The Rodney Parade region had suffered last-gasp heartbreak against Benetton in Treviso seven days earlier when the hosts pipped them 29-27 thanks to a penalty in injury time. This weekend the Dragons had the chance to pinch the points late on after gaining control in the first half with a hat-trick of tries by man of the match Jared Rosser and one for Charlie Davies, before Zebre stormed back.
Head Coach Bernard Jackman knows his side will need to gain a killer instinct to see off opponents in future, but was pleased to see the development of his young charges towards the end of the campaign.
“We dug in over here in both games and when we get back we are going to prepare to have a real good go at the Scarlets at the Principality Stadium on Judgement Day. That will be another great opportunity for our youngsters playing in front of a huge crowd and a great venue.
“It was very disappointing to lose the last two games in Italy, but I still think our youngsters have made massive progress. It takes about 8-10 games to get comfortable at this level and that’s what we are giving out young players in readiness for next season.
“We had 18-year-olds coming off our bench and getting a taste of things at this level. We’ve been able to give them game time this year to try to accelerate their progress, but next season they will have to earn their places.
“Cory Hill and Elliot Dee were magnificent as the senior players on the trip and they really took the younger players under their wing.”
The Dragons had the chance to win the game at the death after having a possible fourth try for Jared Rosser ruled out for a forward pass. Arwel Robson had the chance to kick for goal from inside his own half, but couldn't it the mark.
“Arwel is a player that we believe can go on to play for Wales one day. What I liked about that final penalty was that he was prepare to step forward and take on the responsibility of the kick, even though it was 55 metres out,” said Jackman.