JAMIE Roberts will attempt to roll back the years in front of former boss Warren Gatland this evening, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Lions coach will be at Ashton Gate to watch the Dragons in their European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bristol (kick-off 7.45pm).

Gatland will be a keen observer as plenty of contenders for the tour to South Africa tussle in the West Country.

At 33, Roberts won't be one of them but the centre, who was man of the series against the Springboks in 2009 and helped beat Australia in 2013, will be keen to put in a big performance in front of the man who played such a big part in his career.

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Gatland gave him his Test debut on the wing in 2008 and then moved the Cardiff Blues legend into midfield.

He won 94 Wales caps and three more with the Lions to establish himself as one of the world's best with his strong-carrying and solid defence.

The latter of those attributes will be vital if the Dragons are to cause an upset this evening against a Bears side who play with width, intensity and invention.

"I've played against Bristol a few times in the English Premiership and I know how hard it is to play at Ashton Gate," said Roberts ahead of his debut.

"It is a fast track and Bristol play a brand of rugby that, if you don't try and stop them, they can walk in 50 points.

"We have got to go out there and impose our defensive game on Bristol because they are a very potent attacking side.

"We have all seen what they have done in the Premiership the last few years under Pat Lam, and probably more so since lockdown.

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"They want to play positive rugby so our defence is under no illusions, if we don't defend well we will concede tries because they are a very good outfit.

"It's a big challenge for the lads, but we have some quality players in the set-up and players who are there or thereabouts as Test players.

"They might have featured much on the Test scene yet, but they are established regional players and they will go flying into this game."

Roberts sat out the Dragons' return to action in the Guinness PRO14 derbies against the Ospreys and Scarlets.

The new league campaign gets under way on the first weekend of October – one draft of fixtures has the region heading to Leinster before hosting Zebre – but the hope is for a trip to either Edinburgh or Bordeaux for a semi-final next Friday.

"It is all or nothing for us. Our domestic season is no longer and I hope this is not the end of this season," said Roberts.

"We know Bristol are fighting on both fronts, for the league and Europe, but it's a great challenge for us."