THE Dragons will double up against the Scarlets in September with the next generation locking horns in the Celtic Cup and the seniors clashing in a pre-season friendly.

Dean Ryan’s men are tuning up for the Guinness PRO14 with a game against the West Wales rivals at Rodney Parade on Saturday, September 14.

The Celtic Cup schedule has the regions’ young guns also tussling that weekend, raising the possibility of a double-header in Newport.

That would lead to a busy weekend of rugby at the famous ground as Newport entertain Carmarthen Quins in round one of the Specsavers National Cup.

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All of the Celtic Cup fixtures have been confirmed with the Rodney Parade region, under the name Dragons XV, kicking off away to Connacht in the weekend of August 23.

A change to the format sees the teams in one league rather Irish and Welsh conferences with the top two facing off in the final on Saturday, October 12.

The Dragons will play four of their seven fixtures on home soil with a trip to Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys heading east. Venues are yet to be decided with the possibility of using grounds around the region.

Last season they won just one of six games, against Connacht in Ystrad Mynach, and it is likely that they will field stronger sides in the development tournament in World Cup year.

Japan 2019 means that the PRO14 starts later than usual on the final weekend of September so the early Celtic Cup rounds are likely to be used to give game time to some more experienced players as new boss Dean Ryan runs the rule over his squad.

Matt O’Brien, Dragons academy head coach said, “The Celtic Cup is a fantastic curtain-raiser to the new league season.

“With the Rugby World Cup going on, the Celtic Cup provides a great opportunity for fans to enjoy rugby close to home and see some of the new faces and young talent we have in the region.”

“We really enjoyed the competition last year and the young players in our squad took a huge amount from it.

“This season we’ll look to have a mix of young talent and experienced players involved and we’re keen to improve on our record.

“Our academy players will train with the seniors from late July, as we step up preparations ahead of the new campaign, and with seven Celtic Cup games on the bounce it’s an intense period with full training weeks in the professional environment.

“The Irish teams have real depth and strong A sides so they’ll provide a stern test again alongside the Welsh regions.”

The final two rounds of the Cup, the trip to champions Leinster and home encounter with the Ospreys, clash with the start of the PRO14.

Dragons Celtic Cup fixtures:

August 23-25 – Connacht (away)

August 30-September 1 – Munster (home)

September 6-8 – Cardiff Blues (away)

September 14 – Scarlets (home)

September 20-22 – Ulster (home)

September 27-29 – Leinster (away)

October 4-6 – Ospreys (home)

October 12 – final