THE Dragons will kick off their European Challenge Cup campaign by welcoming Castres to Newport.

The Rodney Parade region have been drawn with the 2013 and 2018 French champions, Worcester and familiar Russian foes Enisei-STM.

Dean Ryan’s men attempt to set the tone for Pool One by repeating their 2016 home win against Castres on Saturday, November 16 (kick-off 3pm).

They then travel to Krasnodar on Friday, November 22 before a crunch double-header with Worcester in December, the first encounter being a return to Sixways for director of rugby Ryan on Saturday, December 7 (kick-off 3pm).

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The Newport clash with the Warriors is on Friday, December 13 (kick-off 8pm) and those that are tempted by a weekend in France will have to wait to book as the date for the round five trip to Castres is down to French TV.

The Dragons will aim to have their destiny in their own hands when they host Enisei-STM for the group finale on Friday, January 17 (kick-off 8pm).

The Dragons will need to win their home games and triumph at least once on the road if they are to repeat their 2015 and 2016 qualification for the knockout stages.

They start against Castres, who finished seventh in last season’s Top 14, in Newport with the aim of repeating their 31-18 success in January, 2016

The trip is in the New Year and the French side have a formidable home record – Exeter, Munster and Gloucester all came a cropper there in last season’s Champions Cup.

The Dragons played the Warriors in the 2016/17 tournament, losing 33-20 in the Worcester rain before triumphing 22-7 in Newport.

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The travel challenges of Enisei-STM come in round two with Ryan’s men thankfully having a home PRO14 game, against Zebre, after the trip back from Russia.

The Dragons were stunned 38-18 by the Russians in Krasnodar in 2016 but have won the last three meetings between the sides, including a hard-fought 28-21 triumph in Moscow in 2017.

The European finals are in Marseille with the Challenge Cup, lifted by French giants Clermont Auvergne in Newcastle last season, being decided on Friday, May 22.

Dragons fixtures

Round one: Castres (Rodney Parade) – Saturday, November 16 (kick-off 3pm)

Round two: Enisei-STM (Kuban Krasnador Stadium) – Friday, November 22 (kick-off TBC)

Round three: Worcester (Sixways) – Saturday, December 7 (kick-off 3pm)

Round four: Worcester (Rodney Parade) – Friday, December 13 (kick-off 8pm)

Round five: Castres (Stade Pierre Fabre) – weekend of January 10

Round six: Enisei-STM (Rodney Parade) – Friday, January 17 (kick-off 8pm)