DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman is confident that captain Cory Hill and several senior figures will be back to help shore up their leaky defence for the Guinness PRO14 opener against Leinster, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade side welcome the Irish province to Newport next Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm) on the back of a chastening pre-season.

Yesterday they were beaten 40-23 by Glasgow in Ebbw Vale after being downed 40-15 by Montpellier, 71-21 by Northampton and 50-24 by Exeter.

They have shipped 31 tries and need to improve fast for a meeting with a Leinster side who romped to a 54-22 success at Rodney Parade in February.

Head coach Jackman is confident that locks Hill (pectoral muscle) and Rynard Landman (concussion), fly-half/centre Gavin Henson (dead leg) and scrum-half Sarel Pretorius (muscle strain) will be back to bolster the ranks, but knows the Dragons must lower their error count.

“We’ve got a new defensive coach [Hendre Marnitz] and it’s a very different system to before,” he said.

“People are making mistakes and it will take six months to build a defensive system and a year to build an attacking system. What we need to make sure of is that we are competitive quicker than that.

“We don’t want to be leaking tries as easily as we have been but everything is being reviewed properly, players are understanding what they have done wrong and it’s just a case of how quickly we can learn and fix it.

“We’ve tested ourselves against Champions Cup opposition and Leinster will come here really confident of getting an easy win.

“That’s understandable because their second or third string came here last season and put 50 points on us.

“They will be high on confidence and we need to defend properly or they will go from their own try line. We’ve a big week ahead of us but Monday morning we will be at it.”

The Dragons, who crossed for the first and last tries through Charlie Davies and Adam Warren, led early in the second half against the Warriors but fell apart when the starting XVs went off.

“Unfortunately we just didn’t have any impact off the bench, in actual fact it was a negative impact,” said Jackman.

“That is disappointing for individuals because they haven’t done themselves justice but that’s the way it’s going to be. If you are going to come on then you’ve got to at least get to the same level of the guy that you are replacing.”

“In the first half we looked decent but it’s that lack of depth that we have to challenge. We have to improve those back-up players.

“We don’t have 40 players who are good enough to play in the Champions Cup, that’s the reality of it. That showed against Glasgow, it showed a little bit against Exeter, Montpellier and Northampton.

“Our job as coaches is to get those player to that level as quickly as we can and as a group we have to coach, lead and manage better than we ever have done before.

“That’s the challenge but it’s exciting and the players don’t want to be shipping 40 points, they want to be competitive and winning games.

“It’s a team effort and we’ve all just got to get stuck in and get it fixed.”