COACH Ian Evans believes the Dragons’ friendly victory against rugged Russia was the perfect preparation for an encounter with Edinburgh’s no-nonsense pack.

The Rodney Parade region went on the road to Bedwas to face the World Cup-bound Bears and ran out 38-24 winners in a tight contest.

Tries by wing Deon Smith, hooker Rhys Lawrence, flanker Ben Fry, scrum-half Rhodri Davies, centre Jack Dixon and wing Dafydd Howells secured the win, the last of them coming from the final play against a plucky Russia side playing from deep in a bid to salvage a draw.

After beating Namibia, former Dragons coaches Lyn Jones and Shaun Connor rang the changes ahead of their Test with Japan but still boasted a side featuring some heavy hitters.

The hosts’ tight game proved to be the difference and that will be key in Newport against Richard Cockerill’s well-drilled Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14 a week on Sunday (kick-off 5.30pm).

The Dragons head into the game on the back of heavy losses to Ulster and Connacht that means they are bottom of Conference B and in desperate need of a first PRO14 win since September.

“Up front will be key,” said Evans, who led the side for the Russia game along with skills coach Alan Kingsley. “Richard Cockerill is a quality coach who knows exactly what it takes to win.

“He has coached quality teams at Leicester and Toulon, and has even got Edinburgh firing in the pack. They are organised and know exactly what they need to do.”

The Dragons gave chances to a number of first-teamers aiming to force their way into the XV for Edinburgh along with a smattering of youth.

Fry, who went to the World Rugby U20 Championship last summer, caught the eye of ex-Wales lock Evans and adds to the region’s back row depth.

“I thought some of the youngsters performed really well,” said the assistant forwards coach. “I felt Ben Fry really excelled. His physicality was great and for a young man he didn’t shy away from any of it.

“We are fortunate to be blessed with some really quality back rows. Fingers crossed we can now get some 6ft 6ins players in the region and we can start getting bigger and bigger!

“The tight five was pretty strong and Ryan Bevington and Aaron Jarvis showed their experience. Daf Howells also showed glimpses when he got his hands on the ball and he scored a nice try.

“It was an enjoyable game and it’s nice to get a victory. The first half we were good in terms of territory and second half we probably lacked that a little bit. But, all in all, it is a positive evening for us.

“It was nice for some of the senior players for the confidence, to get their hands up ready next week for selection.

“Lyn Jones is a quality coach and Russia were a pretty well-drilled team that will only get better with more time together and with the games that they play.”

The Dragons had a clean bill of health from the encounter and hope that influential flanker Ollie Griffiths will be available for the Edinburgh game after missing the Ulster and Connacht losses with a hip problem.

Lock Brandon Nansen, who was forced out of Samoa’s squad for the autumn by concussion, could also be in contention for a return.