IT would be understandable if the Dragons were longing for the Challenge Cup given their long list of absentees but captain Rhodri Williams insists their enthusiasm for Europe's top tier is undiminished.

Dean Ryan is without a raft of senior players for Saturday's Champions Cup clash at Bordeaux-Begles because of injuries and four coronavirus positives that have led others to isolate.

The Dragons showed plenty of fighting spirit in a 24-8 defeat to Wasps last weekend after being forced into late changes following first pair of Covid test results.

They will need more of the same against a Bordeaux side that will fancy their chances of qualification for the knockout stages thanks to a win at Northampton.

The French side were leading the 2019/20 Top14 when it was cancelled because of the pandemic and boast a formidable, and deep, squad.

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"This is why we are so excited about being back in the Champions Cup, we are challenging ourselves against the best in Europe," said scrum-half Williams.

"Wasps were second in the English Premiership last year so we will learn from that experience and now Bordeaux, who were top of the Top14 last year and are one of the best teams in France, will be a massive challenge.

"We are all really excited for it, it will be an unbelievable experience. No-one will give us a chance, so we need to go out there, enjoy it and see what we can do."

It's been business as usual for the Dragons so far this week despite the pair of positive coronavirus tests.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan and his squad have got used to minimising time at their Ystrad Mynach training base since returning from lockdown in the summer.

The decision was made to have a light start to the week while waiting for test results.

With plenty of supplementary learning done off-site, Williams says there can be no complaints about lack of preparation.

"We've been really good and we have learnt from it all the way back to April," he said. "We have dealt with things on Zoom and stuck together as a squad in a very different environment.

"We are just fortunate enough to be able to play the game despite the odd disruption that we just have to deal with."

If the Dragons are to stand any chance of causing an upset, or even make a game of it, then they will need to be more cutthroat than their were against Wasps.

Ryan felt his side missed a chance to stun the English side after trailing just 12-8 after 70 minutes, a sentiment shared by the captain.

"We were in the game for 65, 70 minutes and had an opportunity down in their 22 but didn't take it," said Williams.

"In Champions Cup those chances you have to take as they are few and far between, if you miss chances like that then the game will go away from you."