Dragons Season Thread - 2018/19 - aka Year 2 of the 3 Year Plan

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Post by The Oracle on Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:06 pm

First topic message reminder :

So we made it to the end of the 2017/18 season.  We've seen/endured the first year of Bernard Jackman's plan.  I think most of us have been through a rollercoaster of emotions, similar to previous seasons but perhaps even more so this season given the new injection of life and investment into the Dragons.  First there was the hope - the new coaches, some new players, the new pitch, new chairman, new cash injection.  Then we started to stumble - it's all down to the new coach and getting used to the new systems, we said.  Then came the face plant and the realisation that this trend was going to carry on for the whole season - a couple of wins in the league, a few in Europe, a lot of spankings, not many losing bonus points.  Very poor return.  The hope turned to despair and BJ's methods were being questioned.  Then the hope comes again with the announcement of new signings ('stellar' signings, compared to previous years!) and the assurance that the 1st year of the plan was always going to be difficult and that year 2 would be the one to judge BJ on.....  

So.......on to year 2 (2018/19).  Where are we?  What are our expectations (realistically)?  What's the best team we can put out on paper and how competitive will it be?  For a number of years we've been stuffed in the league so seem to try to get some solace from a decent showing in the Euro 2nd tier comp.  However, should we forget about Europe and try to put all of our focus on the league?  I think so.

Transfers - we've lost more than we've gained, although the quality of the transfers in could/should be better than those leaving.  But I'm worried we'll be thin on the ground when the inevitable injuries hit.

Players In: = 14
Jordan Williams from England Bristol Bears
Rhodri Williams from England Bristol Bears
Ross Moriarty from England Gloucester
Rhodri Davies from England Rotherham Titans
Richard Hibbard from England Gloucester
Huw Taylor from England Worcester Warriors
Josh Lewis from England Bath
Ryan Bevington from England Bristol Bears
Aaron Jarvis from France Clermont
Dafydd Howells from Wales Ospreys
Tiaan Loots from Wales RGC 1404
Jacob Botica from Wales RGC 1404
Rhys Lawrence from England Ealing Trailfinders
Brandon Nansen from France

Players Out: - =21
Sarel Pretorius to South Africa Southern Kings
Phil Price to Wales Scarlets
Scott Andrews to Wales Neath
Luke Garrett to Wales Neath
Adam Hughes retired
Pat Howard to England Ealing Trailfinders
Rhys Buckley to Wales Bargoed
Barney Nightingale to Wales Bargoed
Keagan Bale to Wales Bargoed
Angus O'Brien to Wales Scarlets
Nicky Thomas to Wales Scarlets (return from short-term loan)
Dorian Jones to France Angoulême
Charlie Davies to England Northampton Saints
Lloyd Lewis to Wales Pontypool
Sam Beard to New Zealand Canterbury
Sam Hobbs released
Thomas Davies released
Liam Belcher released
Ashley Sweet released
Robson Blake released
Carl Meyer released

I'll try to update the Ins and Outs as we go.


Last edited by The Oracle on Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by The Oracle on Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:53 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Where would you base this west wales region, LD?

Parc Y Scarlets, with the odd game at Swansea. But there could be an argument made for vice versa as the population is in Swansea.

So population is important? Anything else?


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Post by The Oracle on Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:00 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:They are in South Wales you plum! Look on a map. West Wales is Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Newquay, etc.

yeah, I'm the plum, but Scarlets slogan is "WEST IS BEST".

You might need to get onto them and let them know how much of a plum they all are. Laugh

Just because someone puts in on their seats doesn’t mean it’s correct picard

Seriously, are you unable to just look at a map? No one in their right mind would consider Llanelli to be west. West of Cardiff, maybe. But west Wales?! Please!

South West Wales they are. If you disagree, you better contact everyone at Llanelli RFC and tell them. OK

Towards west Wales would be a better description.

Why would I need to contact everyone?

No. They are in South West Wales, just because they are not as far west as Pembroke Dock makes no difference. Is Hay-on-Wye any less in Wales because it's on the border of England ?

