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Dragons RFC - new name, new season: 2022/23

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formerly known as Sam
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Post by Guest Mon 27 Jun 2022, 7:23 pm

First topic message reminder :

Dragons RFC - new name, new season: 2022/23  - Page 9 A979ec10


New name, bit of a rebrand…..but same old Dragons? Hopefully not!

Player movements:

Players In:

Bradley Roberts from Ireland Ulster
JJ Hanrahan from France Clermont
Rhodri Jones from Wales Ospreys
Sean Lonsdale from England Exeter Chiefs
Max Clark from England Bath
George Nott from England London Irish
Sio Tomkinson from New Zealand Highlanders
Angus O'Brien from Wales Scarlets
Lewis Jones from Wales Cardiff
Rob Evans from Wales Scarlets


Players Out:

Taylor Davies returned to Wales Scarlets
Dan Babos released
Mesake Doge released
Tom Griffiths released
Jordan Olowofela returned to England Leicester Tigers
Max Williams released
Josh Lewis to Wales Merthyr
Jonah Holmes to England Ealing Trailfinders
Dan Baker to Wales Aberavon
Owen Jenkins to Wales Wales Sevens
Will Talbot-Davies to England Coventry
Greg Bateman retired
Joe Maksymiw to France Agen
Evan Lloyd to Wales Ebbw Vale
Carrick McDonough to Wales Ebbw Vale
Adam Warren to Wales Llandovery
Harry Fry to England Hartpury University

Some decent signings there, on paper. And lots of players leaving who were not that good. But also losing a couple of decent ones in Doge and Holmes.

Fingers crossed for a few more wins this season Fingers Crossed Wales


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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Wed 29 May 2024, 3:44 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:Tafka - i dont agree with that but only because what is going on elsewhere.  Most Premiership sides have similar budgets, not to mention we are for the first time on comparable spends as the other 3 regions.  If Ospreys can put a team that can win half their games I dont accept our current loss ratio.  At the very least we should be winning more of our home games.

I understand the sentiment of shopping at the bottom, which is true, but having coaches who have no track records of shrewd signings is my point with this.  Booth is way ahead of the other 3 coaches in terms of building his teams with a combination of development and clever signings.  

I'd also point to Connacht as well.  They have for years managed to sign clever transfers and outperformed most of the regions with comparable spends.  

I refuse to believe this is anything other than a head coach issue.  If anything there probably hasn't been a better market in the last decade for picking up gems.  I will concede that would involve having to max out the overseas cap for the regions because currently there are no credible welsh options to be competitive next season.

I’m sorry but the English sides have only dipped down to the level of the regions in terms of budget for this year, and then we’re dipping down even lower next year and for at least 4 more years after that. Meanwhile England are going back up plus have the marquee signing budget too, so they can have 2 x £million players (I think) on top of their squad spend. Plus their squads seem to be bigger and there are more teams to spread the internationals around so, as Mikey says, the regions will be further hampered during the international window (and anything we play either side of it when Gatland has his extra time with the players).

I fully agree that most of the coaching tickets are not up to scratch. And I’ve said that before, i.e. we need to spend more there. However, I completely disagree that we have the same ability to attract the same players as English premiership teams. Absolutely no way. Which is why we end up with the off casts while English prem sides pick up the good ones.

Mikey makes a good point about the Ospreys - Booth has had a great squad to work with, partly due to him…… but he did not develop Smith, AWJ, North, etc. And he has not replaced them with similar quality. So he’s going to find it harder next year as the budget cuts really start to bite.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 29 May 2024, 8:32 pm

Dragons: Ewan Rosser; Rio Dyer, Joe Westwood, Aneurin Owen, Chris Hollis; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (capt); Rhodri Jones, Brodie Coghlan, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Ryan Woodman, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: James Benjamin, Rodrigo Martinez, Dmitri Arhip, George Nott, Dan Lydiate, Che Hope, Steff Hughes, Sio Tomkinson


Could someone/anyone explain how Coleman is always in, and worse yet, usually always starting? That isn't the only selection I have issue with, but given it's always a given when Dai is picking the team, I don't think he is the right guy for the job.

Would it hurt to put Hollis at centre? Dai must think so.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed 29 May 2024, 9:38 pm

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:
Welshmushroom wrote:Tafka - i dont agree with that but only because what is going on elsewhere.  Most Premiership sides have similar budgets, not to mention we are for the first time on comparable spends as the other 3 regions.  If Ospreys can put a team that can win half their games I dont accept our current loss ratio.  At the very least we should be winning more of our home games.

