THE Dragons suffered a heavy defeat in Castres in the European Challenge Cup. Here are the talking point from the clash at the Stade Pierre-Fabre...


At the time it seemed that the Dragons had missed their chance to earn a last eight spot, but they had help later on in the evening.

Had the region left the Stade Pierre-Fabre with a bonus then they would have been in good shape… as it happened Toulon did them a favour.

The French side won with a bonus at the Scarlets and denied the Llanelli region anything, meaning that the Dragons’ fate is in their own hands.

Win with a bonus against Enisei-STM in Newport – as they should do – and the Dragons will be guaranteed one of the best runners-up spots in the last eight.

If Castres lose in Worcester then the Dragons will win Pool One, but a home quarter-final is impossible.


The Dragons gave it everything in Castres but looked like a side running on empty.

The derby period took its toll even before kick-off, with Aaron Wainwright rested after looking a little leggy against the Ospreys.

The Dragons needed to be at 100 per cent to take the spoils against the 2018 French champions but plenty of players were slightly off it.

They ended up chasing the game, and that was never going to happen against the Castres big units.


The Dragons headed to Castres knowing that – before the Scarlets fluffed their lines against Toulon – that anything would be a bonus on their bid for the last eight.

They appeared to be chasing a four-try bonus from the off, kicking penalties to the corner and going for tries.

It’s unlikely that they would have won but the Dragons could have scored enough for a consolation.

Before Castres opened their account the region had a chance from a driving lineout and the openings in the 22 kept on coming.

“There were some moments there. It’s difficult to say I am really proud of the guys when we lose heavily, but I was,” said director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“Some of our attacking rugby was outstanding, it just lacked some finish, while some of our defence was outstanding but we let them piggyback us up the field through penalties.

“When you have got a side that is so big and so orientated around the drive, we were giving penalties away on their five-metre line that they would kick to halfway, drive for a penalty and then we are suddenly on our five-metre line.

“That’s the maturity that we’ve got to be better at, it’s not that we want to put three stone on everybody but we can be smarter.”

With a cutting edge the Dragons wouldn’t have needed help from a French side in Llanelli…


The Dragons headed to Castres with the plan of playing Adam Warren at 13, outside Tom Griffiths. Instead it was Jack Dixon at inside centre with Griffiths shifted out a place.

Adam Warren suffered a severe nosebleed in the warm-up that meant he dropped out of the 23 (it stopped, meaning that he didn’t need to head to hospital).

That mean a rejig and the steady Warren was missed. Dixon is a no-nonsense carrier but lack’s Warren’s finesse in a wide game.


Wales front-rowers Elliot Dee and Leon Brown went the distance, all because Richard Hibbard and Aaron Jarvis weren’t fit to be on the bench.

It was always likely to be a long afternoon against Castres heavy-hitters, especially without help.

Loosehead cover was Josh Reynolds, who came on in the closing stages, while hooker Ellis Shipp, tighthead Chris Coleman and lock Max Williams remained on the bench.

Had it been tight then the youngsters could have been tasked with finishing the job. Instead It wasn’t the time or the place for prospects.