THE Dragons were downed 40-15 by French big guns Montpellier in their first pre-season friendly in Aveyron.

New boss Bernard Jackman was forced to split his squad in two after a week-long training camp in France because of tomorrow's friendly in Northampton.

Those that remained faced a big task against Top 14 title hopefuls Montpellier, who start their season against Agen at the end of the month and has their first action last week against Lyon.

The Dragons trailed 19-3 after shipping three tries in the first 22 minutes – a penalty try and scores by South African speedster Henry Immelman and lock Paul Willemse - with fly-half Gavin Henson getting the Welsh side on the scoreboard with a penalty.

The Rodney Parade region were awarded a penalty try to reduce the deficit but Montpellier stretched away to 33-10 at the break thanks to efforts by Yvan Reilac and South Africa hooker Bismarck du Plessis.

The Dragons got a second through Wales Under-20s full-back Will Talbot-Davies before Aussie ace Joe Tomane had the final say for the Frenchmen.