THE Dragons' mouth-watering European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bristol has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The region had been scheduled to travel to Ashton Gate for a last-eight encounter with the Bears on Sunday, April 5.

However, European Professional Club Rugby bosses held a conference call yesterday afternoon in which all knockout clashes in the Champions and Challenge Cups were postponed.

Fixtures in the elite tournament are set to be played in Clermont-Ferrand, Exeter, Dublin and Toulouse while the second-tier tournament features games in Toulon, Bordeaux, Leicester and Bristol.

South Wales Argus:

"The Board of European Professional Club Rugby has decided that this season's Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-final matches will not now be played on the scheduled dates of April 3, 4 and 5," read a statement.

"Amid growing public health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken during a conference call today to postpone the eight matches on the weekend in question and to suspend the European club rugby season.

"While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport's governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

South Wales Argus:

The Dragons earned a place in the quarter-finals as one of three best-runners-up after edging out Worcester to finish behind Pool A winners Castres.

They will eventually head to the West Country with a 100 per cent record in last eight meetings after beating Brive in 2007, Cardiff Blues in 2015 and Gloucester in 2016.

Coronavirus has led to the Dragons limiting access to their Ystrad Mynach training ground and cancelling player appearances.

Dean Ryan's squad are still being put through their paces at Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence despite the suspension of the Guinness PRO14 season, although that may change now that the Euro fixture has also been moved back.

The Dragons had meant to be travelling to Belfast to face Ulster this weekend before facing the Scarlets in Llanelli.

The training base was given a deep clean and the squad were tested on arrival in Ystrad Mynach on Monday morning.

"Dragons have introduced a series of measures in response to ongoing developments in the spread of the COVID-19 virus," read a club statement.

"In partnership with Caerphilly County Borough Council, the region will now be limiting access to its training ground facilities at Ystrad Mynach to the general public

"Supporters as well as parents and relatives of our academy and age-grade players are also being asked to adhere to the restricted access to facilities.

"Whilst we acknowledge that this will be disappointing for some, we stress that this a temporary measure to care for the health of the playing squad, staff and our supporters.

"The region also regrets to announce that all planned community and commercial appearances by players and staff have been cancelled or postponed.

"Dragons would like to thank supporters and partners for their understanding as it takes all necessary precautions."