Academy boss delighted with young Dragons debutants

South Wales Argus: Academy boss delighted with young Dragons debutants Academy boss delighted with young Dragons debutants

JAMES Chapron wanted his Newport Gwent Dragons debutants to impress at Parc y Scarlets – but the academy manager was delighted the young prospects didn't stand out.

Four teenagers made their regional bows in the 21-13 LV= Cup defeat in Llanelli last Friday.

Starts were given to 17-year-old lock Joe Davies, 19-year-old openside Scott Matthews and 18-year-old centre Tyler Morgan while 18-year-old wing Ashton Hewitt came off the bench and is poised to get the nod from the off against London Wasps on Saturday.

Another – 19-year-old hooker Elliot Dee – made his first start at Parc y Scarlets after Amlin Challenge Cup appearances off the bench against Mogliano and Bath.

And Chapron was happy that the young talent, who took to the field alongside experienced first-teamers Adam Jones, Dan Evans, Wayne Evans, Ashley Smith and Kris Burton, didn't look like boys among men.

He said: "I was pleased that they didn't stand out for the wrong reasons! None of them looked out of place, that's so pleasing and will give them confidence.

"They will have learnt so much from the Scarlets game and that should show in the weeks and months to come.

"There is a major difference in the speed of the game and the decision-making. These boys are good athletes but you can talk all you like about the step up to regional rugby, they need to experience it.

"Tyler showed glimpses and has a real x-factor, Scott worked hard and acquitted himself well but will have learnt from a couple of poor decisions (at the breakdown) while Joe certainly didn't look out of place, working alongside Adam Jones and Rob Sidoli will have done him the power of good.

"The LV= Cup is invaluable because Friday will have been a light bulb moment; they now realise what it takes."

Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones had to operate without an academy at London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership last season and the former Ospreys boss has been quick to involve the youth coming through at Rodney Parade.

"Lyn feels that young players have to train with professional players to understand what is needed to become one," said Chapron.

"He has been keen to involve some of them with the first team and there is now real organisation and a desire to bring the talent through.

"Lyn didn't have an academy at London Welsh so appreciates its value."

The Dragons will stick with the mix of youngsters and fringe players for Saturday's encounter with Wasps (kick-off 12pm).

Saracens took command of Pool One with a bonus-point win last weekend while the Rodney Parade region, London Irish and Gloucester failed to get off the mark.

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