I didn’t suggest Llanelli wasn’t in Wales. What a ridiculous example.

I said they were towards west Wales. They are literally NOT in west Wales by any definition of the term ‘West’. You could argue for South West I suppose but it’s much more south than south west. ‘South South West’ would be accurate Very Happy South West is St David’s and Haverfordwest.
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Post by Brendan on Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:07 pm

RiscaGame wrote:
Brendan wrote:At underage say u14/u16/u18 do the teams play in a Welsh league or region league.

In GAA at the top level each county is broken up into regions, at underage you win your region and then your represent your region in the county playoffs. They would also pick the best players to represent the region team for a few games aswell which for a person from a small village it's a great honour/status.

If all the underage teams in Gwent are playing each other to be Gwent champions I think they all would feel a part of the region and would want to play for the regional team of the Dragons.

When I was growing up, there used to be districts (mine was Islwyn) and then county teams as clubs and schools. Don’t know if the districts thing happens now, nor county rugby so much now there’s no Gwent. The youth teams that would’ve been under the old Gwent umbrella play in a Dragons’ A and B league, I know that, as well as a few cups.

So the young players growing up know they are boys of Gwent and Dragon coaches can see the boys and track them. I think the problem with region is then just in certain people's heads (which I thought anyway)
If Dragon could keep their players they would have a good squad so hopefully that will start to happen more

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:25 pm

Of the six Dragons players called up to the Wales squad for the Autumn internationals, four are from the region (Dee, Brown, Wainwright and Morgan).

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:18 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:They are in South Wales you plum! Look on a map. West Wales is Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Newquay, etc.

yeah, I'm the plum, but Scarlets slogan is "WEST IS BEST".

You might need to get onto them and let them know how much of a plum they all are. Laugh

Llanelli being ‘West is Best’ is about as true as Ospreys being the ‘One True Region’ - so labelling them all plums is fairly accurate.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:20 pm

The Oracle wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Where would you base this west wales region, LD?

Parc Y Scarlets, with the odd game at Swansea. But there could be an argument made for vice versa as the population is in Swansea.

So population is important? Anything else?

It is important, and with population comes money. Hence, the regions are based along the ‘M4 Corridor’, for those in Ponty still scratching their heads.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:11 pm

I’ve seen lots of people calling for Mike Ruddock to be give the job. Not sure I agree with that. He’s been out of pro rugby for so long. It would be a big risk, for both parties probably. I get the nostalgia over him but not sure we can call on someone from so far in the past.

This ‘man of Gwent’ thing probably works when you have players mostly from that geographical area, but with pro rugby these days the squad is such a mix of players that I’m not sure the Gwent thing makes a difference. To fans maybe, but I’m sure they’d prefer to see a winning side at the expense of a Man of Gwent coach. I know the push is to play mostly Welsh players in Welsh regional rugby, but they’ll be from all over Wales. A Gwent man won’t make much difference to the players from outside Gwent. Similarly, the odd overseas player won’t really care - Brandon Nansen is not suddenly going to start running though walls for a Gwent-born coach. But he might do for a coach who’s a really good player manager and knows how to get the best out of the team, regardless of where he’s from. If he’s from Gwent then that’s a bonus, but the most important thing is that he is proven and is able to get the best out of this squad.
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Post by RiscaGame on Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:22 pm

I don’t want him. I want Mallinder, or the more I think about it I actually want Andy Robinson. At least with a nickname like the growler, he won’t offer BS soundbites in the press and give people false promises to cling on to, to save his skin Wink

This Gwent coach or even the need to employ Welsh coaches is not something we need to remotely consider. We just need a coach to shake Dragons up again and get us a bit more organised than uncle Bernard managed to.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:24 pm

Yeah it’s pretty daft, and would be deja vu all over again. If Ruddock was to come back, which he won’t, then he’d be better suited to an academy role right now. If Welsh teams are serious about developing for the future then more should have a coach like that involved with their academies.

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:03 pm

Eddie O’Sullivan would be good for Dragons.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:45 am

Pot Hale wrote:Eddie O’Sullivan would be good for Dragons.  

