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Dragons Season Thread - 2019/20 aka Year 1 of the new 5 Year Plan

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Post by Stone Motif Sun 30 Dec 2018, 11:19 pm

First topic message reminder :

RiscaGame wrote:A good win for Dragons. Wonder if George North might get banned this week for more shethousery. Guy is turning into a dirty get down there.

Wasn’t too convinced by the subs we made, but they turned out to be wise choices. That includes Tovey steadying the ship and kicking the winner and surprisingly Suter being solid in the scrum.
It's an amazing win given the Ospreys dominance. If they'd have made the right calls our luck would have run out I think.
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Post by RiscaGame Tue 03 Sep 2019, 4:30 pm

To be fair, the tries from both weekend's games have been class. Lovely to see us playing without fear.

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Post by Stone Motif Wed 04 Sep 2019, 8:29 pm

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17879751.steelmen-sign-quartet-ahead-premiership-opener/

Ebbw V able to call on some firepower over the coming season, some good players in that lot who will do a load of damage at Prem level.
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Post by RiscaGame Thu 05 Sep 2019, 8:08 am

Probably the only senior they will actually get is Howells. Bit surprised he wasn't released, to be honest. I am not so certain that the young backs like Rio Dyer will really benefit from being up there, when Ebbw tend to score more through their forwards.

Be interested to see what the Port get. Bit surprised that Coleman is being sent up there when he has featured more for Newport.

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Post by RiscaGame Thu 05 Sep 2019, 8:13 am

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17881096.chris-kirwan-scrum-time-can-help-brown-become-wales-star/

Standard good article, by Chris Kirwan.

I particularly liked this bit

"Right from the off Ryan is not a man for the hyperbole."

I like the man already Wink

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Post by Stone Motif Thu 05 Sep 2019, 9:44 am

RiscaGame wrote:Probably the only senior they will actually get is Howells. Bit surprised he wasn't released, to be honest. I am not so certain that the young backs like Rio Dyer will really benefit from being up there, when Ebbw tend to score more through their forwards.

Be interested to see what the Port get. Bit surprised that Coleman is being sent up there when he has featured more for Newport.

Fair point, Greg Woods coached Keys were the same. The reduction in Dragons feeder sides will be a good thing I think, the pro standard players will play alongside each other more often.
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Post by RiscaGame Thu 05 Sep 2019, 10:43 am

Yeah, but he didn't have to reinvent the wheel at Ebbw either ha.

Yeah, it is better. In the likely event we get three next season, I would prefer that, but five was too much.

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Post by The Oracle Sat 07 Sep 2019, 12:55 pm

Is it me or are there a lack of pre-season friendlies this year? We’ve got an A team game today which we’re stocking with senior squad players (thought the A team league was meant to be U23 plus a couple of older guys max?). Then a friendly vs Scarlets next week. And that’s it! Straight into a game v Munster. Not much prep??? Unless I’m missing something.
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Post by RiscaGame Sat 07 Sep 2019, 12:58 pm

I don’t think they could get anymore. I vaguely remember reading that they wanted to play English teams, but they’re starting at a different time (earlier?), are only playing each other and then we could only then get Scarlets.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 07 Sep 2019, 12:59 pm

That’s why we’ve both loaded up a little today. Not ideal really.

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Post by The Oracle Sat 07 Sep 2019, 1:15 pm

Yeah, just thinking we could be undercooked going into the Munster game. It’s a fine line though. I’m sure I’ve moaned about too many warm up games in the past!
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Post by The Oracle Sat 07 Sep 2019, 8:01 pm

40-31 loss in the Celtic Cup. The Argus write up suggests that, while the Munster game had the feel of a proper game, the game today felt more like a training game with a lack of intensity and lots of experimentation. Haven’t heard how our senior squad first 15 guys went.
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Post by The Oracle Tue 10 Sep 2019, 10:29 am

Some nice tries again in that game v Blues. Especially the last one.

https://twitter.com/dragonsrugby/status/1171120483686854658
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Post by The Oracle Tue 10 Sep 2019, 10:34 am

Reading an interview today with Tavis Knoyle in the Argus. He's saying that Ryan has got them playing with confidence and backing their skills. What worries me is the comment that 'Dean really wants us to play attacking, fast rugby no matter where we are on the field'. That really fills me with dread! However, I think we have a lot of younger, smaller, skillful players so perhaps Ryan is looking to play to our strengths. The giant, powerful guys cost top dollar so we're not in the market for them unfortunately. But I hope we're not literally running it from anywhere! We need some structure. But could be entertaining!

