BERNARD Jackman says his old team will provide his Dragons side with the ultimate test of their new-look defence at Rodney Parade this evening.

Champions Leinster head to Newport looking to strengthen their grip on Conference B by recording an eighth Guinness PRO14 win on the bounce.

The Irish province started the weekend as the PRO14's joint top try scorers with 42 in nine fixtures and they have already put the Dragons to the sword once this season.

World player of the year Johnny Sexton pulled the strings expertly in a seven-try, 52-10 win at the Royal Dublin Society in September and the European champions have also racked up half centuries against Wasps and the Ospreys.

Leinster may have left a glut of Irish stars on home soil ahead of their Champions Cup double-header with Bath but they will still pose questions galore of a Dragons defence that has leaked all season.

The troubles led to the axing of coach Hendre Marnitz at the start of the month with Jackman taking over defensive responsibility.

The signs were promising in last week's 18-12 win against Edinburgh but the ex-Ireland hooker knows that they will be stressed more by his old team.

"It's a massive home game. We need to get better and if we put in the same type of performance as we did against Edinburgh then we will lose. It's got to be way better," said Jackman.

"When Leinster hit top form they can be devastating, as they did against Wasps in the first round of the Champions Cup, last week against the Ospreys and us in September.

"We played 25 minutes with 14 men and it was very, very difficult, so discipline is going to be a factor.

"There is definitely improvement in our defence but I'd love to have another month before having to play Leinster to make sure it's been tried and tested properly!

"But we get them this week and it's going to be tested under the most extreme circumstances and if we don't hold them out then well certainly know what is working and what's not."

Leinster head to Newport with their big hitters who have helped Ireland enjoy a stunning 2018 but that has often been the case.

In recent seasons the Irish province have shown their strength in depth by triumphing at Rodney Parade without their Test stars.

"They have the biggest budget and the most depth," said Jackman. "The way that it's gone in Irish rugby is that there are a lot of players playing for Ireland who are at other provinces but have come through Leinster.

"That's the challenge for Leo Cullen, I suppose. How does he manage the boys that played against the Ospreys? Where do they go?

"In World Cup year there will be a lot of fellas away and more opportunities but they have the richest talent pool in Europe.

"They are very lucky that the feeder system is very good and when they get into the environment the role models they have are very strong, guys like Johnny Sexton, Isa Nacewa, Scott Fardy, Sean O'Brien, even guys like Fergus McFadden who pass on good habits to the youngsters.

"They are coming into an environment that is winning and with a good culture, so they have plenty of players."

The Dragons make one change to the XV that beat Edinburgh with Aaron Wainwright, who played blindside for Wales against South Africa, coming in at openside for Nic Cudd.

The rest of the contingent that beat the Boks have to be content with the bench.

Hooker Elliot Dee backs up captain Richard Hibbard, Cory Hill is set to come on for Rynard Landman or Lewis Evans after they combined well last week and Ross Moriarty is covering Harri Keddie, Wainwright and Ollie Griffiths.

Dragons: J Williams, J Rosser, T Morgan, J Sage, H Amos, J Tovey, R Williams, R Bevington, R Hibbard (captain), L Fairbrother, R Landman, L Evans, H Keddie, A Wainwright, O Griffiths. Replacements: E Dee, A Jarvis, L Brown, C Hill, R Moriarty, T Knoyle, A Robson, A Warren.

Leinster: H Keenan, A Byrne, J O'Brien, C O'Brien, D Kearney, R Byrne, J Gibson-Park, E Byrne, J Tracy, M Bent, R Molony, S Fardy (captain), J Murphy, S Penny, C Doris. Replacements: B Byrne, P Dooley, A Porter, M Kearney, P Patterson, C Frawley, T Daley.​

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)