THE Dragons have changed their travel plans for their European Challenge Cup opener at Perpignan to avoid the risk of getting stuck in France because of coronavirus.

The Rodney Parade region get their European campaign under way at the Stade Aime Giral on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.30pm).

The Dragons usually travel the day before a fixture but they are chartering a flight from Cardiff to the south of France and will be in and out on Saturday, operating in a strict bubble.

If the squad and management stayed overnight then they would have to do coronavirus tests on the Sunday and a positive result would mean they had to quarantine in France.

Instead, they will return after the game, take PCR tests and isolate at home while waiting for the results.

“Covid restrictions are severe across all of Europe and therefore our travel arrangements reflect that,” said director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“It's a significant challenge in administration to make sure we can get in, stay safe and get home safely.

“We are having to charter a flight and test every single day. Positives out there would be a risk for getting back.

“We will test prior to leaving and will return in the same day. It's a new challenge for us to go in and out but it's the best way of keeping us safe.”

The Dragons kick off the Challenge Cup with a French double-header with the trip to Perpignan followed by a home encounter with Lyon next Friday.

They travel to Benetton in January before hosting Gloucester in April with the top three progressing to the last 16 of the second tier tournament.