I understand the sentiment of shopping at the bottom, which is true, but having coaches who have no track records of shrewd signings is my point with this.  Booth is way ahead of the other 3 coaches in terms of building his teams with a combination of development and clever signings.  

I'd also point to Connacht as well.  They have for years managed to sign clever transfers and outperformed most of the regions with comparable spends.  

I refuse to believe this is anything other than a head coach issue.  If anything there probably hasn't been a better market in the last decade for picking up gems.  I will concede that would involve having to max out the overseas cap for the regions because currently there are no credible welsh options to be competitive next season.

I’m sorry but the English sides have only dipped down to the level of the regions in terms of budget for this year, and then we’re dipping down even lower next year and for at least 4 more years after that. Meanwhile England are going back up plus have the marquee signing budget too, so they can have 2 x £million players (I think) on top of their squad spend. Plus their squads seem to be bigger and there are more teams to spread the internationals around so, as Mikey says, the regions will be further hampered during the international window (and anything we play either side of it when Gatland has his extra time with the players).

Prem budget has been the same for a while now. Since COVID hit the finances. Most clubs aren't going to be spending up to the cap and then those that have previously said they will are going quiet on that promise after the drop in TV revenue.

There's certainly bargains out there but everyone is after them. Even if you do get them they'll be projects that'll need the right environment.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 30 May 2024, 8:02 am

There are a lot of exceptions with the English salary cap though. Really helps matters. It’s more than I thought. Yeah the Welsh could do the same, just as we could negotiate tax relief like in Ireland, but we haven’t and we don’t so it’s another area where we’re behind:

“THE LEVEL OF THE SALARY CAP

The level of the Salary Cap is proportionate and aligned to the growth of the business and is linked directly to the central distributions to the Clubs from Premiership Rugby.

For the 2023-24 Salary Cap Year, the level of the Salary Cap is £5,000,000 with the following credits and exclusions, which means that Clubs can spend at least £6.4m plus an Excluded Player Salary:

Home Grown Player Credits totalling £600,000 (up to £50,000 per player) – designed to incentivise Clubs to retain home grown talent;
EPS/International Player Credits totalling £400,000 (up to £80,000 per player) – to cover player absence during international periods;
Injured Player Credits totalling £400,000 – to allow replacement players to cover for long term injuries;
One Excluded Player (unless the original Two Excluded Players have existing contracts from June 2020) – their entire salary is excluded from the Salary Cap;
Unlimited education fund for players.
For the 2024-25 Salary Cap Year, the level is returning to £6,400,000 with the same credits and only one Excluded Player”

https://www.premiershiprugby.com/salarycap

So the regions next year could be spending up to £2m less than their English counterparts. That’s around 30% less (although I appreciate that not all English clubs will spend that much).


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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 30 May 2024, 8:04 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Dragons: Ewan Rosser; Rio Dyer, Joe Westwood, Aneurin Owen, Chris Hollis; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (capt); Rhodri Jones, Brodie Coghlan, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Ryan Woodman, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: James Benjamin, Rodrigo Martinez, Dmitri Arhip, George Nott, Dan Lydiate, Che Hope, Steff Hughes, Sio Tomkinson


Could someone/anyone explain how Coleman is always in, and worse yet, usually always starting? That isn't the only selection I have issue with, but given it's always a given when Dai is picking the team, I don't think he is the right guy for the job.

Would it hurt to put Hollis at centre? Dai must think so.

That squad will do nothing for those that say the Dragons have too many semi pros stealing a living!

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 30 May 2024, 9:35 am

On the prospect of bargains the Rebels have officially gone under. Potential shopping to be done over in Australia this off season as the other franchises will no be looking to accommodate the now out of contract Wallabies.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 30 May 2024, 10:20 am

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Dragons: Ewan Rosser; Rio Dyer, Joe Westwood, Aneurin Owen, Chris Hollis; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams (capt); Rhodri Jones, Brodie Coghlan, Chris Coleman, Ben Carter, Matthew Screech, Ryan Woodman, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: James Benjamin, Rodrigo Martinez, Dmitri Arhip, George Nott, Dan Lydiate, Che Hope, Steff Hughes, Sio Tomkinson


Could someone/anyone explain how Coleman is always in, and worse yet, usually always starting? That isn't the only selection I have issue with, but given it's always a given when Dai is picking the team, I don't think he is the right guy for the job.

