LOCK Ian Nimmo believes the spirit shown by Newport Gwent Dragons when they had a bonus-point win in the bag bodes well for one of their biggest tests of the season.
On Saturday they head to Dublin to take on European champions Leinster, but do so with a spring in their step after starting their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign with a bang.
Last Friday they crossed for four tries in the first half against Zebre at Rodney Parade to get the job done with minimum fuss.
The new Italian franchise tightened up after the break and showed that the Dragons still have plenty of work to do in terms of multi-phase attacking, but it was their efforts without the ball that made the difference.
They ruthlessly punished turnovers in the first half and then prevented Zebre from crossing for a consolation when the clock was winding down.
The signs are promising given that they had also secured a clean sheet in their final pre-season game against a London Irish boasting plenty of dangerous strike runners.
"It was a hectic game at times but everyone is pleased that we managed to keep Zebre from crossing the line," said 27-year-old Nimmo, who enjoyed a fine Dragons debut.
"They had some big boys, worked pretty hard and kept going until the end.
"Zebre’s style of rugby was frantic and that was a really good test of our defence – nothing is harder to defend against than unpredictability.
"In the last 10 or 15 minutes it would have been very easy for us to just settle up and accept them scoring a try or two but we kept them out.
"That was testament to the boys who came off the bench and shows how competitve our team is. The replacements wanted to prove that they can have a starting role.
"It’s always great to start with a win. It’ll be tough at Leinster but we’ve got the boys to do the job and importantly we all want to work hard for each other."
Leinster started their season with a 45-20 drubbing at the hands of the Scarlets on Saturday. Scott Williams, Liam Williams, George North (2), Andrew Fenby (2) and Kieran Murphy crossed for tries for the West Walians.