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

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 08 Jan 2020, 2:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

Because it seemingly hit his head. I understand why he did it, as they were slowing us down a fair bit and not getting penalised, but it needs to be a few more angles than the clip I have seen.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 08 Jan 2021, 10:48 pm

Hey Risca, congrats on the ‘blueness’! clap It’s like having one of the Dragons players captain Wales Very Happy Good choice by the 606 team OK

Agree with lots of the comments above. Roberts has been superb. Tompkins has not been great considering all of the hype. Knoyle - bread and butter of a scrum half is surely the passing. That last game when he was fizzing them up high, down low, behind the man.... I was slapping the sofa in frustration. It halts any momentum as the whole back line has to check their run and reset themselves. Why Rhodri is up and down the pecking order is anyone’s guess?

Lewis has made too many schoolboy errors at 10. Foot like a Sheriff’s badge (points in all directions) most of the time. Sam Davies, for his flaws, seems much the better option.

The frustrating thing is that a couple of seasons ago we were scoring lots of tries (relatively speaking) but had such a soft underbelly and poor pack that we were just getting shafted everywhere on the park. We might score 3 but concede 7. Now we’ve tightened up and have the best scrum I’ve seen us have in years and we’re struggling to score. I think the move to tighten up defence requires so much focus on structure that it has a negative impact on playing heads up, off the cuff rugby which suited us well over the past few years. Not saying we were world beaters in attack but we seemed to score more freely than now. Maybe teams are more scared of us now and put some effort into defence! king Laugh

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 09 Jan 2021, 9:29 am

Thanks Oracle. Love the comparison  laughing . You make a great point about us having a platform now and not being able to play off it. I know we have Gordon Ross more in charge of our attack now, but Barry Maddocks seems to escape a lot of criticism as skills coach, as our skills seem to be pretty off. I didn’t really rate him when he was attack coach either.

It’s so frustrating, because I thought Ryan was a pretty shrewd guy, but there can’t be anything to suggest Knoyle has been doing the basics of what you want from a 9 correctly. It’s also not a vote of confidence in his own signing Baldwin either. For me Lewis seems a bit rabbit in the headlights, but then if you can’t be sure what sort of service you’re going to get, then I would probably panic every time I was waiting for a pass too.

I really hope we go well today, but I’m not really looking forward to watching. I guess we have some impact off the bench in Dee, Carter, Williams and to a point Dixon, but I don’t see it being enough. Can see Myler giving us a bit of a lesson, especially with Jenkins at 15. TBH, I don’t really see any of our back three as that good under a high ball, so suspect they’ll be tested a lot today. I hope Doc can settle Tompkins down a bit and stop him spot blitzing and then doing fingertip tackles. I hope we can get Hewitt and Rosser into the game, as they can both be very dangerous.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 09 Jan 2021, 7:32 pm

Ultimately I think the selection of Lewis at 10 cost us that one. Whilst he did some good, his ‘vision’ and errors were quite costly - thinking of his missed tackle and poor passing.

There was good attacking intent from us, just need to speed up our reaction time and cut out the errors. The English Premiership is usually better to watch because of the speed of ruck. We saw some of that today, where the ball wasn’t in the ruck for long. Did the dry-ish pitch help? Wainwright has had a high work rate in the last couple of weeks, good to see as I thought he had stagnated a bit. Keddie has become a good 7, another one. Think we were also unlucky with some scrum calls early on in the game.

Credit to Ospreys for the win, and playing the full 80. I was always concerned about their driving maul. Always thought Luke Morgan was a terrible winger, never get why they think he’s amazing down at the Liberty.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 09 Jan 2021, 8:02 pm

Thought the ref made some strange calls at times. The scrum he pinged Bus (I think) for popping up, Ospreys seemed up first. He pinged us twice for not rolling but didn’t do them once, I don’t think? When you consider one was Taylor when a maul turned into a ruck and he had no chance of moving. Thought there were a few not straights too, but it isn’t why we lost. Haha

It’s frustrating when we have more of a go like we did tonight, because we could’ve got a lot more out of the other two derbies if we had. I would agree that Lewis was like a startled deer again. Tbf, Knoyle was a bit better today, but still we looked better when Williams was on, because he has a running threat too. If Shipp is fit or available, we really need to put Hibbard out to pasture. We also need to go for one of the four Ospreys hookers, as a better option than Hibbard.


Last edited by RiscaGame on Mon 11 Jan 2021, 12:21 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 10 Jan 2021, 11:16 am

It makes sense if one of the Ospreys 4 hookers came over to us, or Cardiff I guess as their hookers are quite poor. If Scarlets get John then perhaps they won’t need Pieter Scholtz, in which case I would hope we go for him. Still think Costelow could do with coming to us (or Ospreys), where he can be a permanent fixture in the 23. Why not, we always get told it’s a good thing if our players go to other Welsh Regions Very Happy.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon 11 Jan 2021, 11:06 am

RiscaGame wrote:It’s frustrating when we have more of a go like we did tonight, because we could’ve got a lot more out of the other two derbies if we had.

100%, although conditions were poor for the Blues game. No such excuse at Parc y Scarlets.

RiscaGame wrote:If Shipp is fit or available, we really need to put Hibbard out to pasture.

Agreed. What does he offer that Shipp doesn't?

There was a lot more to be positive about in that performance, and if we'd scored when we were on top in the third quarter, who knows. But the bottom line is that we didn't.

The other thing to mention is that our attack improved immediately when Rhodri Williams came on. It couldn't have been clearer. If these three games have established for Dean Ryan that our replacement half backs aren't up to it, then it hasn't been an entirely useless experiment. For what it's worth, I'd still have Babos ahead of Knoyle.

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Post by The Oracle on Mon 11 Jan 2021, 11:06 pm

Agreed about the scrum half.  If there’s one thing to stymie an attack it’s a scrum half who offers no attacking threat. The defence know that it need not defend so much around the ruck and can fan out wider.  So there’s less space for the attacking team to exploit.  If you have a sniper like Gareth Davies then it would be negligent to not leave defenders close to the ruck as he can and will exploit it, and has done so loads in the past.  Lots of other good scrum halves have done this too. So it keeps teams ‘honest’, to use a pundit sound bite. Knoyle either doesn’t have the pace or the instinct, or both, to do it so he’s not a threat.  And that limits us and empowers the opposition defence.  Rhodri, while not being top top class, does offer that sniping threat, albeit not at the level of some of the top internationals, and that keeps the opposition defence fixed and opens up space more across the pitch. Plus he can poach a few tries now and then too.

The only time in my rugby watching lifetime that I’ve seen a big slow ‘un at 9 be a threat, and a consistent threat, is Mike Phillips.  He could smash it up like a forward at times and created space with physicality and able to offload from contact so teams had to have players in and around the ruck to counter him.  And if they didn’t then they were punished. Such a useful weapon and made the defensive line more porous.  But he was a bit of a freak and we’re unlikely to see that type of player emerge often.  The best scrumhalves are therefore, for me, the nippy livewires who are an attacking threat from the base of the scrum.  Otherwise it’s just too easy for the opposition. And that’s what we’ve got with Knoyle.  Unfortunately we live in a time of performance data and stats so I'm wondering whether he comes out top in training in things like fitness, weight lifting, etc and so gets the nod over others he beats on those metics?  If not, I’m not sure how he gets the nod to be honest Headscratch
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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 12 Jan 2021, 8:51 am

This is what I think. I don't think Rhodri is anything more than a good club scrumhalf (I probably wouldn't really consider him for International recognition), but he is comfortably our best 9 as he does offer more than one facet of scrumhalf play. Knoyle offers no sniping threat and his passing is very inconsistent. Obviously we haven't seen Babos for a while, but from memory I think his passing was at least giving his flyhalf more time (although to be fair, his flyhalf was Super Gav, who could slow down time Wink)

There is obviously something I am missing and perhaps it is fitness etc, especially with running his own gym. It just feels like he's being rammed down our throats at the minute, with the unnecessary praise from Ryan. At least with Josh Lewis, there is no other obvious option currently (as Robson isn't great) but I feel there is in Knoyle's case.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 12 Jan 2021, 10:23 am

Unless he's hoping Knoyle clobbers someone, I see no need to have him. If only we had a young Mike Phillips. Would agree on Rhodri. I thought the same of Johnny Evans, very good and consistent club player, probably not international quality but on the fringes and could help out if necessary.

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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 11:13 am

mikey_dragon wrote:It makes sense if one of the Ospreys 4 hookers came over to us, or Cardiff I guess as their hookers are quite poor. If Scarlets get John then perhaps they won’t need Pieter Scholtz, in which case I would hope we go for him. Still think Costelow could do with coming to us (or Ospreys), where he can be a permanent fixture in the 23. Why not, we always get told it’s a good thing if our players go to other Welsh Regions Very Happy.

Well seeing as Ospreys have signed Thomas Francis for next season, you might now get your wish. OK

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 11:40 am

LordDowlais wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:It makes sense if one of the Ospreys 4 hookers came over to us, or Cardiff I guess as their hookers are quite poor. If Scarlets get John then perhaps they won’t need Pieter Scholtz, in which case I would hope we go for him. Still think Costelow could do with coming to us (or Ospreys), where he can be a permanent fixture in the 23. Why not, we always get told it’s a good thing if our players go to other Welsh Regions Very Happy.

Well seeing as Ospreys have signed Thomas Francis for next season, you might now get your wish. OK

What wish?

