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Dragons coach Kingsley Jones sets home advantage goal after Challenge Cup agony

Published 23/04/2016

Newport Gwent Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones
Newport Gwent Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones

Newport Gwent Dragons coach Kingsley Jones challenged his team to earn the right to a home European Challenge Cup semi-final next season after they fell at the last-four stage for a second successive year.

While Jones was happy with the effort put in by his team in the 22-12 defeat by Montpellier at the Altrad Stadium, he said the best way to avoid falling at the semi-final hurdle may be to earn home-field advantage.

"That's two years in a row that we have had to play an away semi-final so the biggest thing we learned is that we need to finish better in the pool stages," said Jones.

"You have to do well in your pool to make the knock-out stages easier. But I can't fault anyone's effort - a lot of young fellows grew up a lot and some of the senior players really stepped up.

"We kept on battling. We're all disappointed to lose, there has been a lot of work that has gone into this European campaign, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but we'll learn from it."

It was a 12th win in their last 13 games for Montpellier, who are lying in second place in the Top 14 and heading to the play-offs. Although they beat the Dragons to reach the final, they launched their campaign with a defeat against Harlequins, who will be their opponents in the final in Lyon.

Montpellier skipper, and man of the match, Fulgence Ouedraogo said: "We really wanted the win and a place in the final - we wanted it for the club, our fans and for ourselves. Now that it's done, we are very happy.

"We had a bad start to the tournament against Harlequins, but we never gave up hope of reaching the final and now we have made it. Hopefully, we can take our revenge in Lyon.

"This club haven't won anything and we all want to play in finals and lift trophies. We've now got the chance to win something and I hope the fans will turn the Grand Stade de Lyon into a sea of blue."

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