Would it hurt to put Hollis at centre? Dai must think so.

That squad will do nothing for those that say the Dragons have too many semi pros stealing a living!

There is at least 3 in the starting team. Somehow one of them (Rhodri Jones) finds himself a nominee for player of the year.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 30 May 2024, 10:21 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:On the prospect of bargains the Rebels have officially gone under. Potential shopping to be done over in Australia this off season as the other franchises will no be looking to accommodate the now out of contract Wallabies.

I doubt the board is smart enough to realise this. I suppose the best will be mopped up by the other Aus franchises and Japanese clubs though anyway.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 30 May 2024, 10:54 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:On the prospect of bargains the Rebels have officially gone under. Potential shopping to be done over in Australia this off season as the other franchises will no be looking to accommodate the now out of contract Wallabies.

I doubt the board is smart enough to realise this. I suppose the best will be mopped up by the other Aus franchises and Japanese clubs though anyway.

I suspect the Wallabies will be. A number of the good squad players might be available though. Japanese clubs have quotas on foreign players so it's not a free for all. Clever clubs will not be looking at the big names but the promising players who are club level stalwarts or those that are just breaking through/about to break through.

Quite frankly the Dragons couldn't afford the well known names anyway but should be bargain shopping for the aforementioned types of players or at least asking around for any that might be WQ. Tigers did quite well with a couple from the Shute Shield in Australia in Porter and Potter.

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 30 May 2024, 8:12 pm

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:There are a lot of exceptions with the English salary cap though. Really helps matters. It’s more than I thought. Yeah the Welsh could do the same, just as we could negotiate tax relief like in Ireland, but we haven’t and we don’t so it’s another area where we’re behind:

“THE LEVEL OF THE SALARY CAP

The level of the Salary Cap is proportionate and aligned to the growth of the business and is linked directly to the central distributions to the Clubs from Premiership Rugby.

For the 2023-24 Salary Cap Year, the level of the Salary Cap is £5,000,000 with the following credits and exclusions, which means that Clubs can spend at least £6.4m plus an Excluded Player Salary:

Home Grown Player Credits totalling £600,000 (up to £50,000 per player) – designed to incentivise Clubs to retain home grown talent;
EPS/International Player Credits totalling £400,000 (up to £80,000 per player) – to cover player absence during international periods;
Injured Player Credits totalling £400,000 – to allow replacement players to cover for long term injuries;
One Excluded Player (unless the original Two Excluded Players have existing contracts from June 2020) – their entire salary is excluded from the Salary Cap;
Unlimited education fund for players.
For the 2024-25 Salary Cap Year, the level is returning to £6,400,000 with the same credits and only one Excluded Player”

https://www.premiershiprugby.com/salarycap

So the regions next year could be spending up to £2m less than their English counterparts. That’s around 30% less (although I appreciate that not all English clubs will spend that much).


I dont think that will be the case though. Talk in Wales is the 4.5 Cap actually wont come into effect next season with them all staying at 5 million + 1 marquee player on top of that.

Regarding the Prem, yes that may be the cap but almost all of the clubs (Bristol, Exeter, Leicester etc) have all come out and said they are not moving to the cap and staying around 5 million to recover. In fact its probably only Northampton, Bath & Saracens who may spend up to the cap although none of those have come out and said they will but the other 7 won't wont be. Bristol have the richest owner in the league and even they are being restricted to 5 million as per Lam to make them viable.

So the gap probably is a lot closer than you think. Probably evidenced by the fact that a lot of them are losing a lot of their star names in the off season. It's also why a lot of people in the Prem have come out and said England needs to keep the selection law in place or they will lose a lot more.

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Post by Welshmushroom Thu 30 May 2024, 8:18 pm

My question is if we are spending 5 million next season, does anyone think we are overpaying some players. Because on paper we have a couple of top draw players but everything under that looks a lot weaker than other teams around the same spending power.

We know we probably cant get superstars either but i still maintain there are plenty of quality talents out there that we should be able to offer first team chances to that are getting no top end gametime.

The major issue facing Cardiff, Dragons, Scarlets is the lack of development that took place has left virtually no welsh options available in most of the key positions. WRU & the regions may have to accept for the next 2-3 years that they have to get a good amount of overseas players to plug the gap until they can get the next crop through (assuming the pathways are actually sorted out - which given the whole EDL debacle is unlikely as I'm not sure the WRU will get the right plan in action).

