AFTER showing resilience on Welsh soil, defence coach James Chapron is hoping to show some steel on the road as the Dragons aim to end their nightmare away streak in the Guinness PRO14.

The academy manager was asked by caretaker boss Ceri Jones to take responsibility for the senior side's defence when head coach Bernard Jackman, who had just taken over that role after Hendre Marnitz was sacked, was axed in December.

Chapron, a former hooker who played for Pontypool before cutting his coaching teeth with the club, had previously coached defence with Wales Under-18s and with the Dragons in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

His toil on the training pitch appears to be paying off, with the exception of a seven-try hammering at the hands of French giants Clermont Auvergne in the European Challenge Cup.

The Dragons have played four PRO14 fixtures in the Jones era with Cardiff Blues crossing once at the Arms Park, the Ospreys limited to a Justin Tipuric score in the morale-boosting derby win in Newport, the Scarlets scoring twice in Llanelli and Munster just once, albeit when defences were helped by horrendous conditions at Rodney Parade.

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Seeing the squad make strides after they had previously shipped 44 tries in 10 league games makes the long hours worthwhile for Chapron.

"I am enjoying it. The days are crazily busy, especially early in the week when you are trying to get a game plan done along with the age-grade and academy work," he said.

"It's been a challenge but it's a great opportunity and nobody would turn this down. It's been good and the boys have been really receptive.

"They have worked really hard and we have seen some improvement in our defence, bar the Clermont game.

"We have kept some of the principles in terms of some of the width that Bernard was trying to get in our defence.

"We have probably brought a bit more line speed and tried to be more aggressive in the contact area. It's been an evolution rather than a revolution I suppose."

The defensive improvement will be firmly tested in the coming weeks as the Dragons attempt to triumph on their PRO14 travels for the first time since March, 2015, an embarrassing streak of 39 defeats.

They take on Edinburgh at Murrayfield tomorrow (kick-off 7.35pm) and visit Benetton, scene of that last win, the following weekend.

A home meeting with Ulster is then followed by trips to the Ospreys, Southern Kings and Cheetahs before the Judgement Day finale against the Scarlets.

"We have talked about getting the monkey off our back. We did that by beating the Ospreys for a first derby win in a long while and the next one to pick off is an away game," said Chapron.

"We have to start showing improvement as a group and while we were competitive over the Christmas period, we would have liked to have got more out of it.

"Munster could've gone either way and ultimately in the record books we have only won one of our last four in the PRO14. That's something that we all want to change.

"Our resilience is going to be massively important away from home. In the Munster game we bounced back really well from Clermont, when boys held their hands up about individual performances.

"Rugby is a simple game – if you don't concede as much then you don't have to score as much! So if we can deal with Edinburgh's power game we will be there or thereabouts."

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The Dragons have made strides in defence but are still ranked 10th in the league, while their tries scored record is the worst.

Jackman frequently spoke about the need to become hard to beat on the road and Chapron knows it's vital to change how they are viewed by opponents.

"We measure our defence on three really simple key performance indicators," he said. "Our line speed and the quality of it, how quickly we get the ball back and how we control the speed of the ball.

"We are gradually improving in all three areas with our contact area the biggest improvement.

"We can still do a better job at getting the ball back quicker, but that will come when teams start respecting our defence.

"I think that teams 'overplay' against us because traditionally we haven't been great defensively, so they keep the ball for longer. That means we need to keep plugging away to change perceptions."