THE Dragons are waiting for news about the resumption of the Guinness PRO14 season – and whether they will have a shot at Champions Cup rugby for the first time in nine years.

The Rodney Parade region are currently sidelined after the coronavirus prompted a suspension of the league campaign and the postponement of their European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bristol.

Dean Ryan's squad are training alone rather than as a group in Ystrad Mynach after being given individual programmes by the strength and conditioning staff.

The Welsh Rugby Union have said they expect the suspension of rugby to last "months rather than weeks" because of the pandemic and PRO14 chiefs outlined four criteria that need to be met before a return to action in the cross-border competition, which features teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa.

A statement read: "No decision on a definitive re-commencement date can be made until four key criteria can be met within our respective competing territories:

- Public health authorities cease to prohibit the resumption of sport and group training.

- Travel restrictions between our territories are lifted.

- No forced isolation or quarantine orders are in force when visiting our territories.

- Player welfare is safeguarded, including requirement for a suitable pre-recommencement training period, to be established in conjunction with the high-performance personnel at our participating unions and teams."

Tournament bosses will review how to restart the season in the near future but they have already cancelled the grand final, which was due to take place at Cardiff City Stadium on June 20.

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"PRO14 Rugby is working with key stakeholders to carefully examine several proposals that can be implemented and delivered in order to close out the season – albeit at a later date," read the statement.

"Should any final played as part of the 2019/20 season will be hosted by the team with highest ranking based upon league records from this campaign."

It isn't just the fight for the title that is being impacted – the Dragons' encouraging first campaign under director of rugby Ryan means they are in with a chance of playing in Europe's elite tournament next season.

They currently sit fifth in Conference A but the fourth-placed Cheetahs, from South Africa, are not eligible for the Champions Cup.

The Dragons are eight points ahead of Zebre and nine clear of the Ospreys, who both have games in hand.

As things stand, that would lead to the Rodney Parade travelling to Galway to face Connacht, fourth in Conference B, in a play-off for the top tier.

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Whether Ryan, who has made no secret of the size of his rebuilding task, would welcome mixing it with Europe's big guns is another matter.

The Ospreys were Wales' sole representatives in the Champions Cup this season and endured a whitewash after being grouped with Saracens, Munster and Racing 92.

The Dragons have played in the Challenge Cup for the last nine seasons since suffering the same fate as the men from the Liberty Stadium in 2010/11. Paul Turner's side were doubled by Toulouse, Glasgow and Wasps.

The region were given a taste of life in the top tier last season after being drawn against Clermont Auvergne and Northampton, two traditional Euro big guns, in the Challenge Cup. The Dragons suffered four heavy defeats and shipped 26 tries.

However, the chance to welcome Europe's elite to Rodney Parade would provide a much-needed boost to the coffers as all of rugby braces for a financial hit because of coronavirus.

The Dragons were thumped 38-14 when Connacht travelled to Newport in October.