What’s he been up to? USA coach and.... ?

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:27 am

Pot Hale wrote:Eddie O’Sullivan would be good for Dragons.  

Don’t think we have a good record with Irish coaches, with what happened with Jackman and particularly Declan Kidney Wink

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:38 am

I'm worried that there hasn't been any mention (that I've seen) of a replacement defence coach. Defence is the foundation.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:48 am

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I'm worried that there hasn't been any mention (that I've seen) of a replacement defence coach. Defence is the foundation.

Sean Edwards as head coach and super defense coach all rolled into one???! Wink
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:57 am

I think that might be too much of a distraction, even for him!


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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:40 am

Probably can’t do much until they appoint a new gaffer.

I’m sure all appointments will be carefully considered this time. We have no reason to doh t Buttress Wink

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:49 am

I just don't want them to forget!

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Post by munkian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:47 pm

Edwards in line to take over as interim coach.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:51 pm

So I hear. Shows what I know! Laugh

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Post by munkian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:52 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:So I hear. Shows what I know! Laugh

Our lads are going to get an absolute bollocking Very Happy
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:00 pm

I don't know how that's going to work out when we play the Ospreys though Headscratch

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:31 pm

'Dragons will be without hooker Richard Hibbard and back-rower Harrison Keddie after head knocks forced them off against Northampton, while flanker Ollie Griffiths looks set to miss some of the Christmas Pro14 programme because of a knee injury.'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46556404

FFS.

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Post by munkian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:38 pm

Poopie hell.
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:48 pm

The players don’t seem to know it’s Edwards yet. We shall see.

Bad news for Griffiths. Would really like us to give Benjamin a run at some point, although Cudd’s defensive game will be needed in Clermont.

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Post by munkian on Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:50 pm

RiscaGame wrote:The players don’t seem to know it’s Edwards yet. We shall see.

Bad news for Griffiths. Would really like us to give Benjamin a run at some point, although Cudd’s defensive game will be needed in Clermont.

Torygraph have picked up on the story too, fingers crossed.
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:30 pm

Yeah, there are rumours within the camp it’s him, so I’m sure somebody tipped the Wail etc ha.

Probably no smoke without fire.


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Post by The Oracle on Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:36 pm

munkian wrote:Edwards in line to take over as interim coach.


That’s why they call me the oracle! Wink
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Post by The Oracle on Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:28 pm

I’ve just been reminded that Edwards signed on as the new Wigan Warriors league coach for after the World Cup. Forgot all about that. So if he does come it will be in addition to his Wales commitments and it will be only short term Sad
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:03 pm

It’s still a great appointment for us. People talk about the environment that Jackman created, as in making it more professional, but I think Edwards will make a huge difference in that sense, even for the rest of this season. The guy is a winner and has been in a professional environment for 30 years or more. If nothing else, I think he will give the squad more testicular fortitude. Plus it gives us more time to really find a better full time head coach than what we had.

Thanks to uncle Bernard, this season is a write off anyway, so we just as well have a stopgap like this.


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Post by The Oracle on Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:23 pm

Yeah, that’s true Risca. If he’s there for only a year he will probably instil a much better environment. In fact, I’m confident he would have some sort of noticeable impact within a week or so!
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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:02 am

Heard a lot of talk recently that BJ did a lot of good work on and off the field, but honestly I can’t think of what that is.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:14 pm

So now we're playing Kirchner at full back over Amos.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:47 pm

Clermont: I Toeava; P Betham, A Naqalevu, W Fofana, R Grosso; C Lopez, G Laidlaw; L Uhila, Y Beheregaray, M Simutoga, P Jedrasiak, S Vahaamahina, A Iturria, J Cancoriet, F Lee (capt). Reps: J Ulugia, E Falgoux, S Falatea, S Timani, M Lemardelet, C Cassang, P Fernandez, D Penaud.

