HEAD coach Darren Edwards has acknowledged there is plenty of room for improvement despite Newport Gwent Dragons kicking off their season with a thumping bonus-point win.
The region avoided a potential banana skin when they beat RaboDirect Pro12 new boys Zebre 37-6 at Rodney Parade last Friday Given that they recorded a five-point haul – something they failed to do in the league in 2011/12 – it was a performance that gave reason for optimism.
But Edwards expects his players to produce a far better display with ball in hand over the coming weeks, starting with Saturday’s formidable trip to take on European champions Leinster in Dublin.
He said: “Five points, no tries against – it was a nice start to the season but there are a lot of areas to polish up on.
“There is plenty more to come from this team and that’s pretty exciting.
“We didn’t put any set-piece starters together in attack against Zebre and that was a feature of our pre-season win against London Irish.
“Our defence was excellent but we need to do more in attack, though I thought our cutting edge when the boys turned the ball over was outstanding.
“The boys finished off our tries fantastically well and I was really, really pleased with our back three.
“Dan Evans, Tom Prydie and Will Harries all looked dangerous and to think that we still have strike runners to come back (from injury) in Adam Hughes and Tonderai Chavhanga. That’s real firepower.”
Leinster, Pro12 runners-up last season after suffering a home loss in the final to the Ospreys, suffered a nightmare start to the season when drubbed 45-20 by the Scarlets.
The Irish province fielded an under-strength side at Parc y Scarlets but are likely to make a host of changes for their first game of the campaign at the Royal Dublin Society.
The Dragons are likely to also rotate their squad given that they lock horns with Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade seven days later.
And Edwards was delighted at the impact made by his replacements against Zebre.
He said: “I wanted to make changes in the Zebre game and had players of the calibre of Ashley Smith on the bench. That’s a nice feeling to have as a coach.
“The players we brought on were strong and that’s where we’ve lacked in the past.
“To maintain an intensity to the end was impressive.
“I would have loved to finish with a flurry of tries but to keep a clean sheet in defence showed that we were ruthless in a different way that was just as pleasing.”