HOOKER Sam Parry believes Newport Gwent Dragons’ recent upturn at the set piece is down to a change of mindset – but acknowledges the need for plenty more hard graft.

The Rodney Parade region fared well in the scrum and lineout against Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys over the festive period.

There was frustration that the work of the front eight didn’t result in the Dragons taking the spoils yet at least they showed signs of progress.

“(Forwards coach) Rob Appleyard and (scrum coach) Iestyn Thomas have made us work really hard at the set piece and want us to us it as a weapon,” said 21-year-old Parry. “They stressed the need to change the perception of us in that area. Hopefully we are starting to do that but we do need to keep pushing on.

“The game will be won and lost up front against Connacht so as a pack we need to deliver again and if the backs can put us in the right areas we can get on top of teams.

“Tonight is going to be a challenge every bit as tough as the derby games but if we keep getting our processes right then we should be fine.”

Parry has started the last four games, taking his chance after veteran hooker Steve Jones tore a bicep.

“It was a big test to go up against (Ospreys ace) Richard Hibbard, who is probably the form hooker in Wales, and I enjoyed it,” said Parry.

“The derby games have given me a lot of confidence and I need to keep playing at a high standard.”