DRAGONS v ULSTER (Tonight, KO 7.05)
HOOKER Steve Jones believes Newport Gwent Dragons need to cut out their wasteful streak if they are to cause an upset against unbeaten Ulster this evening.
The Dragons welcome the RaboDirect Pro12 leaders to Rodney Parade on the back of a home defeat to Bayonne in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The performance was one of their best of a disappointing campaign yet it failed to yield a victory after a host of opportunities were butchered.
The Dragons have now lost five of their last seven games at Rodney Parade and cannot afford to be so slack when the whitewash is at their mercy this evening.
“We should have come away with a win after that performance against Bayonne,” said 35-year-old Jones, who is skipper this evening in the absence of openside flanker Lewis Evans, who has a groin injury.
“We created so many clear cut opportunities but only came away with one try. We fluffed two or three golden chances so need to improve our finishing.”
That task is made all the more daunting by Ulster’s defensive record.
They average just 12 points conceded per game and have shipped seven tries in seven games.
By comparison the Dragons average 24.5 points and 20 tries in eight games but Jones is relishing the task at hand rather than fearing it.
“It’s a good chance to test ourselves against the best,” he said. “Ulster have got a good pack and good backs.
“They are a side that work well together and have the ability to play the power game but also do well out wide.
“But we tend to do well against them and when big teams come to Rodney Parade we always want to put in big performances and turn them over.
“And we need to because we have to pick up points to push up the league to try and qualify for the European Cup.
“We haven’t performed well this season and we have underachieved, we all know that but stick together and have to build on what we did against Bayonne.
“But it’s all well and good performing well, we need wins.”