Dragons: Z Kirchner; A Warren, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos; J Lewis, T Knoyle; R Bevington, E Dee, A Jarvis, B Nansen, M Screech, C Hill (capt), A Wainwright, R Moriarty. Reps: R Lawrence, G Ellis, N Thomas, H Taylor, J Benjamin, R Williams, G Henson, J Williams.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:46 pm

Pretty strange selection all round really. Guess the effects of Jackman might take a while to shake off. A game where we probably need Cudd the most and he isn’t even in the squad.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:41 pm

Maybe Ceri Jones has just thought that Clermont are going to score tries regardless, so he's picked a side to score tries of our own. But then you'd start with Benjamin if you're going to be throwing it around.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:15 pm

Hill at 6, could be interesting.

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Post by Steffan on Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:42 pm

RiscaGame wrote:It’s still a great appointment for us. People talk about the environment that Jackman created, as in making it more professional, but I think Edwards will make a huge difference in that sense, even for the rest of this season. The guy is a winner and has been in a professional environment for 30 years or more. If nothing else, I think he will give the squad more testicular fortitude

The Oracle wrote:Yeah, that’s true Risca. If he’s there for only a year he will probably instil a much better environment. In fact, I’m confident he would have some sort of noticeable impact within a week or so!
So...is Shaun Edwards actually joining the Dragons then? I haven't seen anything confirmed at all

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:33 pm

That’s what people get for trusting Wales Online exclusives, I guess.

Bit of a shame. Things seemed better on Saturday though, so might as well let Ceri Jones have the job until the end of the season and then sort out the rest of the appointments when we get a full time gaffer in.


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Post by Stone Motif on Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:56 pm

RiscaGame wrote:That’s what people get for trusting Wales Online exclusives, I guess.

Bit of a shame. Things seemed better on Saturday though, so might as well let Ceri Jones have the job until the end of the season and then sort out the rest of the appointments when we get a full time gaffer in.


This week is us all over. Always the McBridesmaid, never the Bride.

Whether we can keep a caretaker in post depends on our recruitment plans. Looks like our budget is getting a boost and we really do need to spend wisely.
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Post by RiscaGame on Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:42 pm

Be alright if we lump 10% of our budget on a ten this season. There aren’t many positions we need to strengthen our starting line up, I would just say we need a quality ten (but the likelihood is we won’t get that) and I would like a brutish second row. Assuming Amos has gone, I would like a decent back three player too. Then ideally get some more depth, so we aren’t having to play the Nicky Thomas’ etc of the world.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:10 pm

Is Nicky Thomas still too fat and unfit? There’s a more promising Welsh prop at Sale we could have took a punt on.
Did Hill go well at 6?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:59 am

Here you go, Dowlais:

“I was really pleased for Josh Lewis too. His control of the game was good, his kicking off the tee was assured and he was a real standout for us.”

Mikey:

“I thought Cory Hill was excellent at six. He showed his adaptability and was a real success story for us."

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17301076.clermont-display-gives-dragons-confidence-going-forward-ceri-jones/


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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:03 am

Well it wasn't the masacre I thought it would be. Fair f*cking play, but still, that's another 7 tries conceded.

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:24 am

Be interesting to see what happens on Friday now, whether he will revert back to Tovey, or stick with Lewis. Seeing as Lewis did kick well and Tovey didn’t in his last couple of games, it would be fair to start Lewis again.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:37 am

I can see that call going either way. He might want to reward Lewis for a good performance, or he might think Tovey's extra motivation against a former side might be worth factoring in. He might just think that having Tovey on the bench as insurance is better than the other way round.

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:09 pm

Or leave Tovey with the Keys, now Super Gav is back fit Wink

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Post by Cardiff Dave on Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:11 pm

Received a card from the dregs today inviting me to the Os game at Dave.
There we are.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:23 pm

Did it ask you to 'bring your fire'?

Just so you know, that includes hip flasks.

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Post by Stone Motif on Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:04 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Did it ask you to 'bring your fire'?

Just so you know, that includes hip flasks.

You sure it didn't say 'Bern, you're fired' and they'd sent it to the wrong address?
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Post by Cardiff Dave on Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:28 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Did it ask you to 'bring your fire'?

Just so you know, that includes hip flasks.

Yeah. Must be mistaking me for Ray Mears. My embers barely glow these days anyway.

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