THE Dragons could face an Anglo-Welsh clash against Newcastle plus a Welsh derby with the Ospreys in the European Challenge Cup next season.

The draw has been made for the second tier tournament but clubs are yet to discover who they will face and locations due to the complicated format.

The Dragons have been drawn against the French duo of Montpellier and Pau, the Falcons, Ospreys plus the Lions from South Africa.

Ideally, Dai Flanagan’s men would like to avoid the long trip to Johannesburg to face their United Rugby Championship rivals.

There are three groups of six teams with each club playing four games in the pool stages, two home and two away.

The Dragons must wait to find out which of the quintet they will not face, plus who they will entertain at Rodney Parade and where they will travel.

The top four of each group qualify for the last 16 and Flanagan's men will aim to avoid a repeat of last season when they missed a golden chance to progress to the knockout stages.

The final takes place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Friday, May 23, the night before the Champions Cup at the same venue.

FAMILIAR FOES: Dragons winger Rio Dyer on the run against Pau in 2022FAMILIAR FOES: Dragons winger Rio Dyer on the run against Pau in 2022 (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The Dragons are likely to take on Pau for the third season on the bounce.

They suffered a 27-21 defeat at Rodney Parade in December 2022 but, while it was still a home and away format, got swift revenge at the Stade du Hameau with a 21-15 triumph.

Last season Flanagan's men were on the verge of a notable win but conceded a last-gasp try to lose 24-21.

If they face Pau then it will be a reunion for new signing Steve Cummins after the lock's move from the Top 14 club.

The Dragons will take on Montpellier - who edged out Sam Davies' Grenoble in a relegation/promotion play-off - for the second time.

Kingsley Jones’ side lost 22-12 in France in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup in April, 2016.

The Dragons were doubled by Newcastle in the 2017/18 tournament, losing 32-27 at Kingston Park and 27-25 in Newport.

Arguably one of their greatest performances came in the north east of England when they enjoyed a stunning six-try 40-29 victory in January 2015, with Hallam Amos and Tyler Morgan running amok.

The Lions are now familiar foes and will travel to Rodney Parade in the first block of the URC.

There were a pair of thrillers between the sides in the 2022/23 tournament with the Dragons drawing at Ellis Park and then falling short with a stirring comeback in a game shifted to Ystrad Mynach.

That was a costly defeat that led to them heading to Glasgow in the knockout stages and getting hammered 73-33 rather than having home advantage.


Pool One: Cardiff, Connacht, Cheetahs, Perpignan, Lyon, Zebre.

Pool Two: Montpellier, Pau, Newcastle, Dragons, Lions, Ospreys.

Pool Three: Vannes, Black Lion, Bayonne, Scarlets, Edinburgh, Gloucester.

European weekends 2024/25

Round 1 – 6/7/8 December.

Round 2 – 13/14/15 December.

Round 3 – 10/11/12 January 2025.

Round 4 – 17/18/19 January 2025.

Round of 16 – 4/5/6 April 2025.

Quarter-finals – 11/12/13 April 2025.

Semi-finals – 2/3/4 May 2025.

Challenge Cup final – Friday, May 23 at Principality Stadium.

Champions Cup final - Saturday, May 24 at Principality Stadium.