Boss Dean Ryan has told his Dragons that physicality and the set piece battle will be crucial when they welcome Zebre to Rodney Parade in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday evening (kick-off 8.15pm).
After opening day defeat to champions Leinster, the focus turns to the Italians who also suffered defeat on the first weekend.
Last season Ryan’s men romped to a 52-28 success in Parma in October - ending a long run without an away win in the league.
But Zebre got revenge when the teams met in Newport a month later as the visitors won 39-12.
“We know from last week’s game (with Cardiff Blues) and last season, when Zebre have their international players they are a real threat,” said Ryan. “They have a real physical presence around the set piece.
“The challenge of last week was the pace that we had to play. The challenge of this week will be very much about the physicality and the set piece game.
“We have got to add to the physical challenge up front and make sure that we have got them under control to be able to get the result that we want.”
Reflecting on defeat in Dublin, Ryan insisted Dragons had learnt the lessons of night when accuracy cost them.
“We are in the Champions Cup this year and we really want to test ourselves,” he said. “Our challenge is now to improve our accuracy.
“When we looked at the game, there are three or four times when we could have deprived them of a score or two by being more accurate and we could have got more on the board ourselves.
“We can’t afford to have four five-metre lineouts and come away with nothing and expect to be competitive. It was a mixed bag in terms of the review.
“We were very robust defensively. There was one element when we had a yellow card and played three minutes continuous. We need to be better at that under pressure.
“But it is Leinster away, first up, and they paid us the compliment of being fully loaded. That is a level that we are delighted to be playing at.
“We’re disappointed by the result, but our focus has to be on where we can get better and improve.”
The challenge of last week was the pace that we had to play... The challenge of this week will be very much about the physicality and the set piece game...