock Ben Toolis had taken him out, an offence that saw the Scotland international sin-binned.

The Dragons needed to make their numerical advantage count but saw two visits to the Edinburgh 22 ended by penalties, the first for holding on and the second for crossing.

Their frustration grew when the hosts escaped to the other end and put the squeeze on in the 22. Not only did it earn a penalty that Hickey knocked over for a 13-0 lead after 55 minutes but it ended in blindside Huw Taylor being shown yellow after an accumulation of offences.

However, the Dragons struck back straight away to make it a six-point game with a cracker of a try.

A slick move from a scrum saw Rhodri Williams work the ball out the back to fly-half Sam Davies, who went through a gap and put centre Warren racing away.

Davies converted and the Dragons entered the final quarter within a score but then lost a key moment.

Tighthead Leon Brown was pinged for missing his bind and then Edinburgh worked an overlap down the left for wing van der Merwe to cross. Hickey's conversion cancelled out the Dragons' seven-pointer.

It was the hosts that kept the pressure on as they went in search of two more tries for a bonus but once again Ryan’s men dug deep, defending their line with tenacity against the power game.

That nearly paid off at the death when there was a chance for a breakaway but wing Jenkins’ couldn’t produce a perfect hack to a loose ball and the bonus slipped away.

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn; E Sau, M Bennett, M Scott, D van der Merwe; S Hickey, H Pyrgos (captain); P Schoeman, M Willemse, P Ceccarelli, L Carmichael, B Toolis, J Barclay, L Crosbie, M Bradbury. Replacements: C Fenton, R Sutherland, S Berghan, G Gilchrist, J Richie, C Shiel, J van der Walt, G Taylor.

Scorers: tries – B Kinghorn, D van der Merwe; conversions – S Hickey (2); penalties – S Hickey (2)

Yellow card: B Toolis.

Dragons: J Williams; O Jenkins, A Warren, J Dixon (T Morgan 70), A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (captain, L Baldwin 75); B Harris, R Hibbard, L Brown (L Fairbrother 64), J Davies (M Williams 70), M Screech, H Taylor, T Basham (J Benjamin 66), H Keddie.

Scorers: try – A Warren; conversion – S Davies

Yellow card: H Taylor

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)