European Challenge Cup: Bernard Jackman wants 'cup final' Dragons effort

Bernard Jackman is a former Ireland hooker
Dragons boss Bernard Jackman is a former Ireland hooker
European Challenge Cup: Dragons v Bordeaux-Begles
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport Date: Saturday, 20 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport website.

Dragons coach Bernard Jackman says they will treat the European Challenge Cup return match against Bordeaux-Begles as a cup final, even though they are all but out.

A battling 36-28 defeat in France left the Dragons on a run of five losses in Europe and the Pro14.

"I told the players it would be like a cup final without any big reward except the win," said Jackman.

"But that's enough for us and we're craving it."

The Dragons led on the hour in Bordeaux, before their injury-hit squad succumbed to three tries inside 15 minutes.

'Pressure' on Dragons players

Jackman believes the performance justified his public criticism of the depleted squad following their heavy defeat at the Scarlets and wants a similar effort in the rematch.

"It's important for us to get a performance and show our fans we're on the right track," he said.

"I think there was enough in it to look forward to next weekend in a more confident and hopeful mood.

"I know these boys respond well to pressure. At the moment it's the only way until we get consistency of performance. We need to put that pressure on them."

'We don't accept defeat' - Dee

Elliot Dee grimaces as he is tackled
Elliot Dee began an electrical apprenticeship before concentrating on his rugby career

Wales hooker Elliot Dee says there will be no shortage of motivation for the team, even though they have no realistic chance of progressing in any competition.

"I don't think we accept defeat, but there's a perception that we do," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"There's always motivation when you play. I'm certainly proud every time I pull on the Dragons jersey."

Dee is now hoping for a first chance in the Six Nations, after winning two caps in the Autumn internationals.

Wales boss Warren Gatland is scheduled to name his squad on Tuesday, 16 January.

"I'd love to be in the squad. I had a taste in the autumn and it was an incredible experience, I'd love to be involved.

"I was lucky enough to get a chance and if selected, I want to get as much game-time as I can.

"But Scott Baldwin's on form, Kristian Dacey is back and Ken (Owens) has been on form so there's massive competition."

Playing for jobs

Fly-half Dorian Jones, who made his first appearance since September in Bordeaux, says there is plenty of motivation for players facing an influx of new blood next season.

"A lot of boys are playing for jobs, that's definitely one motivation," he said.

"We've got boys playing to get in the Six Nations squad and there are opportunities to stamp your authority in whatever jersey you're wearing.

"Boys that are staying here want to be part of it. I know we're signing big names, but they need to work for it rather than take the jersey straightaway."

The Dragons are likely to be without wing Ashton Hewitt for the Bordeaux return after knee and shoulder knocks.

But South Africa full-back Zane Kirchner, centre Tyler Morgan, and back-rowers Ollie Griffiths and Harrison Keddie are all likely to be back off the injury list by the time the Pro14 resumes in February.

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