NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are hoping to help stay on the right side of the law with some help from a Welsh whistler.

The Rodney Parade region's management invited a guest to join them in the grandstand at Clifton RFC in Sunday's 34-19 success against Bristol.

Cardiff referee Neil Hennessy, a former Wales Under-21s prop who played with Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones at Doncaster in 2003, was on hand to offer advice.

He helped in the build-up and will dissect the footage of the friendly in a move that helps both the Dragons and the official prepare for the start of the Guinness Pro12.

"Neil worked with us in the week ahead of Bristol and we asked him to come along to the game," said Jones, whose side finished bottom of the Pro12 fair play league last season after receiving 20 yellow cards and one red.

"It's something that we are keen to do, with other referees as well as Neil because the law is the law but refs have certain interpretations.

"Neil is excellent with the law and is going to do a bit of a review into what we were bad at and whether we are consistently doing things wrong.

"As coaches it's important to learn how a referee is seeing things. We've done it in the past and will continue to do so and it was great that Neil was able to give up his time to go with us to Bristol."

The Dragons started their countdown to Connacht with a win thanks to tries by fly-half Jason Tovey, locks Rynard Landman and Cory Hill and prop Owen Evans.

They gave game time to 35 members of their squad and Jones hailed it as a successful workout.

"The scoreboard was positive and, more importantly, the game was far better than a training session," he said.

"As you'd expect in a first pre-season game there were errors from both teams but the boys have had a hit-out together and most of our squad got on the field.

"The game has shown that there is a lot to work on and that's great. When you are coaching a team to defend a certain way and attack a certain way, they know what to expect when coming up against each other in training.

"It was a really good exercise for us and the biggest positive is that nobody had a bump."

A Dragons development XV will take on Lydney on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) before the final warm-up against Aviva Premiership champions Northampton at Ebbw Vale's Eugene Cross Park on Friday, August 29 (kick-off 7.30pm).

They start their Guinness Pro12 campaign in Galway on Saturday, September 6 (kick-off 5pm).