DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman says the players who were crushed in Cork will get a shot at redemption this weekend – partly thanks to the lack of other options.

The Rodney Parade region open their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.15pm).

They head to the Saints, where a second string was drubbed 71-21 in pre-season, on the back of a 49-6 hammering at the hands of Munster in the Guinness PRO14.

The Dragons shipped seven tries on a chastening evening at Musgrave Park with no player taking their chance to impress Jackman and his management team.

But rather than being dropped, those that disappointed are poised for another crack in the development competition in the absence of the Wales quartet of Cory Hill, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown and Hallam Amos plus a lengthy injury list.

“We would like to use the Anglo-Welsh Cup to play youngsters and unfortunately we had to do that at Munster,” said Jackman.

“The good thing is that they are not going to be shown the door after that, they are going to get another opportunity away to Northampton and against the Scarlets because they are the players who are fit at the moment.

“The good thing for these guys is that they’ve had a really tough experience at Munster and normally when that happens you don’t again play for six or seven weeks.

“They are going to play this week and have a chance to write some wrongs at Saints and we will see their mental strength and character.

“We are not going to become much more skilful in the course of a week, although I know their skill set is better than they showed at Munster.”

The Dragons could also now be without number eight James Sheekey, who suffered a head injury when making his debut in Cork, along with full-back Will Talbot-Davies and wing George Gasson, who have joined centre Barney Nightingale in the Wales 7s set-up.

Fly-half Arwel Robson is set for his first regional start after returning hip operation and wing Joe Goodchild, one of the Dragons’ Wales contingent at the World Rugby U20 Championship last summer, will make his debut.

Wales 7s international Ben Roach came off the bench at Munster and will start in the East Midlands.

The English clubs opened their Anglo-Welsh campaign last weekend with the tournament following the usual format of teams in Pool One facing those from Pool Four, and Pool Two locking horns with Pool Three.

The Dragons head to Northampton, entertain the Scarlets a week on Friday then next year travel to Saracens then host Worcester.

Their hopes of repeating their 2011 trip to the semi-finals didn’t get off to the best of starts, even though they weren’t in action.

Exeter, Harlequins and Sale all made winning starts with the sides from Devon and London earning bonus points.

Like the Dragons intend to, Northampton mixed youth and experience in their opener in Exeter.

The likes of Stephen Myler, Cobus Reinach Christian Day, Tom Wood and Sam Dickinson started alongside academy prospects.

Dragons’ injuries (19): Zane Kirchner, Adam Hughes, Tyler Morgan, Thretton Palamo, Sam Beard, Tavis Knoyle, Sam Hobbs, Rhys Buckley, Dan Suter, Chris Coleman, Matthew Screech, Ashley Sweet, Henri Williams, Max Williams, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans, Ollie Griffiths, Harri Keddie, James Sheekey.

Dragons’ Wales call-ups (4): Hallam Amos, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Cory Hill.

Dragons’ Wales 7s call-ups (3): Barney Nightingale, George Gasson, Will Talbot-Davies