THE Dragons will kick off their Challenge Cup campaign at Perpignan on a Saturday night in December.

Dean Ryan's men will head to the Stade Aime Giral on Saturday, December 11 (kick-off 6.30pm local time).

They then have a swift turnaround to a home encounter with Lyon on Friday, December 17 (kick-off 8pm).

Familiar United Rugby Championship opponents Benetton are third up in Treviso on Saturday, January 15 (kick-off 4.15pm) before a Pool B finale against Gloucester at Rodney Parade on the weekend of April 8, with the date of that fixture yet to be confirmed.

The Challenge Cup has a modified format with 15 clubs competing in three pools, every team having one bye weekend (the Dragons’ is in January).

The top three from each group and the highest-ranked fourth club will go through to the round of 16 on the weekend of April 15 along with six Champions Cup teams.

The Dragons have made it to the semi-finals twice, losing to Edinburgh in 2015 after beating Cardiff in the quarters and Montpellier in 2016 after stunning Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Ryan’s men lost in the quarter-finals to Bristol at Ashton Gate in 2020 and were beaten in the round of 16 by Northampton after throwing away a commanding lead.