THE Dragons will embark on an incredible 2,000-mile day-trip to start their European campaign – but Adam Warren insists it might just jolt them into form.

Centre Warren and his teammates face Perpignan this evening and but the region have opted to fly to the southern-most city in France, play the game, and jump straight back on the plane rather than risk a Covid-ruined Christmas.

It means an arduous 1,980-mile round trip to the foot of the Pyrenees to begin their European Challenge Cup campaign in a match that is live on S4C.

The decision to go for the smash-and-grab routine is because the region wanted to spend as little time away from home as possible, fearing any positive tests might lead to quarantine overseas with the Christmas period looming.

It’s a call that Warren says he and his teammates back – mindful of the draining experiences suffered by both Cardiff and the Scarlets after their nightmare trips to South Africa.

“We are going in the morning and coming back the same night, which will be a strange experience and something I haven’t done for years since I was with the Scarlets,” says Warren.

“It’s not too bad. Some of the bigger boys will find it a bit harder, but it’s certainly do-able. Some players prefer a good night’s sleep out there before a game, but we’ll cope.

“We certainly don’t want to get stuck out there. If someone were to test positive, then it could result in being stuck out there like the Cardiff and the Scarlets boys were in South Africa.

“It’s been tough for them and I certainly wouldn’t want to be going through that. I have spoken to one or two of the Scarlets boys and it’s not sounded much fun.”

South Wales Argus: Adam Warren in action for the Dragons against the StormersAdam Warren in action for the Dragons against the Stormers

Warren also hopes the combination of a whirlwind day, a new tournament, and foreign opposition in what is renowned as an intimidating venue might just be the shake-up the Dragons need.

Dean Ryan’s men have only won once – away at Connacht – in seven games this season and their last two defeats, to Edinburgh and Glasgow, were scratchy performances at best.

But a trip to the Stade Aime Giral – where a hostile and intimidating atmosphere has earned renown – might just be the metaphorical water thrown in their faces which the Dragons need to wake-up their season.

Warren – who is only two games into his comeback after a campaign wrecked by injury and illness last season – certainly reckons a refresh is needed.

“It’s been tough in the last few weeks. We felt we were quite close to winning games at the start of the season. We were losing narrowly, but really competing, but since the international break we haven’t played very well.

“This is a new competition. Sometimes, you need something different to spark you – a French team, away from home in Europe, could just flick the switch.

“In that sense it’s a real opportunity. The last two or three games have been really poor from us. We need to put things right and we’re very keen to do that.

“A good result, or even a good performance from us could really allow us to kick on and get some momentum into our season.”

For 30-year-old Warren, a kickstart is long overdue. This time last year he underwent a groin operation after suffering a nasty injury where the ligament had become detached from the bone.

The surgery was successful and he made remarkable progress towards getting back on the field, before a calf injury stalled him.

He recovered, only for the other calf to go, and then, to cap it all, he caught Covid-19 in pre-season which further disrupted his return.

But with appearances against Connacht and the Stormers under his belt, the one-cap Wales international is determined to bring his brand of calmness and consistency back to the Dragons midfield.

“I’m hoping it’s all behind me now. I just want to get some games under my belt and kick on.”

Perpignan are not quite the force of old and currently sit one from bottom of the French Top 14 and so the Dragons should not feel daunted.

“This is a tournament we want to do well in,” adds Warren. “We know they will be big and physical and they’ll have guys in their back line with pace who can punish you.

“Hopefully, we can get the enjoyment back, play with energy and that can enable us to kick on towards the Welsh derbies.”

Watch Perpignan v Dragons live from 5.15pm on Saturday on S4C