THE Dragons are down to the bare bones in the front row for their “biggest challenge” of the Champions Cup but boss Dean Ryan is backing Aaron Jarvis to respond to a scrum nightmare.

The Rodney Parade region travel to France today for Saturday night's clash with Bordeaux-Begles, who were leading the Top14 when it was cancelled last season.

Their hosts possess a formidable pack that will try to put the squeeze on the Dragons – who are down to the bare bones at tighthead.

Lloyd Fairbrother and Leon Brown were pulled out of the matchday squad to face Wasps last weekend after a pair of unnamed players tested positive for coronavirus.

UPDATE: Fairbrother cleared for Champions Cup clash

Chris Coleman, 22, was also unavailable, leaving Jarvis to be backed up by 20-year-old Luke Yendle against last season’s English Premiership runners-up.

The former Wales prop got on the wrong side of referee Romain Poite from the off and was yellow-carded in the second half of the 24-8 defeat, with Yendle coming on in the 70th minute for a professional debut.

Jarvis headed into the game on the back of impressive showings against Benetton and Glasgow.

Ryan is confident the 34-year-old, a Top 14 winner with Clermont Auvergne, will respond with a better showing in France after a very late call-up against Wasps.

South Wales Argus:

“The director of rugby said: “I think he would have preferred not to have done his fitness session on Friday before he found out about Saturday!

“Lewis Evans was the same, they covered five or six kilometres in the fitness session before they got the call on Saturday.

“It was tough but Jarvis played 80 minutes the week before and it has been great for us to be able to call on that experience.

“But we can’t expect tighthead props to do 80 minutes, not when you’re playing in the Champions Cup. That is just not realistic.

“We also can’t expect 19-year-olds [sic] to be under that pressure and it is just a very difficult time for everybody at the moment.”