DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan was proud that his side showed no “soft underbelly” against Edinburgh’s power.

The Scots deservedly took the spoils 20-7 at Murrayfield after Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe crossed either side of a slick try by Adam Warren on his 100th appearance for the Rodney Parade region.

However, the Guinness PRO14 play-off hopefuls didn’t have things all their own way in the capital thanks to the Dragons’ spirit in defence.

Ryan said in the build-up that he was expecting a direct, physical approach from Edinburgh but his charges stood firm against the driving lineout and brutal carries.

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“I am incredibly proud of the effort,” said the director of rugby. “This is an established Edinburgh side of two or three years. I love coaching against Richard (Cockerill), I have spent many years doing it, and he has made big strides here.

“We came here with some really young lads, we are trying hard to concentrate on where we can get better but at the same time we’ve got to recognise we are a little bit behind in the competition against some sides.

“That was a big shift, it was really physical and was a game of patience. We were in there long enough but probably didn’t have as much power as Edinburgh off the bench, which moved that 15 minutes at the end towards them.

“The big thing was about staying patient; we had been together for five games and during that time had looked too early to play a bit too much.

“That made us vulnerable but in Edinburgh we stayed in the contest a bit longer and I was delighted to watch a powerful side coached by Richard Cockerill not get over with a drive or with key pick-and-go situations.

“That was our big effort because against sides as physical as this we’ve had a bit of a soft underbelly – Munster went over three times against us, Leinster the same.”

The Dragons now concentrate on the European Challenge Cup for a fortnight with Castres heading to Rodney Parade a week on Saturday before a trip to Krasnodar to face Enisei-STM.

The first block of the PRO14 has featured losses to Munster, Connacht, Leinster and Edinburgh plus wins against Zebre and Glasgow.

“I refuse to let the result be the only thing because this is a young side and it is coming from a long way back, but it’s making strides, I love working with them and I am really proud of them,” said Ryan.

“It’s about small steps and we can all have aspirations of the type of game we want to play but we’ve got to take some small steps towards it.”