Phil Price relishing Zebre challenge
LOOSEHEAD Phil Price is enjoying getting back to basics in the scrum with Newport Gwent Dragons.
The region are sure to get a stern examination of their set-piece prowess when they kick off their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign against Zebre on Friday.
It will be the first competitive game since the Dragons brought in former Wales prop Iestyn Thomas as a scrum coach to replace Danny Wilson, who left for the Scarlets at the end of last season.
It’s early days for the new set-piece tsar, who was only confirmed in his role at the start of the month, but Price believes the signs are promising.
“Iestyn has broken the scrummaging back down to basics,” said the 23-year-old from Bridgend.
“Instead of focusing too much on individual goals it is more of a collective effort as an eight.
“I suppose that he has been looking more towards power than being technical and that definitely suits the likes of (tighthead) Nathan Buck, who is a lot bigger than I am and can’t get as low as Danny wanted.
“I think we are improving slowly and did pretty well in our last friendly against London Irish.
“Iestyn has been in the game a long time and knows his position inside out.
“He knows all of the little tricks that you need in the front row and it hasn’t just been me as a loosehead that has benefited – he has a wide knowledge of the whole scrum.”
Price made 28 appearances last season but 16 of them were off the bench with Nathan Williams often getting the nod for big games.
But he produced a good performance in the win against Irish, both at the set piece and in the loose, and hopes to have the number-one jersey hanging on his changing- room peg on Friday.
“Nathan got a few more starts than me last season and that was well deserved because I don’t think my scrummaging was up to scratch,” he said.
“I have worked hard on it and have got myself bigger – back up to 115kg – so that I can impose myself a bit more.
“I definitely think I am in a better position than last season and it should be a great battle for the starts with Nathan but also Aaron Coundley , who is back to full fitness.”