CHRIS KIRWAN: Dragons must adopt cautious approach with academy talent

BRIGHT TALENT: Dragons teenage lock Joe Davies in action for Bedwas

BRIGHT TALENT: Dragons teenage lock Joe Davies in action for Bedwas

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THROWING teenagers Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos into action in the Guinness Pro12 doesn't seem quite so risky when compared to the approach of Toro Rosso.

The Formula One team have given a drive to 16-year-old Max Verstappen, a young chap who will have to spray Shloer if he manages to make it on the podium next year.

The adage of being old enough if good enough is frequently trotted out in sport and that will continue to be the case at Newport Gwent Dragons.

The trio of teenagers above will be key members of the region's squad in the coming campaign along with Elliot Dee while Wales Under-20s internationals James Benjamin, Scott Matthews and Angus O'Brien will get their opportunities to impress.

Young lock Joe Davies, 18, already dwarfs seasoned campaigners Rynard Landman, Ian Gough and Andrew Coombs while the next batch of talent will soon come through.

Centres Barney Nightingale and Connor Edwards made impressive cameos off the bench for the senior squad in Sunday's pre-season win against Bristol and then played for the Under-18s the following afternoon.

That age-group produced an excellent performance to follow up a success against Northampton by turning over Wasps.

But, and I make no apology for repeating this view from previous columns, the talent must not be rushed.

Academy prop Leon Brown and wing Lloyd Lewis are among the players that will be sent out to Cross Keys this season but they cannot (and will not) be expected to have a heavy workload.

The Under-18s were impressive against Wasps and there were some big hits put in by both sides, but they were nothing compared to the brutal grind of Premiership and Championship rugby.

Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones has a wealth of options when selecting his hooker, locks, back row and wings.

But he is down to his last fit centres in Pat Leach and Jack Dixon while Jason Tovey is his only senior fly-half.

Hopefully he won't be forced to consider throwing more teenagers into the mix because of budgetary concerns. In the rush to produce the next gem we risk ruining players of great talent.

Comments (3)

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10:48am Thu 21 Aug 14

high x boy says...

Where has Lewis Robling gone ?
Where has Lewis Robling gone ? high x boy
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Newport76 says...

high x boy wrote:
Where has Lewis Robling gone ?
Jersey RFC
[quote][p][bold]high x boy[/bold] wrote: Where has Lewis Robling gone ?[/p][/quote]Jersey RFC Newport76
  • Score: 3

8:28am Fri 22 Aug 14

high x boy says...

Thank you Newport 76.
A loss to us I think.He would have made a good centre one day.
Thank you Newport 76. A loss to us I think.He would have made a good centre one day. high x boy
  • Score: 1

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