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17891904.knoyle-ryan-39-s-style-putting-dragons-skills-microscope/]
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Post by RiscaGame Tue 10 Sep 2019, 3:27 pm

I don't see Sam Davies not kicking from his 22, to be honest. But I am encouraged they clearly are being encouraged to attack more.

By the way, I was surprised by how fast Daf Howells was. That long range try v Cardiff Blues A was brilliant.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Tue 10 Sep 2019, 3:49 pm

The Oracle wrote:Reading an interview today with Tavis Knoyle in the Argus.  He's saying that Ryan has got them playing with confidence and backing their skills.  What worries me is the comment that 'Dean really wants us to play attacking, fast rugby no matter where we are on the field'.  That really fills me with dread!  However, I think we have a lot of younger, smaller, skillful players so perhaps Ryan is looking to play to our strengths.  The giant, powerful guys cost top dollar so we're not in the market for them unfortunately.  But I hope we're not literally running it from anywhere!  We need some structure.  But could  be entertaining!

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/17891904.knoyle-ryan-39-s-style-putting-dragons-skills-microscope/]

I saw that on Twitter this morning - just the quote and a link - and I thought that if we've scrambled back in defence to save a try, and we're in possession on our tryline, I don't want us to do anything quickly - it's the 'fast' bit that worried me as much as anything else. But I'm going to assume he doesn't really want them playing at a silly tempo whatever the circumstances.

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Post by The Oracle Tue 10 Sep 2019, 8:23 pm

Yeah, it’s probbaly just Tavis’ wording. It’s more likely that he’s giving them licence to have a go if it’s on and back themselves and not feel the need to stick to a pre-determined structure if they think there’s a chance of a break. I’m happy with that!
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Post by Stone Motif Tue 10 Sep 2019, 9:18 pm

I think we're wasting our time trying to grind teams and may as well give it a lash from anywhere. Past experience tells us we end up a distant second best trying to impose a structure and play our best rugby in games that end up like 42-38. We have more chance of being on the right side of that than a 9-12, if that makes sense.
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Post by The Oracle Fri 13 Sep 2019, 12:33 pm

Dragons team announced for friendly v Scarlets on the weekend. What do we make of this?


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Post by The Oracle Fri 13 Sep 2019, 12:51 pm

According to the teams on Twitter, Taine Basham is starting for the A team before benching for the senior team later on that day! Busy boy.
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Post by RiscaGame Fri 13 Sep 2019, 12:55 pm

Wouldn’t have Evans at 8. I find it a little strange that Rhodri is captain.

Wonder what Leon Brown makes of not starting, whereas Lee and Evans are for them. I’m sure he thinks nothing of it, but it doesn’t really send the right message to Welsh selectors, if Fairbrother keeps on getting selected over him.

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Post by maestegmafia Fri 13 Sep 2019, 3:46 pm

Looks like two decent teams selected for this one.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 13 Sep 2019, 5:17 pm

RiscaGame wrote:Wouldn’t have Evans at 8. I find it a little strange that Rhodri is captain.

Wonder what Leon Brown makes of not starting, whereas Lee and Evans are for them. I’m sure he thinks nothing of it, but it doesn’t really send the right message to Welsh selectors, if Fairbrother keeps on getting selected over him.  


Yeah, the biggest thing for Brown (and for Wales) is getting games under his belt. He’s never going to kick on if he’s always regarded as an impact sub. The best thing that could happen for Brown is getting 20+ starts for the Dragons this season.
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Post by RiscaGame Fri 13 Sep 2019, 5:59 pm

Agreed.

With the Evans selection too, I honestly think for the high tempo game we want to play, you need Basham in instead. We could probably have played Basham or Griffiths 8 instead.

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Post by Stone Motif Fri 13 Sep 2019, 10:51 pm

The Oracle wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Wouldn’t have Evans at 8. I find it a little strange that Rhodri is captain.

Wonder what Leon Brown makes of not starting, whereas Lee and Evans are for them. I’m sure he thinks nothing of it, but it doesn’t really send the right message to Welsh selectors, if Fairbrother keeps on getting selected over him.  


Yeah, the biggest thing for Brown (and for Wales) is getting games under his belt. He’s never going to kick on if he’s always regarded as an impact sub. The best thing that could happen for Brown is getting 20+ starts for the Dragons this season.

