Captain Harri Keddie has warned Dragons only an accurate and clinical show against Zebre will be good enough to secure a crucial United Rugby Championship win in Italy.
The Men of Gwent travel to Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi this Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.05pm UK time) looking for a third win of the league season.
Zebre are yet to record a victory in the URC this term but came close last week when they ushed Edinburgh all the way in a 29-26 loss.
And back row Keddie – who made his debut in Parma six years ago when Zebre won 47-22 – knows Dragons must not underestimate the size of the test ahead of them.
“We have to be a lot more accurate and can’t go into our shells,” he said.
“We have to build into the game well and be clinical because it’s a tough place to go if you let the scoreboard get away from you and let them get into the ascendancy.
“We have four games left and want to finish strong,” he added. “Parts of our performance have been better recently, but we have only put one 80-minute performance all year and that was in Connacht.”
Dragons lost out to Scarlets last week – despite leading 19-17 going into the final quarter at Rodney Parade.
“We felt it was a good chance to kick on and win. From there on in our error count was too high, we couldn’t get the ball down into their territory and put the defensive pressure on them,” reflected Keddie.
“Instead, it was the other way around, we struggled to exit and gave them easy ball in the 22. The more chances you give a team, the more points they will score.
“There were large parts of the game where we were in control but for the most important part, that last quarter, we lost the ascendancy and to be fair the Scarlets took their chances well.
“It’s frustrating, we spoke about backing it up and knew that they were going to come back hard. They outgunned us in the last 20.
“It’s finding that balance of when to go multi-phase and be more adventurous with the ball and when to take your medicine and get the ball down the other end.”
We have to build into the game well and be clinical because it’s a tough place to go if you let the scoreboard get away from you and let them get into the ascendancy...