DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan has denied the pressure is off in Sunday’s daunting date Leinster after fielding all five of his Wales World Cup stars in the XV.

The Rodney Parade club have lost their first three fixtures of the United Rugby Championship and now welcome the Irish heavyweights to Newport (kick-off 1.15pm).

Leinster have won the last 12 meetings and are overwhelming favourites but Flanagan has rebuffed the idea that it’s a free hit for his side, pointing to the talent they are set to field.

The five-strong World Cup contingent of wing Rio Dyer, hooker Elliot Dee and back row forwards Dan Lydiate, Taine Basham and Aaron Wainwright.

Full-back Cai Evans and tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother also start after missing last weekend’s 45-14 loss at Munster while playing for Wales against the Barbarians.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Dragons winger Rio Dyer starts against LeinsterBACK: Dragons winger Rio Dyer starts against Leinster (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“There is an expectation on us - we are at home and have already lost two home games,” said head coach Flanagan. “We can't just accept that Leinster are coming to town and we are underdogs.

“We have announced a fricking good team and it's not acceptable to say 'Leinster are good, we've got nothing to lose'.

“It's about time that we turned the corner and said 'we are a pretty good team'. We've got to start believing that and start performing.”

The Dragons were without 21 players in Cork – seven on Wales duty, 13 injured plus Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou after World Cup exertions – but are healthier this weekend.

The internationals return and there are starts for centre Aneurin Owen, wing Jared Rosser and lock Matthew Screech.

They are without lock Ben Carter after he suffered a knock playing for Wales against the Barbarians while hooker Bradley Roberts is not risked after a thumb injury.

The Dragons threw away a healthy lead against Edinburgh at Rodney Parade on opening weekend and then produced a flat performance in the derby defeat to Cardiff.

South Wales Argus: Cardiff beat the Dragons at Rodney ParadeCardiff beat the Dragons at Rodney Parade (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“We do feel disappointed that we have let people down because it was such a good pre-season with a real buzz,” said Flanagan, whose side beat the Ospreys and Scarlets ahead of the URC.

“We couldn’t win the games that we needed to and I just hope people stick with us, support us and come out in their droves to back us.

“In the first two games we didn’t do much wrong, we just didn’t do much right. We were neutral and that cost us because we didn’t execute with the chances that we had.”

The Dragons will need to be on top form against a Leinster side that have responded to an opening weekend loss in Glasgow with home wins against the Sharks and Edinburgh.

Flanagan’s men did stun Munster in his first game in charge last October but the men from the RDS are formidable opponents.

Dan Sheehan, Jimmy O'Brien, Ross Byrne, Joe McCarthy and Ryan Baird feature after their exploits for World Cup quarter-finalists Ireland.

“It doesn’t matter if they have got their first, second or third XV on the field, Leinster have a well-rounded game,” said Flanagan.

“They can play in the rain or dry, they can drive, kick or be expansive so we need to be on the money and win all the 50/50s and our personal battles.

“We need a collective performance to be in with a shout and there’s no reason why we can't be. We have quality players that need to unite and go after them.”

Dragons: C Evans; Dyer, S Hughes (captain), Owen, J Rosser; Reed, R Williams; R Jones, Dee, Fairbrother, Screech, Nott, Lydiate, Basham, Wainwright.

Replacements: Benjamin, Seiuli, Yendle, Lonsdale, Woodman, Blacker, Dixon, E Rosser.

Leinster: Frawley; T O'Brien, Osborne, Ngatai, J O'Brien; R Byrne, B Murphy; Boyle, D Sheehan (captain), Clarkson, J McCarthy, Jenkins, Baird, Connors, Culhane.
Replacements: Barron, P McCarthy, Ala'alatoa, Deegan, Penny, Foley, H Byrne, Russell.

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy).