Parade is not much of a ‘fortress’ for Dragons now
THE walls of ‘Fortress Rodney Parade’ have been scaled a few too many times for Newport Gwent Dragons’ liking of late.
The region were drubbed 46-19 by Ulster last Friday – their sixth RaboDirect Pro12 defeat out of 11 home fixtures in 2012.
The Dragons’ home advantage has seemingly disappeared as they have scored 226 points in those games and conceded 230, while they have crossed for 21 tries and shipped the same amount.
Given that they won just twice on their travels last season and that all three of their trips this term have been pointless, it is an alarming trend as they sit one from the bottom of the table.
Ulster hooker Rory Best, however, is hopeful that the Dragons can ride out the storm and send a few of the leaders’ rivals for the playoffs packing.
“We knew that we were going to be in a fight, our past record in Newport showed that,” said the 62-times capped Ireland front row forward after Friday’s game.
“It was always going to be a tough game so we came with a lot of strength across the board.
“It hasn’t been a great start to the season for the Dragons while we have been going well and were determined to keep our 100 per cent record, but we knew that game was a potential stumbling block.
“We certainly came here with a lot of respect for them. They have a lot of quality players and just have to dig in, I’m sure it will click for them and I am just glad it didn’t happen against us.
“We’ve been there ourselves a few years ago. When you are struggling for results things like interceptions and charge downs tend to go against you.
“But the Dragons had a quality lineout against us and disrupted us in the scrum – we struggled to come to grips with them at times – so those are two important building blocks.”
However, unless the region cut out the mistakes that plagued them in a disastrous second half they will stand no chance of avoiding defeat in Glasgow on Friday. The Scottish outfit have won their last five league games to climb to third in the table.
“You can’t win a game when you gift the opposition 21 points like we did against Ulster,” said Wales winger Will Harries.
“It’s frustrating for both backs and forwards – we feel like we aren’t getting enough good ball but I suppose they are annoyed when they win us some and we make mistakes. We’ve got to try to get through this as a team. For parts of the game it’s coming together but for other parts we are just rubbish.
“It’s another tough one against Glasgow and we need to tighten up all areas.”
For all their troubles the Dragons are just five points behind Cardiff Blues as the struggling Welsh pair battle for Heineken Cup qualification spots.