Emirates Lions wanted more than a bonus-point draw from their maiden EPCR Challenge Cup game against Dragons on Saturday, according to head coach Ivan van Rooyen.

The home side registered three points in Pool B as they ran in four tries in the Johannesburg contest, with a resilient Dragons outfit matching their efforts to ensure a 31-31 stalemate.

And although they impressed on the front foot, van Rooyen says Emirates Lions need to improve their defensive discipline if they are to be title contenders in the competition.

“I wouldn’t say we are satisfied,” he said after the game. “And I don’t know if thankful is the right word, if I am being honest. It is three points more than nothing and two less than what we wanted.

“If you are going to give them eight or nine penalties in 40 minutes, you cannot be prepared to take them on tactically or in whatever area you play in.

“If you allow a team to enter your 22 seven or eight times in that 40 [minutes], it is going to be tough. There was some good character and fightback to get back into the second half, but we are obviously disappointed with the result.

“I think there were a couple of mistakes. It is a compound effect of a couple of things.

“We knew that they like to trap us in the ruck and the referee was quite harsh on that. Conceding a couple of not rolling away penalties was silly from our side. There were one or two offside ones.

“In one sequence, we missed about four or five tackles before they scored. It is not just one thing and just defensively that first 40 [minutes] wasn’t good from us.”

Emirates Lions welcome Stade Français Paris in Round 2 on Friday before travelling to Dragons in Round 3 in January, and van Rooyen is expecting wins in both those games to ensure qualification for the knockout stage.

He says his side’s success at Rodney Parade in the United Rugby Championship (URC) last season means they have nothing to fear when they make the trip to Wales.

“Without trying to sound arrogant, we will have to beat Stade Français, and then we will have to beat Dragons away,” he said.

“We have played against them (Dragons) there already, so it won’t be a new thing for us. We know what to expect there and we know what we are going to be doing there.”