THE Dragons will return to European rugby’s top tier with a clash against Wasps at Rodney Parade in December.

The region have qualified for this season’s Champions Cup, which has been increased to 24 teams because of the coronavirus pandemic, and will take on the English Premiership runners-up and Bordeaux-Begles.

Games are likely to be played behind closed doors.

Dean Ryan’s men kick off and finish the group stages against Wasps, enjoying home advantage on Saturday, December 12 (kick-off 5.30pm).

They travel to Bordeaux for a fixture at the Stade Chaban-Delmas on Saturday, December 19 (kick-off 8pm) before entertaining the Frenchmen in Newport on Sunday, January 17 (kick-off 3.15pm).

Ryan, a title winner with Wasps when they were based in London, takes his team to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena for the finale on Saturday, January 23 (kick-off 8pm).

The three fixtures on British soil will be shown live on BT Sport while coverage of the encounter in Bordeaux is yet to be confirmed, although it will be shown in France on beIN Sports.

The draw raises the possibility of the Dragons playing Wales lock Will Rowlands, a transfer target who has been linked with a move to Newport next summer.

South Wales Argus: TALENT: Thomas YoungTALENT: Thomas Young

Their squad also includes Wales flanker Thomas Young, All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa and Lima Sopoaga, England lock Joe Launchbury and highly-rated back rower Jack Willis.

Bordeaux were leading the Top 14 before the 2019/20 campaign was cancelled because of coronavirus.

They have provided flanker Cameron Woki and fly-half Matthieu Jalibert to the France squad for the autumn internationals and boast huge Tongan prop Ben Tameifuna, Australia forwards Kane Douglas and Scott Higginbotham and Argentina speedster Santiago Cordero on their books.

The Dragons faced Wasps last time they played in the top tier, when they were whitewashed by the then Wycombe-based side, Glasgow and Toulouse. The region were also doubled by the Englishmen in the 2012/13 Challenge Cup.

The Dragons went up against Bordeaux-Begles in the 2018/19 second tier tournament, losing 36-28 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas before an excellent 33-17 bonus-point win at Rodney Parade.


Round 1: Saturday, December 12 – Dragons vs Wasps (kick-off 5.30pm)

Round 2: Saturday, December 19 – Bordeaux Begles vs Dragons (kick-off 8pm)

Round 3: Sunday, January 17 – Dragons vs Bordeaux Begles (kick-off 3.15pm)

Round 4: Saturday, January 23 – Wasps vs Dragons (kick-off 8pm)

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