THE Dragons are exploring the possibility of following Newport County AFC to Cardiff with a move to Principality Stadium for their Guinness PRO14 run-in.

The region, who are owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, have been in talks about making the short-term switch to take the strain off the problematic Rodney Parade pitch.

It could happen as soon as this weekend when they entertain Ulster on Saturday evening.

Newport County AFC played the first of two games at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night when they beat Bradford City in League Two.

The Exiles were given permission by the English Football League to make the temporary move to give some respite to the Parade pitch.

The hybrid surface, which was installed in 2017, is a season beyond its lifespan after the coronavirus pandemic led to plans to lay a new field being pushed back from last summer to this year.

County have headed to the capital to give it a breather and the Dragons could follow, but to Principality Stadium.

The ground will not host any more games in the Six Nations with Wales, who played Ireland and England in Cardiff, finishing on the road to Italy and Rome.

South Wales Argus: RETURN? The Dragons could play at Principality Stadium, where they beat the Scarlets in 2019RETURN? The Dragons could play at Principality Stadium, where they beat the Scarlets in 2019

That presents an opportunity for the Dragons to head to Cardiff for their games against Ulster, Edinburgh and Glasgow over the next three weekends.

Talks are ongoing and the clock is ticking to get the go-ahead for Saturday night’s clash with the Irish province, although it is already Covid-secure, set up for live television coverage and fans don't have to be considered due to games being behind closed doors.

The Dragons would return to Rodney Parade for their home knockout clash with Northampton in the European Challenge Cup on the weekend of April 2, plus potentially a home quarter-final against Harlequins or Ulster the following weekend.

Director of rugby Ryan has mirrored Exiles manager Michael Flynn in talking about the challenges of playing at Rodney Parade.

“We have to be masters of our own pitch,” said Ryan after the loss to Connacht. “We were caught from training in Ystrad Mynach on a 4G pitch for four weeks, thinking that we could put that game on the field.”

The Dragons last played at Principality Stadium at Judgement Day in 2019 when they stunned the Scarlets.

South Wales Argus: TESTING: Newport County and the Dragons have struggled on the Rodney Parade pitchTESTING: Newport County and the Dragons have struggled on the Rodney Parade pitch

Moving some or all of their PRO14 games would present the opportunity to do some maintenance work on the Parade pitch as the Exiles could next play in the city in April.

County host Leyton Orient in Cardiff on Saturday, March 20 and are scheduled to entertain Scunthorpe United in Newport the following weekend but that fixture could be moved because of international call-ups.

The Exiles are already set to be without Malta winger Luke Gambin and could have midfielder Josh Sheehan and goalkeeper Tom King called up by Wales, plus Lewis Collins might be on Wales Under-21 duty.