THE Dragons have little margin for error in their bid for knockout rugby when they return to action after a month on the sidelines at Benetton on Saturday afternoon.

The Rodney Parade region head to Treviso (kick-off 3.15pm) for their third fixture in the Challenge Cup after suffering a trio of derby postponements in the United Rugby Championship.

They can ill afford to be rusty if they are to qualify for the knockout stages after wasting a glorious opportunity to victory at Perpignan in December before being overpowered by Lyon in Newport on December 17, the last time they took to the field.


This season’s Challenge Cup has seen 15 teams split into three pools of five with each club having four fixtures, two home and two away.

The top three in each group progress to the last 16 along with the highest ranked fourth-placed team plus a trio from the Champions Cup.

Each club has a bye round with the Dragons having next weekend off before finishing against Gloucester at Rodney Parade in April.

South Wales Argus:


The Dragons have just one point in Pool B after being wasteful when losing 22-16 in Perpignan, when they at least got a consolation bonus at the Stade Aime Giral, and then being beaten 41-28 by Lyon in Newport.

Lyon beat Gloucester 19-13 on opening weekend and then the Cherry and Whites thrashed Benetton 54-25 at Kingsholm.

Lyon lead the way on nine points, Gloucester have six, Perpignan four, the Dragons have one and Benetton are yet to get off the mark.


This weekend the Dragons head to Treviso on Saturday afternoon and Perpignan entertain Lyon on Saturday night.

Next weekend Dean Ryan’s men put their feet up while Lyon host Benetton and Gloucester entertain Perpignan.

The last round sees the Cherry and Whites head to Newport while Benetton host Perpignan. Dates are yet to be confirmed for the weekend of April 8.


A win against Benetton would keep their hopes of knockout rugby alive, although they will still watch other results with interest before they host Gloucester.

A defeat would see the Italians go above them and probably end their hopes of the last 16, with the fourth-placed qualification spot potentially being put out of their reach on their bye week.

A draw in Italy would inch the Dragons towards a tally that might be enough - they would be looking at results from Pools A and C - but realistically they need to end with a pair of wins.