THE Dragons could still have a shot at glory in the Challenge Cup this autumn if European bosses get their way.

The Rodney Parade region had been meant to face Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate in the quarter-finals of the second tier tournament.

However, the knockout stages of the Champions and Challenge Cup were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That was followed at the end of April by France cancelling their Top 14 season.

European bosses still intend completing their 2019/20 tournaments despite the challenges that face the game, with squads yet to return to training, contracts expiring and summer transfer moves set to take place.

European Professional Club Rugby are hopeful of mid-October finals, which would still take place in Marseille.

The director general of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) Vincent Gaillard told AFP: "This schedule has been co-ordinated with the three professional leagues in Europe but remains subject to external factors, be that health, medical or logistical."

"The month of October remains a window traditionally kept for clubs and European Cups and we envisage making the most of it," he added.

It is expected that if the green light is given for a return to action then the autumn will be filled with Test rugby in a bid to lessen the financial impact of the pandemic.

Wales, whose summer tour to New Zealand is set to be postponed, have their Six Nations finale with Scotland and four planned Cardiff fixtures against the All Blacks, Fiji, Argentina and South Africa.

"Everyone knows compromises will have to be made. It's very clear. Our opinion is not to say 'we will play in October as if it was business as usual'. We have to consider all parties, not just the unions, and find a solution together," said Gaillard.

"If this solution leads us to finding an alternative which would be not playing in October but another moment, then so be it," he added.

The Dragons qualified for the last eight by finishing as runners-up behind Castres in a tight group with the Frenchmen, Worcester and whipping boys Enisei-STM.

They have a perfect record in the quarter-finals after beating Brive in 2007 and Cardiff Blues in 2015 in Newport then stunning Gloucester at Kingsholm in 2016.

South Wales Argus:

Dean Ryan’s men will have a slightly different squad in the autumn – Wales internationals Cory Hill and Tyler Morgan are their most high-profile departures while Nick Tompkins, Jonah Holmes, Joe Tomane and tight five additions are on the shopping list – but Bristol have made huge signings.

The Bears have brought in Fijian superstar Semi Radradra, Lions prop Kyle Sinckler and Saracens duo Ben Earl and Max Malins.

The Champions Cup quarter-finals see Exeter host Northampton, Clermont Auvergne entertaining Racing 92, Leinster welcome Saracens to Dublin and Ulster head to Toulouse.

The other Challenge Cup ties put the Scarlets up against Toulon in France, Castres travel to Leicester and Edinburgh head to Bordeaux-Begles.

If the Dragons upset the odds in Bristol then they would travel to the winners of Bordeaux-Edinburgh.

There could be changes to the 2020/21 European tournament to fit into a changed schedule.