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The scoreboard may have shown a comfortable 40-15 winning margin in the end for the 2016 European Challenge Cup winners, but the Dragons put in a great shift to prove their hard work in training is set to pay off when the new season starts.

The home side, smarting from their 40-12 defeat in Lyon the previous week, got off to a flying start and were the dominant force in the opening 40 minutes. But the Dragons’s fitness and phase play posed plenty of problems for Vern Cotter’s side the longer the game went on.

Jackman used new signing Gavin Henson at outside half and gave Wales international Hallam Amos his first run out since suffering shoulder damage in November, 2016. Henson got his points tally off the mark with a ninth minute penalty and looked calm and assured in the No 10 jersey in the first-half.

Jackman has set a tough task for his players in the build up to the big kick-off in the newly expanded Guinness PRO14 with a game against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, 12 August coming hot on the heels of the Montpellier match.

Next week it will be a trip to the home of English champions Exeter Chiefs, while the countdown to the new season ends with a home game at Eugene Cross Park against Glasgow Warriors on Friday, 25 August (entry is free for this game).

Montpellier bagged the first of their six tries in the third minute when French international referee Romain Poite awarded them a penalty try. Henson’s penalty cut the gap but then South African Henry Immelman was put through by Franocis Steyn for a second score.

South African lock added third home try midway through the half, which Benjamin Paillaugue converted, but the Dragons hit back with a penalty try of their own. That cut the gap to nine points.

Montpellier scored two more tries before before the 40 minute mark. The first was made by the Bismarck du Plessis, scored by Yvan Reilac, and the second was scored by the former Springbok skipper himself.

Paillaugue converted both tries to leave the Dragons trailing by 33-10 at the half-way mark. There were plenty of changes during the night as both coaches switched their line-ups to give players game time and the former Scotland coach Cotter was able to introduce new signing Ruan Pienaar and Joe Tomane during the course of the game.

Montpellier’s much vaunted scrum made life difficult for the Dragons front five, but to their credit Elliot Dee and his props got better as the game wore on. There was a good start to the second half for the visitors as Pat Howard crossed for a try and the only other points added by the French side came eight minutes from time when former Australian wing Tomane slipped through for a try that Pienaar improved.

After five days spent training in the French mountains the Dragons will return a tighter and fitter group. The experience gained from playing against Montpellier and Northampton Saints on consecutive days should also give Jackman plenty of food for thought ahead of the first competitive game against Leinster at Rodney Parade on 2 September.

Dragons: Carl Meyer; Adam Hughes, Sam Beard, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos; Gavin Henson, Sarel Pretorius; Thomas Davies, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ashley Sweet, James Thomas, Harri Keddie, James Benjamin.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Leon Brown, Max Williams, Nic Cudd, Charlie Davies, Angus O'Brien, Pat Howard, Ashton Hewitt, Will Talbot Davies.

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Friday October 27

Ospreys

GP14

Liberty Stadium, Swansea

KO 7:35 PM

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