If he can't get the better of Bevington and Brok in training you'd be throwing twenty games to see if you can develop a ball carrying prop for Wayne Pivac
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Post by The Oracle Fri 13 Sep 2019, 11:13 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:Wouldn’t have Evans at 8. I find it a little strange that Rhodri is captain.

Wonder what Leon Brown makes of not starting, whereas Lee and Evans are for them. I’m sure he thinks nothing of it, but it doesn’t really send the right message to Welsh selectors, if Fairbrother keeps on getting selected over him.  


Yeah, the biggest thing for Brown (and for Wales) is getting games under his belt. He’s never going to kick on if he’s always regarded as an impact sub. The best thing that could happen for Brown is getting 20+ starts for the Dragons this season.

If he can't get the better of Bevington and Brok in training you'd be throwing twenty games to see if you can develop a ball carrying prop for Wayne Pivac

Yeah, if he’s getting munched in the scrum for 5 games on the trot then I wouldn’t advocate carrying on for 15 more without changing things up. Sure, he has to prove he can get a place first. Just saying he needs games. I seem to remember Fairbrother having his share of issues too but a good run of games has seen him come good. I’m sure we could extend that to Brown too in a well managed way.
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Post by maestegmafia Sat 14 Sep 2019, 2:54 pm

First game sounded entertaining

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Post by maestegmafia Sat 14 Sep 2019, 5:52 pm

Sounds like the Dragons got off to a decent start in the second match.

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Post by The Oracle Sat 14 Sep 2019, 8:46 pm

Nice win for the senior team. Lots of positives from both matches. There’s been so many false dawns that I’m really not getting any hopes up. But looking to kick on a bit this season. Winning the majority of home games would be a nice target. And getting 1 or 2 away wins, even though that sounds small fry, would be a great achievement (relatively speaking) too.
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Post by RiscaGame Sat 14 Sep 2019, 10:29 pm

Kind of unfair for Dean, as I targeted six wins last season, with an idiot in charge at the start. I expect less this season, because we don’t play Kings twice (for one). I just want us to not hide at all and whatever our game plan is, play it home or away.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 15 Sep 2019, 12:26 pm

Dragons played some good rugby. Scarlets looked poor which should be a concern given who they had out. Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into a pre-season though.

Some observations: it looked as if we had the better of their scrum (first half at least), Evans and Lee didn’t look like World Cup props funnily enough.
Griffiths was very good again. Hopefully he doesn’t have a lot of injuries this season, I believe he could be first choice for Wales.
Nansen off injured early on, we are crying out for more locks in this team as Davies didn’t look great.
Jordan Williams very good in open-field play, set up a couple tries.
Couple errors gave them tries, and both sides were throwing it to nobody at times.

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Post by RiscaGame Tue 17 Sep 2019, 6:39 pm

I’ve just seen the sixty second highlights. Nice tries again. A few risky passes, but I’m just enjoying us playing without fear for now. Really hope they take that to Munster.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Sep 2019, 7:23 pm

Interesting selections really, for Dragons and the A’s. Good to see Brown starting for his development. I didn’t expect Botica to be the replacement ten, but I guess it’s a stopgap until Lewis is fit. Great to see Basham in the 23, but I think I would rather him start.

For the A’s, great to see Dylan Bartlett from Risca involved. Didn’t expect him to get a chance this season, given that he’s playing for Cardiff Met instead of a Prem team currently.

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Post by The Oracle Fri 27 Sep 2019, 7:29 pm

I think Botica really impressed in those A games recently. He was at the heart of a lot of those nice flowing moves and running rugby in the links that were posted up (I think). Maybe Ryan sees something in him he likes. But yes, if Lewis is injured then he might just be a stop gap. Would be great if Botica kicks on though and we have 3 decent 10s fighting it out for a starting spot.
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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 27 Sep 2019, 7:54 pm

Nansen must still be injured, I think that'll be the story of his season. We might need to offload him and get someone else, as Davies and Williams don't cut it for me. Both of them would be good for the A's though. Benjamin has an ankle injury and Howells was a hand injury I think?

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 27 Sep 2019, 10:30 pm

Yeah Botica did look good in those games. I would love for him to come through now, I just am not sure if he can. That said I don’t really rate Robson, so I would be happy for Botica to get a shot over him.


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Post by The Oracle Sat 28 Sep 2019, 8:09 pm

laughing haha at myself for getting sucked in to yet another false dawn picard I bought in to the pre-season hype, again, and somehow expected us to have a steely edge and an ability to score more tries this season.

