FORGET Liverpool or Celtic’s wait for the title, Leeds and West Brom being frustrated in their bid for the Premier League or Barrow’s worries about the possibility of a 49th year outside of the Football League, the Dragons look set to be denied the rare chance to look down on one of their Welsh rivals.

The 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season could have the biggest of asterisks next to it courtesy of coronavirus.

The campaign has been postponed indefinitely and it will be a real challenge for the cross-border league, comprising of teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa, to play to a proper conclusion.

The Rodney Parade region’s fixtures at Ulster and the Scarlets have already been postponed along with a quarter-final against Bristol, although Euro chiefs stress that they fully intend to complete the Champions and Challenge Cups.

This PRO14 campaign won’t quite feel right no matter how it is concluded, and that just as the Dragons were set to avoid being Wales’ worst for the first time in five years.

South Wales Argus:

The region sit fifth in Conference A, nine points above the Ospreys. It’s probably a big enough lead but the men from the Liberty Stadium have a game in hand and are meant to have a Judgement Day crack at Dean Ryan’s side.

That means it was probable but not certain that the Ospreys would bring up the rear.

Naturally, with anxiety about lives and livelihoods, there are bigger concerns out there but Dragons supporters are left cursing sod’s law.

There have been many seasons when they would have loved to have seen P next to fixtures on their schedule rather than a string of Ls.

Leinster away in Dublin or Munster in Cork? We’ll take a 0-0 and two points, please.

Not this season, the understandable halt comes just when the fans were starting to get used to that strange feeling of encouragement.

Let’s not go overboard, new boss Dean Ryan would not have been in the running for coach of the year.

The director of rugby has done some fine work but it has still only been a solid season featuring a handful of exhilarating highs rather than a spectacular one comprising of a glut of wins.

Ryan – seemingly unexcitable, usually stony-faced – has kept feet on the ground since heading for Rodney Parade.

He was helped on that front by the home losses to Zebre and Benetton that showed that there has been no overnight miracle after the travails of recent years.

Ryan doesn’t measure progress by win ratios but the rest of us can.

The Dragons have a record of played 13, won 5 in the league and in the Challenge Cup they were victorious in four of six.

Before the Benetton hammering they had won five on the spin in Newport and they did that by showing resilience, although the counter-argument is that it wouldn’t have taken much for Worcester, the Scarlets, Ospreys or Cheetahs (but not Enisei-STM) to leave with the spoils.

The Dragons had a good shot at recording their best win tally since Lyn Jones led them to eight successes in 2015.

It has been an invaluable season for the new head honcho and one that introduced him to the promise of his squad but also their limitations, plus also showed him the familiar problems that are faced by coaches at Rodney Parade.

Ryan has also been faced by frustration with a schedule that had a five-week gap between facing Enisei and Glasgow and angst courtesy of the drawn-out process of trying to retain Wales internationals Ross Moriarty and Cory Hill.

Now the boss has to deal with the coronavirus and he can justifiably use that sporting cliché about focusing on controlling the controllables.

The Dragons aren’t training properly and are losing learning hours, whether out on their Ystrad Mynach training pitch or in the classroom.

There will be precious little chance to harvest more information about players whose future is up in the air - deal or no deal for next season?

South Wales Argus:

One of the buzzwords of Ryan's season has been 'opportunity', with Owen Jenkins, Taine Basham, Ellis Shipp and Will Talbot-Davies among those to take them at various points. There will be no more opportunities.

Another has been 'experiences' but it looks like at least nine fixtures to learn from will be binned.

Then there are the off-field worries for the organisation with coronavirus sure to hit them in the pocket. The Dragons need every penny.

This season is set to come to an unsatisfying end and the Dragons, like all their rivals, are faced by wasted months.

Given the size of the task that faced Ryan when he arrived at Rodney Parade, that is undeniably a blow in his bid to turn the fortunes of a failing region around.

The director of rugby will be focused on the long-term but the current crisis denies the Dragons the chance to look back with pride on what was shaping up to be a job well done by all concerned in Year One.

That is a shame after a campaign that has provided some much-needed highs.