Dragons ready to fight fire with fire
CONNACHT v DRAGONS (Tomorrow, KO 5pm)
THE wind and rain of Galway often gives Connacht an edge but Newport Gwent Dragons cannot use the conditions as an excuse tomorrow night after getting acclimatised over the festive period, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Dragons’ derby defeats to Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys both took place on heavy pitches in horrendous weather.
In fact, the region’s last RaboDirect Pro12 triumph came in similar conditions when Connacht were the visitors at Rodney Parade on a filthy November night.
On all three occasions the victors were the ones who managed the game better with the boot.
Dragons fly-half Dan Evans outshone Connacht number 10 Dan Parks, pictured, when the teams met in Newport and they will have to win the territorial battle if they are to end a shocking record in Galway.
The region has won just once at the Sportsground – in May 2004 – and captain Lewis Evans knows why the hosts have such a successful record on their own patch.
“If Parks is playing, they have got an outstanding 10 who can kick them into good positions so we can’t afford any indiscipline,” said the flanker.
“We need to pin them back otherwise it’s going to be very tough. Connacht are a bit of a bogey side but the fact of the matter is we need to get a win over there.
“Last season we pushed them very close and, again, should have won but didn’t.
“We did come away with a bonus point and if we can go one step better that would be a nice start to 2013.”
Connacht head into the game on the back of four defeats and have been turned over in all four encounters with Welsh opposition this season.
If the Dragons can edge to their first Pro12 away win of the campaign then they would leapfrog their hosts in the table.
“Like against the Blues on Boxing Day it can be considered an eight-point game,” said Evans.
“We know how important the game is and need to play like we did against the Ospreys in terms of having a lot of positive moments in the scrums and lineouts.
“Connacht are similar to us in that they’re a dogged side with some flair, so we have to fight fire with fire.”