Pumped 39-9 away to a team missing many more players than us due to the World Cup. 39-9! Not even slightly close. That’s a thrashing.
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Post by RiscaGame Sun 29 Sep 2019, 6:44 pm

I watched the game and to be fair, we started brilliantly first ten minutes. We’ve also gone to places like that and conceded try bonus points in the first half, no matter what the Munster squad was. I thought we held out pretty well, when other Dragons teams would’ve fallen apart. One of the tries (4th) shouldn’t have counted, as Ollie Griffiths was taken off the ball too Wink

But it is a bit of an anti climax after the summer and that. But really, it’ll take a huge mindset shift to go to places like that and win. Ultimately a Munster team can change significantly and they still have a better culture than us. They’re all coached the same etc.

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Post by The Oracle Sun 29 Sep 2019, 7:54 pm

In fairness I was going on the scoreline alone, which is not a great way to judge the performance. Plus a couple of drinks on board. Cue the rant! Just hoped this season might be the one where we at least put up valiant efforts away from home. Give em a scare, close losses, etc. Maybe Munster’s not the best team to expect that against but during the World Cup is probably the best time to face them!
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Post by RiscaGame Sun 29 Sep 2019, 8:59 pm

Agreed, it’s the best time to play them. Genuinely, the control we had first ten, I dared to dream. But then, we just got over powered. Until we can make more singings and have players like Nansen fit, we will get bullied somewhat.

Losing Dixon was a momentum shifter too.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Mon 30 Sep 2019, 11:47 am

Hibbard's yellow card didn't help either, although I was glad the TMO talked the ref out of showing him a red!

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Post by RiscaGame Mon 30 Sep 2019, 12:49 pm

I had forgotten about that. No it didn’t help. He was a bit of a lucky boy, with the way his one arm went, but the correct call was not to give a red.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 02 Oct 2019, 1:28 pm

Nansen out for 3 months. Josh Lewis even longer. We should try and sign a lock.

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Post by RiscaGame Wed 02 Oct 2019, 6:48 pm

Hmmmm. Nansen has had rotten luck. I suppose it doesn’t help, when you sign an injured player mind, as they’re bound to push to get fit to an extent (although I know it’s a different injury to his others this time).

Feel for Josh Lewis. He’ll be sweating over a new contract now. Hopefully he gets a one year extension like Cudd did, as he is our second best ten.

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Post by Stone Motif Thu 03 Oct 2019, 12:33 pm

Letting Tovey go looks even more stupid now.

We can't sign a lock, we can't afford anyone decent. This is why we invested in a distributing 10, but we should also have signed a big back that can shunt back tacklers.
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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 03 Oct 2019, 3:22 pm

Even one that was temp would have sufficed and is surely affordable. Scarlets signed Kruger on loan. They also signed two other locks, one from Tonga and the other from Fiji. I can't believe that they're rolling in money.

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Post by Stone Motif Thu 03 Oct 2019, 4:15 pm

Rolling in a lot more than us, plus they don't have the stigma of being the worst pro side in Europe, if not the world. Even the Ospreys are signing dirt trackers from the Prem these days to fill second row quotas.
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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 04 Oct 2019, 2:00 pm

The game against Zebre should answer all the questions you have about the current season.

Dragons: J Williams; Talbot-Davies, T Morgan, Dixon, O Jenkins, S Davies, R Williams (capt); Bevington, Hibbard, Brown, J Davies, Screech, L Evans, Basham, Keddie.

Replacements: Lawrence, B Harris, Fairbrother, M Williams, Taylor, Knoyle, Botica, Warren.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Fri 04 Oct 2019, 2:15 pm

Have I missed news of Ashton Hewitt getting injured? I don't know why else he'd be missing from the squad, unless they're conscious that he's not long back.

EDIT: Ollie Griffiths too.

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Post by Stone Motif Fri 04 Oct 2019, 3:21 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Have I missed news of Ashton Hewitt getting injured? I don't know why else he'd be missing from the squad, unless they're conscious that he's not long back.

EDIT: Ollie Griffiths too.

Write up said he got kicked in the Chevy. Ollie Griffiths groin injury. Didn't see the game.
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Fri 04 Oct 2019, 3:26 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
Luckless Pedestrian wrote:Have I missed news of Ashton Hewitt getting injured? I don't know why else he'd be missing from the squad, unless they're conscious that he's not long back.

EDIT: Ollie Griffiths too.

Write up said he got kicked in the Chevy. Ollie Griffiths groin injury. Didn't see the game.

He got kicked in the face?!

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