European Challenge Cup: Jones urges Dragons to learn Pool lesson

Kingsley Jones (R) and fellow former Wales captain Ieuan Evans
Kingsley Jones (right) and fellow former Wales captain Ieuan Evans share a pre-match joke in Montpellier

Head coach Kingsley Jones has urged Newport Gwent Dragons to learn their lesson ahead of the 2016-17 European Challenge Cup.

Jones was proud of his side's efforts in their 22-12 semi-final defeat at Montpellier.

But he says finishing second behind Sale in Pool 2 cost his side a home semi-final.

"The biggest thing we learn is that we need to finish better in our pool stage," said Jones.

"It's two years on the trot we've had an away semi-final."

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Dragons lost at Edinburgh in the 2014-15 semi-finals and earned a shock win at Gloucester on the way to facing Montpellier.

"I've been lucky enough as a player to go through to stages and you have to do well in your pool - it makes the last part so much easier," Jones added.

"But I can't fault anyone's effort. There were a lot of young fellas and they will have grown a lot and some of the senior players have stepped up.

"And particularly all the replacements have gone on and done a good job."

Jones is in charge until at least the end of the season following the departure of namesake Lyn Jones as director in the days leading up to their trip to France.

Dragons have only Italian clubs Zebre and Treviso below them in the Pro12, but Jones believes they can improve in the coming seasons.

He added: "This young group, keep them together for a year or two and a bit of luck with a bit of experience around them, keep them on the field and we can go up the (Pro12) league, I'm really confident of that."

Dragons face Scarlets on Welsh rugby's Pro12 Judgement Day IV at Principality Stadium on Saturday, 30 April.

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