Injured Tom Willis will have to watch his side from the touchline when the Dragons play Gloucester this weekend, and the Kiwi say s it is the English side who will wear the favourites tag when they clash at Kingsholm.
The Dragons embark on their sixth season in Europe as the only Welsh region not to have qualified for the knock-out stages with Willis admitting they face "one hell of a match" against a Gloucester squad that includes Welsh stars Gareth Delve - joint club captain with Mike Tindall - Will James and newcomer Nicky Robinson.
Former Cardiff Blues outside half Robinson has made an instant impact with his new club and Willis accepts he will be a major threat.
"Nicky is the guy who has been guiding them so effectively around the field and we will certainly have to put pressure on him," said former All Blacks hooker Willis, who played seven times for his country - including five Tests - and captained the Kiwi teams who played against Ireland A and Scotland A in 2001.
"And their front row will also pose a real threat as the rest of the team take great confidence from what they do and Olivier Azam in particular has a big presence.
"As a unit their pack takes a lot of pride in battering the opposition into submission and collectively they provide a huge physical challenge.
"There is a good buzz in our squad at the moment but we will certainly carry the underdogs tag on Friday - we are very conscious of how well Gloucester have done in previous Heineken Cup tournaments and what a proud club we will be up against - and they probably see us a nice introduction to the new campaign."
Gloucester will become the 17th team to play 50 Heineken Cup matches when they host Glasgow Warriors in Round 4 and will be out to make a real impact in front of their vociferous fans in their 47th tournament match.
"Last season we lost our first three matches ahead of the Heineken Cup so we are pleased we have made a decent start to this season and picking up a few wins certainly helps in breeding confidence within the squad," said Willis.
"Although Gloucester is a tough place to start the tournament, it is absolutely vital to try and win your home Heineken Cup games and we are certainly targeting the matches at Rodney Parade.
"We have been turning the ground into a bit of a fortress and make it an aim that teams have to come to the place and earn a result.
"I admit I don't know that much about Biarritz Olympique - we have not played them before - but I am aware that they are always there or thereabouts in the Top 14 and that they will be a tough and physical side with a huge amount of experience in the Heineken Cup.
"Then there is Glasgow Warriors - and both of us know the other's game pretty well. We had them in our Pool last season and beat them 32-22 at Rodney Parade and only lost up there by three points in our final group match.
"They are always tough encounters and we expect more of the same this time - just like when we got the right result against them in the Magners earlier this season."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.