Dragons out to make it third time lucky against high-flying Montpellier


Dragons will look to put off-field distractions to one side and make it third time lucky in the European Challenge Cup semi-finals against Montpellier on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Welsh region Dragons ended weeks of speculation by confirming director of rugby Lyn Jones had left his position by mutual consent due to illness, leaving namesake Kingsley to hold fort until the end of the season.

It has been a difficult domestic campaign for Dragons and a 28-8 loss to Cardiff Blues in last weekend's derby made it eight Pro12 defeats on the spin.

But it is a different story in Europe and a surprise quarter-final victory over Gloucester earned a third Challenge Cup semi-final, their past two efforts ending in heavy defeats to Clermont Auvergne and Edinburgh in 2007 and 2015 respectively.

"I can't wait," Dragons hooker Elliot Dee said. "It's a massive game for us. We got to the semi-final last year and we want to go one further again.

"I think we play exciting stuff in Europe and it was a massive buzz after the Gloucester game and that's what you play rugby for, you can't beat days like that."

Dragons, who have powerhouse forward Taulupe Faletau available despite an eye injury sustained in the Cardiff defeat, are aiming for a first trophy since becoming a region in 2003.

But in Montpellier they face one of Top 14's form sides and the French club have history in their favour at the Altrad Stadium.

Of the 44 semi-final matches played in the Challenge Cup (ties were played over two legs between 2003 and 2005) there have been just nine away victories.

Montpellier - who are contesting their first Challenge Cup semi-final - have been brilliant domestically and are second only to Clermont after 21 matches.

However, South African forward Pierre Spies insists Jake White's men cannot take Dragons lightly.

"They made the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup so this is a team not to be taken lightly," he told Montpellier's official website. 

"They have very good players and are coming to Montpellier with the desire to reach a final so we have to be better than them."