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 31 May 2024, 10:26 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/articles/cmllk9470p4o

"We see his long-term future with us," said Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan.

Leon Brown and Dai Flanagan need to go.

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Post by Welshmushroom Fri 31 May 2024, 11:07 am

Well that's not the news im hoping to hear.....Dai what are you doing to me.....

If he does resign I reckon its another tough season on the cards next year..... Guess on the plus side my I know I can take a holiday whenever I want next year Smile

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 31 May 2024, 9:40 pm

I think we’ll be okay versus scarlets now that I’ve seen their front row and fly-half. It’s just as bad if not worse than what we are putting out Smile.

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Post by RiscaGame Sat 01 Jun 2024, 10:39 am

Funny side really.

I am happy with the likes of Coughlan, Westwood and Rosser getting opportunities, but agree on the TH issue. I don't really like most of our front row replacements either.

I don't see the value in Brown having any deal, nor do I for Lydiate which was mooted this week. We can't plead budget constraints and then offer players any form of wage, that don't represent value for money. I don't agree with Flanagan suggesting Lydiate should look for a defence coach opportunity either. It just seems to contradict our message that we are looking to strengthen our back room staff. If we are looking at developing backroom staff from Wales, then it shouldn't just be off an opinion that he's good with youngsters and is/was a good defender so would make a good coach.

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 01 Jun 2024, 2:01 pm

The way I see it is we have a real chance to start developing some players early. Most URC sides will also have to develop at some stage and it would make sense to get a early start on the competition.

But the game is about fundamentals still and no matter what that is the area we really need to improve. I honestly think with our backline talent coming through we will score tries if we can sort our front 8 out.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sat 01 Jun 2024, 9:22 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:The way I see it is we have a real chance to start developing some players early.  Most URC sides will also have to develop at some stage and it would make sense to get a early start on the competition.  

But the game is about fundamentals still and no matter what that is the area we really need to improve.  I honestly think with our backline talent coming through we will score tries if we can sort our front 8 out.

Who is he developing early? Lydiate? Coleman? Coleman is semi-pro, another one. Let us just be honest about it so it can be more acceptable for some. Reed is the same, I don't have to say much about that because the evidence is available via playback for every one of our games, but there's still going to be people that think he's good. For all the criticism, I think I can at least credit Dai with reaching this realisation! Hence him mentioning buying another fly-half.

I also think we have some talent in the backline. I still think it's a good idea to trial Rio at 15. Now more than ever, we need 5 more new players in the front 5.

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Post by Welshmushroom Sat 01 Jun 2024, 11:57 pm

He's not at the moment. But im hoping guys like Westwood get a good run out next year and players like Morgan & Hope.

He has to know at this point most of his senior guys can't get the job done.

Then again it is Dai so who knows what he will do.....

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Wed 05 Jun 2024, 3:13 pm

Sam Hobbs announced as our new forwards coach. Steps up from academy head coach. Hmmmm.

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Post by mikey_dragon Wed 05 Jun 2024, 7:40 pm

Not a good signing, for me. I guess he's bargain basement though. It's advisable to also bring in a scrum coach, but it would need to be someone good.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 06 Jun 2024, 5:37 pm

Chris Hollis has left the Dragons and returned home. Only a short term contract apparently. What did he play, a game or two?! What a waste of time that was.

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Post by mikey_dragon Thu 06 Jun 2024, 7:15 pm

I wonder who's decision it was? Conbeer is also available and a decent player, surely it's just a coincidence though. I would have probably kept Hollis and put him at centre, but I'm someone who doesn't want to see Owen and Hughes there.

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Post by TAFKA The Oracle Thu 06 Jun 2024, 10:48 pm

I would like to see us go for Conbeer. Good player.

I think maybe Owen is worth persevering with for a bit longer, given his age and potential (that others seem to see in him). Time to move on from Hughes for sure. He was a good pro but is at the end of his career and we need better.

Reading more about Hollis - it seems he was on a trial. I wasn’t aware of that. All the reports at the time seemed to be suggesting a coup for the Dragons in landing a Saffa, signing with immediate effect, etc. but nothing mentioned a trial. Sort of glad in a way that we’ve had the balls to let him go if he wasn’t right for us. Often we’ll sign them on a 2 or 3 years contact and they flop in the 1st season!

