GUINNESS PRO14 chiefs believe the Dragons and their fellow strugglers need to bridge the gap to the play-off contenders for the benefit of the league.

Last season the Rodney Parade region climbed off the bottom of Conference B, above Southern Kings, by upsetting the Scarlets at Judgement Day in the final round.

However, they still finished a massive 25 points away from Edinburgh in the spot above them after recording just five league wins, that after a paltry two successes the season before.

The Dragons were cut adrift with the Kings and Zebre, while they haven't won away from home since March, 2015 haven't beaten a side that qualified for the play-offs since beating Leinster in January, 2016.

PRO14 chief executive Martin Anayi wants those chasing the title to face jeopardy week in, week out in league rugby.

South Wales Argus:

"My job is to make sure the bottom half of the table is as strong as the top half, I want the 14 to be strong," said Anayi, speaking at a press conference in the capital to launch this season's final being at Cardiff City Stadium.

"When you don't have promotion and relegation the bottom half really needs to be pushing the top half of the table.

"We are getting to 1 to 8 being really, really strong and we need 9 to 14 to be able to beat 1 to 8 on any given day."

The Dragons have had another change at the top with Dean Ryan coming in as director of rugby, and also taking a spot on the Rodney Parade board to try and drive change.

The PRO14 have tried to help those that are used to being at the wrong end of the table but Anayi believes there is reason for optimism in east Wales.

South Wales Argus:

"We've used high-performance consultants, we're involved on and off the field with our teams that were placed 14th to eighth to try and work on what they can do better to market themselves and promote themselves," he said.

"In Italy we brought in a high-performance consultant to work with the FIR (the Italian Union) and Conor O'Shea to understand where they were going and to help them strategically.

"The Dragons have a great chairman (David Buttress), they brought in a very, very capable director of rugby (Ryan) and have a new managing director (Mark Jones) who has been there for a number of years.

"I go back to Newport as it was and it was a very strong club, Gwent is very strong and they have done a great job to spread throughout the region.

"They are doing a lot things right and have a good young squad, so my view is that if they persevere with the strategic plan that they are on then they will get some success."

General sale tickets for the PRO14 Final at Cardiff City Stadium go on sale on Thursday, see

for more details.