THE Dragons face the most daunting prospect in the United Rugby Championship against Leinster on Sunday, and boss Dean Ryan insists it isn't just a case of the have-nots against the haves.

The Irish province won four PRO14 titles on the spin, combing league dominance with winning a fourth Champions Cup crown in 2018.

Leinster have one of the biggest budgets in Europe and boast formidable squad depth, with stars backed up by players who would be starters at most clubs.

They are a well-oiled machine and head to Newport this weekend on a 10-game winning streak against the Dragons going back to January 2016.

Ryan doesn't have the spending power of counterpart Leo Cullen, but the director of rugby stresses that Leinster are about more than throwing around euros.

South Wales Argus: Dragons boss Dean Ryan with Leinster's Leo CullenDragons boss Dean Ryan with Leinster's Leo Cullen

"It would be wrong to look at Leinster and say it's all about budget," he said. "It's a really long-term strategy from academy level and the school system, how they support that and transition [to the seniors], how they bring in overseas talent.

"It's a real lesson to everyone, it's never just about money. It's a part, but they are well supported with some fantastic coaches right the way down.

"What you see at the top end, it could be any names and you still get the same Leinster."

Ryan took the reins at Rodney Parade in the summer of 2019 and pitted his wits against the men from Dublin four times.

Leinster have scored 24 tries in those fixtures and the average score is 40-14.

Nonetheless, the Dragons boss believes his side have earned the full respect of Leinster, who held on for a 35-29 victory in Newport last season.

Ryan said: "We seem to get the pleasure of playing Leinster when they are fully-loaded and trying to make a mark!

"I take that as a compliment. A couple of years ago they would have jumped around with their selection but the last two or three times they have been full strength with what they have available.

"It's exciting for us. There are no doubts that it stresses us, especially the pace and accuracy that they can play the game at."

The impression from the sidelines is that Leinster are slicker than their fellow Irish heavyweights Ulster and Munster, who seem to relish the confrontations.

However, Ryan stresses that the champions can mix it with Europe's best when it comes to the collisions.

"They can blend it," he said. "They absolutely are physical and we saw when really close to them last year that they turned to really physical moments in the 22 when they had to. They made that the point of difference.

"They have the ability to play so accurately, so quickly and with width that sometimes you can feel it's not as physical because it's not as direct.

"But they do have that ability - you wouldn't be at the top in Europe without being to trade in the physical stakes. They just blend it with the pace that they play at."

The teams are announced at midday.