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian Fri 07 Jun 2024, 11:47 am

I hope we're not afraid to play Westwood and Ackerman next season. I don't think Steff Hughes's 'leadership' is sufficient to guarantee him a starting spot.

I don't think we should sign Conbeer. He'd be another Jordan Williams for us IMHO.

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 07 Jun 2024, 1:32 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:I hope we're not afraid to play Westwood and Ackerman next season. I don't think Steff Hughes's 'leadership' is sufficient to guarantee him a starting spot.

I don't think we should sign Conbeer. He'd be another Jordan Williams for us IMHO.

Forgot about Ackerman, but he might not be available for some months into the season. Westwood at centre seems to be going well, I'd play him at 12, Wilson 13. Conbeer is a good winger but I'm sceptical about signing him and he doesn't have an amazing injury record either.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 07 Jun 2024, 11:44 pm

TAFKA The Oracle wrote:I would like to see  us go for Conbeer. Good player.

I think maybe Owen is worth persevering with for a bit longer, given his age and potential (that others seem to see in him). Time to move on from Hughes for sure. He was a good pro but is at the end of his career and we need better.

Reading more about Hollis - it seems he was on a trial. I wasn’t aware of that. All the reports at the time seemed to be suggesting a coup for the Dragons in landing a Saffa, signing with immediate effect, etc. but nothing mentioned a trial. Sort of glad in a way that we’ve had the balls to let him go if he wasn’t right for us. Often we’ll sign them on a 2 or 3 years contact and they flop in the 1st season!

Kirwan before his holiday was suggesting he would get a full contract, so something happened there. Dai even mentioned how he could give us front foot and let Rio etc get space off him. I doubt he was just on about judgement day, which wasn’t the case.

Very strange. It was a temp contract always, but to announce him leaving out of the blue seems peculiar.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 07 Jun 2024, 11:45 pm

Unless they want to invest in Westwood as Mikey says. But it’s still strange timing.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri 07 Jun 2024, 11:47 pm

I’m not too sad he’s not signed btw. I want to see more of Ewan Rosser, Westwood and even Huw Anderson at 15 or wing. But all the chat was he’s going to be permanent.

Ultimately it looks like a waste now, given we are on less budget. He still cost something to pay. We could’ve looked at others. Flanagan is apparently pro youngster too.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 17 Jun 2024, 11:38 am

Marnus van der Merwe (hooker), Alec Hepburn (LH), Ellis Mee (15), Max Douglas (Lock), Henry Thomas (TH), Blair Murray (utility).

Scarlets are well ahead of us in the signings IMO, especially as Dai is desperate to keep Lydiate and Brown. I wonder what he took from the game against them on JD? Where they beat us up front... Sam Lousi is staying on too, not sure about Fifita but I thought they might be keen to get his wages off the books. Both were rumoured to be off.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 17 Jun 2024, 1:31 pm

I actually think those Scarlets signings are pretty naff.

I dont rate Thomas as a Tighthead.  Hepburn will also have a question mark on him given he couldnt get into the Exeter side for over a year.  Douglas I'm not sure has the physicality needed for this league.  Mee and Murray are totally untested at Pro level so who knows if they are good enough or not.  

van der Merwe is probably the only half descent signing in that bunch and even then he will be warming the bench so not even one of their critical positions.

If that is the extent of their signings they are going to have to get comfortable with the bottom of the league.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 17 Jun 2024, 3:26 pm

Mee and Murray are pro players, not sure where you got otherwise from. VDM has to start over Elias and the everlasting Shaun Evans, neither are good enough at throwing. Their signings/re-signings crucially, are within the front 5. I don't rate O'Connor or Mathias, amazing how they're in the Wales squad... Scarlets should be above Dragons and Cardiff as it stands. Cardiff aren't doing enough to bring in front 5 players, yet. I know they signed Southworth as another LH but he's probably average, and bizarrely is now being described as a TH. They're continuing to sign open-sides and average back-row hybrids, I don't think at this rate they will ever learn.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 17 Jun 2024, 6:37 pm

Hepburn has had some little injuries over the last two seasons. Much like Shickerling he was left out of match day squads after it was announced he was off. Baxter has been trying to build up the squad to move forward and has mainly been playing players who are going to be there for the future.

Mee was Nottingham's fullback for last season, won supporters player of the season and was shortlisted for the Championship team of the season. Not sure he's a certain starter but he's potentially a young talent that could flourish over the next couple of years. He's still only 20, at 6ft4 he could fill out a bit more yet as well.

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