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Dragons want to emulate Warriors

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Sep 2010

They may have won Saturday’s bruising encounter but the Dragons have highlighted Glasgow’s consistency as they look to emulate their Scottish rivals.

The Dragons received plenty of praise last term as they secured the third Welsh Heineken Cup spot after beating the likes of Munster, Leinster and the Ospreys in a campaign that saw plenty of progress.

But while the Dragons took some well-deserved plaudits, it was Glasgow who sealed a top-four finish and an inaugural Play-Off berth.

And with the Dragons now looking to push on and improve on last season’s seventh-place showing, club captain Tom Willis admits his side can learn from Glasgow’s achievements last time out.

“It would be nice to be like Glasgow or to be something similar,” said Willis, who missed Sunday’s 23-11 win in Round 2 of the new season as he continues to nurse an ankle injury.

“While they don’t have a lot of real stars, they’re a very consistent team and they’re very well led around the field.

“It’s now up to us to demonstrate some of their qualities over the length of the season because they are a silent achiever of sorts, despite not having a big cupboard full of silverware."

The Dragons and Warriors shared the spoils in their two league games last year and in their two Heineken Cup encounters but the major difference between the teams when it came to their overall records last term was their away form.

The Dragons’ successes against the giants of the Magners League had one thing in common: they all came at fortress Rodney Parade.

Winning in Newport has never been a problem. Mimicking that form on the road most certainly has.

The Dragons lost just twice at home in the 2009/10 season but managed only one win on their travels.

Glasgow, on the other hand, were far more successful on their travels, picking up four wins, two draws and a total of 22 points on the road.

When you consider that the Dragons managed just six points away from Rodney Parade and finished 12 points behind the Warriors in the end-of-season standings before being beaten 40-17 by Connacht in this year’s opener, it becomes glaring obvious where their problems lie.


The Dragons were beaten by Connacht in their first away game

“We’ve demonstrated over recent seasons that we’re a very tough team to play at home,” added Willis.

“The key for us is picking up points away from home and obviously we didn’t make a good job of that in our first outing of the season. It’s important that we pick up points on the road, whether that be gaining cheeky bonus points or grabbing a ‘W’.

“We’re pretty confident that we’ll be tough to beat at home, regardless of who the opposition is. It’s what we can do away from home that will hold us in good stead in the overall outcome over the course of the year.

“We’d like to be in the top four. We came very close last year but fell just a little bit short. If you take a closer inspection of our season, we picked up very few away wins and very few away points.

“If we can pick up away points, there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging for a top-four spot.

“It’s a mental hardness. It’s about going to away games with a very narrow, simple focus about what you’re trying to achieve.

“It would be nice to get a win early but it’s a mental thing, with the guys having a very clear focus about what we’re trying to do and being able to handle pressure situations away from Rodney Parade."

The Dragons’ next chance to improve upon their disappointing away record comes this Saturday when they make their shortest journey of the year to face the Blues at the Cardiff City Stadium.