Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan hit out at the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup’s captain’s challenge trial law after his team were beaten 42-26 by the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.

Ryan was also unhappy with his team’s struggles at the scrum and breakdown, particularly in the first half, as they fell to a second straight defeat.

The Rainbow Cup has seen three new trial laws introduced; the captain’s challenge, a red card replacement, and a goal-line drop out.

Ryan was angry Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric called for a challenge for what he felt was a high tackle from Dragons flanker Ollie Griffiths on Owen Watkin.

After checking with TMO Rhys Thomas, referee Frank Murphy did award the Ospreys a penalty but didn’t punish Griffiths.

Ryan feels the captain’s challenge could see teams try to get opposition players sent off.

“It’s difficult for referees, but those who have imposed a trial on us need to be very careful what they’re after,” said Ryan. “We’ve got people asking for high shots to be reviewed and ultimately somebody could get sent off. Is that really what we want our game to be?

“We’ve just got to work it out. Ollie hasn’t played for a number of weeks. I understand it’s a trial, but I don’t even believe the referee had all the camera angles.

“You shouldn’t be running a captain’s challenge without all the camera angles. It’s a trial and it’s great learning, but please learn from it and do something with it.”

Ryan’s belief is the captain’s challenge should be dispensed with moving forwards after the trial which is what has happened in the southern hemisphere.

“You’ve got to look at its unintended consequences. I understand why it was introduced, but I think elaborating on what the TMO can come in for might solve it,” he said.

“We certainly don’t want to find ourselves in a situation where professionals players are looking at things like foul play. I don’t think that’s where the game needs to go.”

Dragons were well beaten by Ospreys regardless of the laws as their scrum and discipline struggled on a day where the breakdown was also a problem.

Wing Jonah Holmes did continue his remarkable form with a brace which made it 10 tries
in his last nine Dragons games. Dan Baker and Rio Dyer also crossed, but it was not enough.

Dragons hooker Taylor Davies was also yellow carded and Ryan added: “I think the yellow card highlighted our inability to compete at the scrum. Respecting areas like the scrum and the breakdown – that was the lesson for us in the first half hour.

“That period meant we were chasing from there on. Even some of our good bits were a bit frantic because we were always behind.”

Ryan admitted he was surprised by the Ospreys’ scrum dominance and added: “We’re just not playing well enough in that area. One of the key learnings is if we want to play a game that has a lot of movement, then we can’t ignore the fundamentals because people come after us.

“The Ospreys did that for half an hour. Then we got a yellow card, lost momentum in the game, and it was pretty difficult for us from there. We can’t afford to ignore it.”

Wales prop Leon Brown struggled at the scrum and left the field with an ankle injury, but one positive for Ryan was Holmes who looks a Welsh certainty this summer on current form.

“Jonah just looks very difficult to bring down at the moment and I think our game is suiting him,” said Ryan. “We just need to keep pushing him to hit the heights because he’s playing as well as I’ve seen him play in a long time.

“Jonah’s got a lot of license to move around and get on the ball. He’s a good footballer. If people kick badly to him then he’s able to bring it back. He just looks incredibly strong.

“I’m sure the guys at international level will look at that as a great asset they can rely on.”

Ospreys did lose Sam Parry to a yellow, but they scored tries through Dewi Cross, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Dan Evans and Max Nagy.

Their clinical edge with a man advantage is a lesson the Dragons can learn from.