RICHARD Hibbard says it's vital that the Dragons end their Guinness PRO14 away day hoodoo so they can build for brighter times, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Rodney Parade region are on a 39-game losing streak on the road in the league stretching back to a success in Treviso in March, 2015.

The Dragons have five shots at ending that nightmare run this season with a trip to Edinburgh next Friday followed by fixtures at Benetton, the Ospreys, Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.

Hibbard, who has been captaining the side while Cory Hill is on international duty, is eyeing victory at Murrayfield to enable the squad to push for a more prosperous 2019/20.

"It's a massively important step for us, we need to get one of these away wins," said the former Wales and Lions hooker. "We are not that far away, we just have to get over the line now.

"It's about small battles and small wins for us now as a squad, not just for this year but to put a base down for next year.

"We are going to take every game as a little cup final. They are important games for us and as a squad we can really make some strides."

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The Dragons have enjoyed an upturn in performance under caretaker boss Ceri Jones but have won just two of seven fixtures.

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One of those was the morale-boosting victory against the Ospreys – ending a four-year derby drought in the PRO14 – and Hibbard believes there was further reason for optimism after pushing title hopefuls Munster all the way in an 8-7 loss in Newport a fortnight ago.

"We have made huge strides. There have been small steps since the start of the season and the boys have gelled together," said the summer recruit from Gloucester.

"We have almost learnt to play with each other, got to know strengths and weaknesses, and we have started to push on over the last month.

"The derbies were a huge positives, Europe was a good lesson then couldn't have asked for any more from the boys than against Munster. The effort and the physicality was superb.

"The boys are really tight - it's one of the tightest teams that I have been involved with and that is starting to show on the pitch."

The second-from-bottom Dragons, who have won four games, are in a tussle with the Kings, who have won two, to avoid being last in Conference B with the South Africans level on 19 points thanks to bonuses.

Zebre prop up Conference A on 17 points.