Newport Gwent Dragons: Siberia trip holds no fears - Kingsley Jones

Kingsley Jones
Former Wales captain Kingsley Jones has also coached Sale Sharks

A trip to Siberia in next season's European Challenge Cup will hold no fears for Newport Gwent Dragons, says head coach Kingsley Jones.

Dragons will become the first Welsh team to face Russian club Enisei STM.

Jones was head coach of Russia's national team between 2011 and 2014 and is not daunted by the trip.

"Travelling over to Siberia is exciting for us and a bit of a challenge and a new adventure for the players," Jones said.

"It's something we have to be ready for. We've got no fears of going there. I know the players, the coaches as well as anyone could.

Connacht's replacements take protection from the freezing conditions in Siberia
Connacht's replacements take protection from the freezing conditions in Siberia in November 2015

"They're a good side, they'll be committed but we fancy our chances. The challenge is to perform on such a long journey.

Enisei-STM made history during the 2015-16 season as the the first Russian team to take part in European competition.

In last season's Challenge Cup, Pro12 champions Connacht beat Enisei 31-14 in Siberia while Newcastle Falcons lost 24-7 in a game that was switched to Sochi.

Dragons were beaten semi-finalists in the previous two seasons of the European Challenge Cup.

Brive and Worcester are also in the group alongside the team from Siberia, where temperatures can reach -7.2 degrees celsius in the winter.

Jones is hoping they will play Enisei away in December or January so the game can be moved to Sochi, where the weather is a little warmer.

"Sochi is a lot better than Wales in December and January," Jones said.

"I think a difficult fixture would be October/November. If you play them first up then they're likely to play that in Siberia and it can be very, very cold."

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