CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: There's more than one dimension to being a prop
11:10am Thursday 13th September 2012 in Sport
PROPS are quick to stress that the set piece is their bread and butter but a moment late on against Leinster highlighted a dilemma facing Newport Gwent Dragons.
Replacement tighthead Tim Ryan went on a stunning 30-metre carry that bettered anything managed all game by a back row forward.
It wasn’t just Ryan who impressed off the bench; Aaron Coundley also got around the paddock to great effect, something that fans of Ebbw Vale and Newport know he is capable of.
Saturday’s encounter with Cardiff Blues will be fascinating at scrum time and Phil Price, Steve Jones and Dan Way are set to return after putting their feet up last weekend.
Their primary task remains to lay the foundations for the Dragons’ attack but the ability to contribute with ball in hand is another key value.
Some professional games contain hardly any scrums while plenty seem to be resulting in free-kicks when trigger-happy front rows go early in their eagerness to win the hit.
Props are useless if they can’t at least hold their own at the set piece, but nor are they much value if they don’t contribute in attack and defence.
Ryan, a former back row forward, didn’t get the chance to show that he can scrummage at the Royal Dublin Society but he did show what he can do in broken play.
And that may become a talking point at Dragons selection meetings.