THE Dragons are without the strike running of Jonah Holmes and Jordan Williams but fit-again Josh Lewis can help them put the boot into Benetton tomorrow (kick-off 4pm), writes Chris Kirwan.

The region travel to Treviso for a first clash in the Guinness PRO14 since being beaten by Munster in Newport at the start of the month.

The Dragons have returned after an enforced absence of four weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak but are still without Holmes, who is on Test duty, and Williams, who is suffering from muscle tightness after returning from ruptured knee ligaments.

That led to Lewis, who has also returned this season from a serious knee injury, slotting in at 15 versus Munster.

A fly-half by trade, the 28-year-old from Aberdare put in a strong performance.

South Wales Argus:

“Josh certainly expands our kicking game and he has got really dangerous threat when he is in a counter-attack mode,” said director of rugby Dean Ryan.

“He’s just got to keep working hard at the positional requirements after moving from fly-half. He is a real option for us.

“Benetton have got very dangerous wingers, it’s an area where they can be put under pressure but if you get it wrong then they can really hurt you. Having an expanded kicking game certainly adds to our strength.”

Lewis and half-backs Rhodri Williams and Sam Davies will be key if the Dragons are to avoid the same fate in Italy as they have versus the Irish.

Ryan’s men beat Zebre in Newport in round two but have suffered three convincing losses to the provinces of Leinster, Ulster and Munster.

In Dublin and Belfast the Dragons were overwhelmed, so the familiar saying of ‘playing in the right areas’ will be vital in Treviso.

“This is a game where we want to exert some pressure rather than being under it, which we have been for large parts of the other games,” said Ryan.

South Wales Argus:

“We have seen playing the Irish sides when we have gone down (on the scoreboard) very quickly that it’s difficult to stay in a contest.

“We’ve got to be more competitive at half-time. We learnt in Ireland that it is very difficult to get anything back, irrespective of how we played in the second half.”

It will become clear just after 4pm whether the Dragons are refreshed or rusty after inactivity, which included 14 days of quarantine at home.

“We are showing a lot of enthusiasm during the week and if we can generate that into the game then I believe enthusiasm will override anything else,” said Ryan.

“There is a danger that we return and are hesitant, then suddenly we are behind in the race again.

“I’m hoping that enthusiasm can give us some momentum into not only this week but next week and going forward.

“It’s not just about this week, it’s about Glasgow the week after, Wasps, Bordeaux, Cardiff, Ospreys and Scarlets, so you look at it and go ‘we need to get moving’.”

The Dragons name their team at midday.