DRAGONS captain Harri Keddie knows that they cannot afford to give winless Zebre Parma a sniff if they are to avoid coming a cropper in Italy on Saturday.

The United Rugby Championship’s bottom two clash at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (kick-off 3.05pm) with the hosts hunting their first win of a horror campaign after suffering an agonising late 29-26 loss at Edinburgh last week.

The Dragons haven’t fared much better with just two successes, excellent bonus-point triumphs at Connacht and the Scarlets, and a draw from 14 fixtures.

Dean Ryan’s men will head to Italy attempting to avoid becoming Zebre’s first scalp and know that a victory would give them a shot at overtaking struggling Cardiff and Benetton in the table.

Back row forward Keddie made his professional debut in Parma six years ago when Zebre won 47-22, a warning for the Dragons.

South Wales Argus: Harri Keddie powering over for a score at Zebre in 2019Harri Keddie powering over for a score at Zebre in 2019

“We have to be a lot more accurate and can’t go into our shells,” said Keddie, a leading light in a tough campaign.

“We have to build into the game well and be really clinical because it’s a tough place to go if you let the scoreboard get away from you and let them get into the ascendancy.

“We have four games left and want to finish strongly. Parts of our performance have been better recently but we have only put one 80-minute performance all year and that was in Connacht.”

The Dragons had a golden chance to record a derby double against the Scarlets last weekend when they led 19-17 in the final quarter.

However, they shipped three tries after letting the west Walians put the power on through their driving lineout, an area of the game sure to have been pinpointed by Zebre.

“We felt it was a really good chance to kick on and win. From there on in our error count was too high, we couldn’t get the ball down into their territory and put the defensive pressure on them,” said Keddie.

“Instead, it was the other way around, we struggled to exit and gave them easy ball in the 22. The more chances you give a team, the more points they will score.

“There were large parts of the game where we were in control but for the most important part, that last quarter, we lost the ascendancy and to be fair the Scarlets took their chances well.

“It’s frustrating, we spoke about backing it up and knew that they were going to come back hard. They outgunned us in the last 20.

“It’s finding that balance of when to go multi-phase and be more adventurous with the ball and when to take your medicine and get the ball down the other end.”