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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 11:56 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:It makes sense if one of the Ospreys 4 hookers came over to us, or Cardiff I guess as their hookers are quite poor. If Scarlets get John then perhaps they won’t need Pieter Scholtz, in which case I would hope we go for him. Still think Costelow could do with coming to us (or Ospreys), where he can be a permanent fixture in the 23. Why not, we always get told it’s a good thing if our players go to other Welsh Regions Very Happy.

Well seeing as Ospreys have signed Thomas Francis for next season, you might now get your wish. OK

What wish?

To have some Ospreys players to come over to Dragons. Surely Thomas Francis will not be cheap, so perhaps they will need to trim their squad to suit. Perhaps they will release some hookers, you never know.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 12:33 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:It makes sense if one of the Ospreys 4 hookers came over to us, or Cardiff I guess as their hookers are quite poor. If Scarlets get John then perhaps they won’t need Pieter Scholtz, in which case I would hope we go for him. Still think Costelow could do with coming to us (or Ospreys), where he can be a permanent fixture in the 23. Why not, we always get told it’s a good thing if our players go to other Welsh Regions Very Happy.

Well seeing as Ospreys have signed Thomas Francis for next season, you might now get your wish. OK

What wish?

To have some Ospreys players to come over to Dragons. Surely Thomas Francis will not be cheap, so perhaps they will need to trim their squad to suit. Perhaps they will release some hookers, you never know.

If I had one wish, I'd wish for more than Ospreys players! I just think it makes sense for them to lose a hooker, and Dragons need one. We'd welcome back Parry but I imagine it will be one of Otten or Lake. Francis is in the Wales 38 and Ospreys now have a wealthy backer so I'm not sure this effects them too much. It's also a bit pointless for Scarlets to be giving their better fly-half (Costelow) so little game time, especially when Jones and AOB had poor form - I can't see them letting go of Costelow now anyway. The moves would benefit Wales and Dragons IMO, but all parties would need to agree.

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Post by LordDowlais on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 4:12 pm

Yep, makes sense to me.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 5:01 pm

Be interesting to know when some Ospreys contracts are up, especially amongst the Hookers. I wonder given they are seemingly in a bit of a better financial position than us, if they are able to re-sign players. All I've heard about Dragons is uncertainty over who we can re-sign. There was a piece in the SWA about Adam Warren before and then the other day, news about Jamie Roberts wanting to sign an extension. The Roberts one is a no brainer and probably one I would've liked done by now.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 5:11 pm

Any reason why there's uncertainty? Is it to do with the WRU not giving the Regions money?

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 5:15 pm

In positive news however, Greg Bateman, Joe Maksymiw Sam Davies and Jordan Williams are likely to be involved in our next two scheduled games.

There has been talk of Ospreys v Dragons being moved to next weekend, but according to the SWA article, we seem keen not to do that.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 5:19 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Any reason why there's uncertainty? Is it to do with the WRU not giving the Regions money?

I think because of the budgets aye. The budgets have been dropped for next season, due to the pandemic anyway and I would say the loan we are supposedly getting doesn't help a great deal. Fingers crossed, we get some sort of grant as it would be a shame to not be able to re-sign actual decent pros like Warren and especially Roberts. With issues like the pitch due to be relaid too, obviously finances are very tight.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 13 Jan 2021, 8:42 pm

Well if we don't get the additional loan / grant, everyone will go bust. It appears the WRU are still clueless. Whilst there are some I was hoping to re-sign, I also hoped for new signings. Rowlands is the rumoured one, but he could also go to either Scarlets or Blues too.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri 15 Jan 2021, 10:53 am

Rowlands to the Scarlets would make sense, seeing as they're losing two locks at the end of the season.

Great to hear that Jordan Williams is back, we've really missed him.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 15 Jan 2021, 11:13 am

It would make sense, but the general consensus is it is a done deal for him to come to us.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon 18 Jan 2021, 12:55 pm

Looks like Screech might be going (back) to the Blues to make room for Rowlands.

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon 18 Jan 2021, 1:33 pm

When I first saw about this, I had forgotten about Rowlands, so wasn't too chuffed at all.

I would still be concerned if he left though, as it is worrying that we are being outbid for somebody who is pretty key to us and won't be for them. With news again about us unsure who we can re-sign and things like this, it makes me worry about other things like will the planned takeover take place at all etc.

Hopefully it's just his agent flexing or something and we keep him. Screech would always be my first choice, even if we signed Rowlands (I would pair those two). I am not always convinced by Davies. Maksymiw hasn't been able to show a great deal yet and Carter and Max Williams are still inexperienced.

Can't blame Screech moving on, if he is benefiting financially and maybe it suits us for somebody who could be a relatively high earner to leave. Still think it's a shame though.


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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 18 Jan 2021, 1:50 pm

That, and what happened to Regions can't nick other Regions' players?

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Mon 18 Jan 2021, 2:18 pm

Screech has been consistently good for us, a real servant as they used to say.

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