DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman has warned his side that Timisoara Saracens are more dangerous than the Enisei-STM team that humiliated them in Russia – but knows a bonus-point win is essential in their European opener.

The Rodney Parade region start their Challenge Cup campaign against the Pool One minnows tomorrow afternoon (kick-off 12.30pm).

A five-point haul is essential if the Dragons are to entertain qualifying from a group featuring European heavyweights Clermont Auvergne and Northampton, two teams more used to playing in the Champions Cup.

The Dragons know all about the dangers of minnows after being shocked 38-18 by Enisei-STM in Krasnodar two years ago and last year Jackman's men edged a 28-21 success against them in Moscow.

Nonetheless, the head coach knows that they must avoid a banana skin in style at the Dan Paltinisanu Stadium.

"We have to get 10 points from them," said Jackman. "We saw a big improvement in our attack against Cardiff Blues last weekend and want to be ambitious and go after the scores early.

"We have to get into our shape and play, because that's something we haven't done a huge amount of unfortunately this season, but the boys have got confidence from the first half against the Blues.

"We respect them and know that it could be difficult, but if we play high-tempo for the whole game we will get the tries we need.

"We were up against a very good Blues side last weekend and showed a lot of x-factor and talent and players who beat people. That hadn't really been there in the first five games, so it's good to see that starting to click."

Timisoara suffered six heavy defeats when they faced Edinburgh, Stade Francais and Harlequins in the 2016/17 tournament.

Last season they lost to Heidelberger in the semi-finals of the Continental Shield, won by Enisei in Bilbao, only to get a place in the Challenge Cup when the German runners-up were deemed to be ineligible.

Timisoara have won the Romanian SuperLiga for the last three years and, although they have suffered a loss this season to Steaua Bucharest, Jackman believes their hosts will be no pushovers on home soil.

"In the footage that we have seen, they dominate that league," he said about the Saracens, who provided 10 nine members of the Romania side that was edged out by Georgia in March, including captain Stelian Burcea, and boast a handful of overseas players.

"I would say they are probably a bit better than Enisei, although the strength in depth in Russia makes it a better league. But we are in a tough group so need to get off to a good start."

The Dragons name their team at midday with Zane Kirchner set to start at full-back after returning from a month on loan at Bristol.

Back row forward Lewis Evans, the region's record appearance holder, will start at lock.

l Evans' column: Page 37