No long break for underpowered Dragons

First published in Sport

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons finish their season on Saturday but will soon be back in the gym under orders to bulk up, writes Chris Kirwan.

Director of rugby Lyn Jones has given his charges just three weeks off in a bid to make them pack more of a punch next season.

The region will soon be setting up camp at the state of the art Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach.

The players will be put through their paces by a new head of conditioning following Alex Lawson's departure for Japan and Jones has been holding discussions with a leading candidate.

Once he puts pen to paper he will be charged with making the Dragons a heavier, more powerful team.

Jones said: "There's not a three-month shutdown between seasons, there's a three-week gap for players to regenerate and get over injuries ready to come in and start working again.

"I don't see any need to celebrate finishing a season, let's get it over and get on with the next one.

"These boys need to bulk up; we need to be far more powerful, stronger, heavier and more dynamic than we are at the moment if we are going to challenge any side in the league.

"We have been investing off the field to help the squad become the best that they can and we have a lot of work to do.

"All players in the squad need to bulk up – we are underweight and we are underpowered."

Not all of the Dragons' squad are bound for the beach.

Number eight Taulupe Faletau will soon be joining up with Warren Gatland's squad for June's two-Test tour to South Africa and lock Andrew Coombs, wing Tom Prydie and flanker Lewis Evans are also hoping to get a call-up.

The region's 11-strong Wales Under-20s contingent – including first teamers Hallam Amos, Jack Dixon, Elliot Dee and Tyler Morgan – start their preparations for the Junior World Championship on Monday.

New recruits Lee Byrne and Boris Stankovich have also had their seasons extended by Clermont Auvergne and Leicester's playoff challenges.

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