DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons believes Worcester Warriors “still have a good chance” of making the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals despite acknowledging that “it is not entirely in our hands”.

Warriors’ qualification hopes were dealt a blow following a 25-16 defeat to Dragons played in what Solomons described as “shocking” conditions at Rodney Parade.

Having come from 13-0 down to lead 16-13 in the second half Solomons felt his side “deserved a point” from the rain-hit clash.

But Solomons was disappointed Worcester “allowed them back into the game” before a late red card for Ethan Waller dashed their chances of claiming a losing bonus point.

The result sees Warriors drop to third in Pool One, five points adrift of leaders Dragons and three behind Castres.

But with home clashes against Enisei-STM and Castres to come in January and the possibility of clinching one of the three best-placed runners-up spots, Solomons has not given up hope of progressing.

“We still have a good chance of making the knockout stages,” Solomons said.

“Obviously it’s not entirely in our hands but we realise we need to win both games with a bonus point to give ourselves any chance of progressing.

“I thought we deserved a point and I’m disappointed we didn’t get it.”

An early Adam Warren try and solid kicking from Sam Davies gave Dragons a 13-point lead inside the first 16 minutes before Warriors responded.

Duncan Weir converted five of his six kicks at goal and set up Tom Howe for a try, but Davies continued to profit from the visitors’ ill-discipline as three more penalties secured victory.

“You have got to take into account the conditions,” said Solomons when reflecting on the defeat.

“They were not good as it rained throughout.

“The pitch cut up as well which made it really difficult for both sides and I thought they handled the conditions better than we did and that was the difference in the end.

“Field position on a night like that was critical and they had that.

“From the kick-off we gave away a penalty, they kicked to the line and from the ensuing maul they eventually got a try.

“Shortly after that they got a penalty and we were on the backfoot.

“In the first 20-30 minutes I thought they dominated field position.

“In the back 10 minutes we got it to 13-9 and came back into it. We went 16-13 up but through errors and penalties we sacrificed field position.

“They got the penalties and that was the difference. It was won on penalties.”

Asked whether there were any positives, Solomons said: “We were down in no time in shocking conditions but pulled it back at half-time and then took the lead.

“That was really pleasing but we allowed them back into the game which was disappointing.”

With eight minutes remaining Warriors’ cause was not helped when Waller was sent off for a high tackle on Cory Hill.

“When you are playing the back 10 minutes with 14 men that makes it extremely difficult,” Solomons added.

“But I have got to look at the film carefully before making an informed comment (on the decision).”