THE cries for investment on the Newport Gwent Dragons tight five are justified but it’s also pertinent to point out a large dose of misfortune when it comes to the front row.
The Dragons have long had two young players with plenty of potential when it comes to filling the number one jersey only for them to seemingly be cursed by injury.
Aaron Coundley will always be a popular figure at Ebbw Vale after the service he gave to the Eugene Cross Park outfit when learning the ropes.
On one occasion he held his own against Adam Jones when the Wales tighthead was getting game time with Bridgend while his last appearance saw him bag a hat-trick.
Coundley is a talent, especially in the loose, but he just hasn’t been able to get out on the pitch enough because of a catalogue of injuries.
On Saturday he was struck down again, tearing his bicep in the Dragons’ Amlin Challenge Cup loss to Wasps.
Coundley, 23 today, has made just 10 regional appearances, but that is eight more than another former Wales Under-20s loosehead, whose injury CV is just as lengthy.
Dan Watchurst – who skippered the international young guns – suffered a sickening leg break last season and hasn’t played since scrumming down with Newport in December 2011.
But of all the front row absentees it is Lloyd Burns, who was forced to retire last year, that has been the most damaging.
The hooker from Pontypool was a real warrior – when he hit things they stayed hit.
Burns was a hard man and the Dragons could certainly do with someone of that ilk at the moment.