BERNARD Jackman is relishing the chance to see his new Dragons players make some clangers when they take on French giants Montpellier this evening, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade side enjoy a first hit out of the summer against the Top 14 big guns in Aveyron (kick-off 7pm).

The challenge of going up against a powerful Montpellier line-up is intensified by a schedule that sees the Dragons also facing Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

That means head coach Jackman has divided his squad, sending a number of senior players back early from a week-long training camp in France to bolster the team that will face the Saints.

But the Irishman, who took over from Kingsley Jones as head coach in June, is excited by the prospect of some meaningful action after hard toil on the training paddock.

“This is where things start to become real,” said Jackman. “I was happy with our first block of pre-season – the culture is getting better and the intensity was decent – but this is where things break down.

“It’s not ideal for us to have to two games and I would like to play 28 to 30 players and give them 40 minutes each.

“That isn’t possible and we are splitting the squad up to make sure there is a mix of experience in both teams.

“I am a bit worried about the players playing longer than they ideally would but I want to see some of the things that we have been working on in training coming through.

“I want the lineout to be functioning, I want the scrum to be functioning, Hendre [Marnitz, new coach] can’t put a whole defence in place in a matter of weeks but we want core principles that we have created to show.

“I don’t care about errors, in fact I like them so that we have footage and the ability to fix things for Leinster in September.

“It’s not about results now – nobody remembers them – it’s about winning that first game in the PRO14.”

Montpellier blew away some cobwebs with a clash against French rivals Lyon last weekend, losing 40-12, and new boss Vern Cotter intends to step things up ahead of a Top 14 opener against Agen on Saturday, August 26.

Even with a lengthy list of absentees – including barnstorming number eight Louis Picamoles and powerhouse wing Nemani Nadolo – they boast a glut of talent in their ranks.

“This weekend we are going up against Champions Cup sides in Montpellier and Northampton so we are testing ourselves against very strong opposition,” said Jackman. “Things will go wrong, there is no doubt about that, but I am looking forward to working to put errors right for Leinster.”

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