WALES international Tavis Knoyle says new boss Dean Ryan is putting the Dragons' skills under more pressure with his desire for a high-tempo game.

The Rodney Parade region are in the final three weeks of their preparations for the Guinness PRO14 opener against Munster at Thomond Park.

Plenty of first-teamers got a first taste of match action in last weekend's Celtic Cup clash with Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park, which the hosts won 40-31, and the entire squad is set to take to the field on Saturday.

The Dragons are playing a double-header against the Scarlets with the next generation playing in the development competition at 1pm before Ryan's men play a friendly against the west Walians at 4pm.

Scrum-half Knoyle started in the capital and felt the benefit from getting used to the style demanded by director of rugby Ryan, who was appointed as Bernard Jackman's successor this summer.

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"We got what we needed out of it, because it's a totally different way of playing to what we have been used to," said the 29-year-old, who darted over for a try in the defeat.

"It's exciting to be honest, it's different and puts your skills under pressure. Dean really wants us to play attacking, fast rugby no matter where we are on the field.

"He just wants us to express ourselves and bring the best out of us; rather than always worrying about the outcome, it's playing what is in front of you.

"Some of the youngsters have such good skills and sometimes playing expansive gets the best out of them. I really, really enjoyed it against the Blues."

Knoyle made 19 appearances last season, albeit 15 as a replacement, and was rewarded with a one-year contract extension.

He wants to keep the pressure on Rhodri Williams for the 9 jersey and stay ahead of loan signing Luke Baldwin and young prospects Daf Buckland and Dan Babos in the tussle for the matchday squad.

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"It's all about building step by step," he said. "We are all looking to get up and running before the start of the PRO14 and it's all up for grabs, there is competition across the field.

"These are opportunities to play and put your hand up, express themselves and enjoy it.

"Last season was difficult at times (in being back-up to Williams) but I have just got to stay fit and healthy.

"You have to demand high standards of yourself and then you can deliver if called up. I want to keep pushing for that start and hopefully get the backing of the coaches."

The Dragons rang the changes for the Blues clash after the young talent had impressed in a six-try, 36-10 win against Munster in round two.

The double-header means that the bright prospects will once again join forces to go up against a Scarlets side that thumped the Ospreys last weekend.

"One thing that we are trying to do is not have a them and us with the under-23s and the first team at the Dragons," said Celtic Cup coach Luke Narraway.

"Whether you are 18 or 35 we are under one banner and we are one team with everyone striving to go in the right direction.

"It doesn't matter who is on the pitch, we will review this together as we did after Munster, young and old, and will learn and grow together.

"The double header is brilliant; we've got the numbers there for the Scarlets with some younger players that missed out against the Blues," he concluded.

"It will be great to get out at Rodney Parade again and put two games on, future stars and current stars."