A STRONG second-half display saw the Dragons avoid a potential banana skin in Krasnodar and secure back-to-back wins in this season’s European Challenge Cup.

The sides were level at half-time, but Dean Ryan’s visitors turned up the heat after the break, finishing with a bonus point and seven tries in total.

Today's success backed up last weekend’s 31-17 victory over Castres, and now the Dragons can look forward to a European double-header against Ryan’s former club Worcester in December.

Prop Lloyd Fairbrother, hooker Ellis Shipp, fly-half Arwel Robson, scrum-half Tavis Knoyle and back-rower Ben Fry made their first starts of the season at the Kuban Stadium.

A new-look half-back pairing saw Knoyle and Robson combine, while the other change in the back line was a recall for full-back Jordan Williams. Will Talbot-Davies moved to the wing.

Fairbrother and Shipp packed down alongside Aaron Jarvis up front and lock Matthew Screech returned to the engine room alongside Max Williams.

Fry, a second-half replacement in the victory over Castres at Rodney Parade, started in the six jersey.

Taine Basham, fresh from his call-up by Wales for the Barbarians game next Saturday, switched to number eight.

It was the recalled Jordan Williams who got the first try of the Pool One tie, although it came somewhat against the run of play and totally out of nothing.

Enisei had been on the front foot in the opening stages when Williams gathered a grubber kick no more than 10 metres from his own try line.

He found a hole in the Russians’ defence to sprint virtually the length of the pitch to go under the posts.

Enisei, and Williams, appeared to hesitate as the full-back went clear, but there was nothing wrong with the score. Robson added the extras.

However, the Dragons’ joy was short-lived as the home side hit back almost immediately.

They switched play from right to left before South African winger Bjorn Basson cut back inside to cross. Ramil Gaisin converted.

The hosts were playing with their tails up and one try became two on 25 minutes.

Under the cosh, the visitors switched off momentarily as South African number eight Jeremy Jordaan took a penalty quickly and steamrollered his way over.

His surge from close range was just too much for Fry, Robson and Max Williams to handle. Gaisin converted again.

Ryan was then forced into a change in the backs when try scorer Williams hobbled off with an ankle injury. Jacob Botica came on. Memories of Enisei’s 2016 victory over the Welsh region came flooding back as they looked on course to take a 14-7 lead into the interval, but there was a late reply from Ryan’s charges.

Enjoying their best spell of possession in Russian territory, the Dragons restored parity thanks to Robson’s dart from a few metres out. He converted to make it 14-14.

The try had come with Enisei down to 14 men following a yellow card for home hooker Stanislav Selskii.

And the Dragons started the second half as they had finished the first.

A free-flowing move with centre Tom Griffiths to the fore ended with Fry taking Jarvis’ deft pass to score. Robson converted.

Again, Enisei hit back straight away, Gaisin slotting an easy penalty to reduce the arrears to four.

However, the Dragons went back up the other end thanks to a superb run by Robson and Talbot-Davies took the final offload to canter over, securing the bonus point in the process.

Robson made it four from four with the boot courtesy of an excellent touchline conversion.

It became a lot more comfortable for the Dragons after that with Shipp snatching a loose lineout ball to scamper over in the corner, before Dafydd Howells showed his speed on the right following an abrasive run from Basham.

Enisei’s Davit Meskhi took advantage of Huw Taylor’s yellow card to grab a consolation try, before Tyler Morgan picked up a sloppy Enisei pass to get the visitors’ seventh try.

On top of the first-half injury to Williams, replacement Botica ended the match receiving treatment having come off worst in a nasty clash of heads.

Enisei-STM: N Churashov, D Meskhi, H Marais, D Gerasimov, B Basson, R Gaisin, A Shcherban, N Khatiashvili, S Selskii, I Zykov, U Saulite (capt), L Eksteen, M Gachechiladze, A Temnov, J Jordaan. Reps: S Magomedov, E Westhuizen, A Musin, J Brown, A Budychenko, K Uzunov, E Douwrie, M Gargalic.

Dragons: J Williams; D Howells, T Morgan, T Griffiths, W Talbot-Davies; A Robson, T Knoyle; A Jarvis, E Shipp, L Fairbrother, M Screech, M Williams, B Fry, J Benjamin (capt), T Basham. Reps: R Lawrence, J Reynolds, C Coleman, J Davies, H Taylor, L Baldwin, J Botica, C Edwards.

Referee: Sam Grove-White.