Dragons RFC head coach Dai Flanagan has called on his side to follow up their thrilling 31-31 draw at Emirates Lions in the EPCR Challenge Cup with an equally spirited performance in Round 2 against Section Paloise on Saturday.

He was full of praise for his side overcoming a sickness bug in the build-up to last Saturday’s match in Johannesburg against a team whom he predicts could go further in their debut season in the competition.

“We worked hard for those three points,” he commented. “We were the first team in our league to stay out here for three weeks and the boys have had a great time. It’s massive for us.

“We’ve had three really enjoyable weeks out here. Our performances have got better and better. We’re almost there, but there’s nothing like playing at home in front of our fans. It’s important we back it up when we get home now when we return.

“It’s three points on the road and they [Emirates Lions] could do well as the competition evolves.”

Flanagan saw an improvement in Dragons’ display from when they lost 33-25 at the same venue in the United Rugby Championship on November 27.

“We were a lot more accurate this time than we were when we played here in the league game,” he said.

“The game could have got away from us just after half-time with the two quick tries, but I trust this group. We play smart and we pulled ourselves back in. Three minutes from time and we were nearly there.

“We had a tough week in camp. We had quite a bit of a sickness bug for the majority of the squad, but for them to pull through and stick together has been excellent. It’s just a shame we couldn’t round it off with a win.”