Challenge Cup: Dragons defeat feels like 'end of world' - Thomas

Taulupe Faletau was sin-binned at Murrayfield
Taulupe Faletau was sin-binned at Murrayfield

Newport Gwent Dragons stand-in captain Rhys Thomas said losing their European Challenge Cup semi-final against Edinburgh felt as if "it was the end of the world".

A win would have sent the Welsh region to their first final since being formed in 2003.

Instead, Edinburgh made their own history with a comprehensive 45-16 win.

"Right here, after the game now, it feels as if it's the end of the world," said ex-Wales hooker Thomas.

Dragons won four successive games in all competitions before the trip to Murrayfield, seeing off Leinster, Cardiff Blues and Ulster in the process.

Thomas says Edinburgh's good play and below-par efforts from the Dragons combined to ensure a five-tries-to-one defeat by the Scottish team.

Afterwards he warned a repeat in Welsh rugby's Pro12 'Judgement Day' derby against Scarlets at Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 25 April would produce a similar outcome.

Jonathan Evans tackles Roddy Grant at Murrayfield
Jonathan Evans tackles Roddy Grant at Murrayfield

"If we turn up on Saturday like we did today, the result will be pretty much not far off the same," said Thomas, who was one of three sin-binned Dragons during the game.

With lock Andrew Coombs out injured and original back-up skipper Rynard Landman banned, Thomas led Dragons.

He added: "I think every individual came second best to their [Edinburgh's] individuals, really."

Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones said Edinburgh's game plan was "smart" and included a superior scrum and kicking game.

But he says his players can learn profit from the experience.

"It might be a team from the same league as us, but it's a European semi-final and it's a big step up. And it was too much of a big step for a lot of our players," said Jones.

Tyler Morgan
Tyler Morgan tries to get the ball away against Edinburgh

Jones praised fly-half Dorian Jones and centre Jack Dixon, but admitted "a couple of other players weren't really at their best".

The former Wales flanker echoed Thomas's belief that redemption can be achieved against Scarlets in the Pro12 next weekend.

"We are fortunate enough to be playing in a big game at the Millennium Stadium next week against the Scarlets and I'm sure the boys will be looking forward to next week and putting things right," added Jones.

He also hopes a team often viewed as the also-rans of Welsh regional rugby have gone some way towards altering perceptions of them in a European run that included wins at Stade Francais and Newcastle.

Jones said: "It was a big chance for us was to change the perception of the Dragons - you know, "the Dregs", "the Drag queens", whatever they are called, I've heard all the names over the years.

"And we don't want that tag. Gwent rugby's a stronghold of Welsh rugby and we want to shake that tag.

"By getting to that semi-final it's a big achievement and if you'd said that in September, we'd have taken that."

Top Stories