9:01am Tuesday 14th January 2014
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons' European adventure should end on a winning note on Thursday evening but they expect to be nursing plenty of bruises on the flight back from Italy, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Rodney Parade region head to Mogliano for a dead rubber in the Amlin Challenge Cup (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Italian minnows have lost all five games in Pool Two and have shipped 264 points and 41 tries, an average of 53 and eight per game respectively.
They were drubbed 50-8 at Rodney Parade in October despite the hosts producing a pretty tepid performance.
Last season the Italian minnows suffered an Amlin whitewash and were downed 33-0 by the Dragons at the Stadio Maurizio Quaggia despite poor conditions and a red card for flanker Jevon Groves after just first half.
Despite three victories over the past two seasons and an aggregate score of 136-11, the region don't expect it to be a cakewalk.
"After playing there in the snow last year we know that they are a tough, physical team," said centre Ashley Smith, who was an unused replacement in that success in northern Italy.
"All teams target their home games and Mogliano will be no different, it will be tough up front and we will need to match that."
The Dragons head into the game on the back of a hugely disappointing display against Pool Two winners Bath.
The English outfit had a bonus point in the back after just 31 minutes before clocking off and settling for a 30-13 success.
"The first half just wasn't like us," said Smith. "We let them get over the gain line from first phase and were then on the back foot, defending quick ball. Bath were clinical and took their chances but it wasn't good enough from us.
"We don't really want to just forget about the first half because there are things that we need to work on, but in the same sentence we want to move on.
"We haven't turned into a poor team overnight but have to fix those things that cost us."
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