PLAYMAKER Sam Davies believes the Dragons are in their best shape for years as they prepare to kick off their United Rugby Championship campaign.

Dean Ryan’s men have the chance to get the season off to a flying start when they welcome the Ospreys to Rodney Parade on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

It’s an opportunity for the Dragons, traditionally the worst Welsh region, to make a big statement after bolstering their squad this summer.

Director of rugby Ryan has strengthened the tight five with Wales lock Will Rowlands, Samoa loosehead Aki Seiuli and Fiji tighthead Mesake Doge and added pace behind with Jordan Olowofela and Cory Allen.

There are 20 capped players in a squad that has been strengthened by the emergence of young talents such as Ben Carter, Aneurin Owen, Ben Fry and Josh Reynolds.

The Dragons might not have the depth of some of their rivals but boast a side that could at least be in the conversation for a top-eight finish and the play-offs.

South Wales Argus: CONFIDENT: Sam Davies believes the Dragons are in great shape for the URC (Picture: INPHO)CONFIDENT: Sam Davies believes the Dragons are in great shape for the URC (Picture: INPHO)

“We are in a good place, and probably a better place than the Dragons have been in years gone by,” said fly-half Davies.

“We’ve had some good additions to the squad and also a lot of the boys are a year further on. That will only benefit us and help us win games.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves but if we are in the mix for the top-eight that would be brilliant.

“It is a stronger squad and credit to Dean his recruitment because he has brought in boys that fit the Dragons and where we want to go.

“Alongside that we also have youngsters coming through who have done an outstanding job, as we saw in the summer with Ben Carter and Aneurin Owen getting called up by Wales. They are really maturing and they are going to be a year wiser for us.”

The Dragons started poorly in the PRO14 last season but finished strongly during the Six Nations when beating the Ospreys, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

They ended with a record of six wins from 16 fixtures, their best league winning percentage since 2010/11.

“When we were going fully-loaded into games at the end of the PRO14 we were able to show some really good signs and turn over some tough teams,” said Davies.

“It’s about us hitting the ground running on Sunday against a strong side – we are really excited to challenge ourselves.”

“We haven’t set targets, it’s just about winning as many games as we can rather than setting milestones,” he continued.

“We will try to win every game and that will be tough with four South African teams coming into a competition that already has top-class sides in it.

“But if we can get off to a good start on Sunday, who is to say we can’t beat the other teams as they come?”

The Ospreys are tipped by many to lead the Welsh charge in their second year under Toby Booth after bringing in Tomas Francis, Alex Cuthbert, Jac Morgan and Michael Collins.

Davies swapped Swansea for Newport in 2019 and is relishing kicking off with a tussle against a regional rival.

“It’s a big one personally but also for the team – it doesn’t get bigger than a Welsh derby. We are lucky to have one first up and we won’t need any motivation,” he said.

“We’ve had a good pre-season with two good games against tough opposition in Leicester and Wasps.

“A third tough opponent is coming on Sunday and it will be a case of setting down a marker. We’ve got to get the performance right first and then hopefully off the back of that we can get the win.”

South Wales Argus: DERBY: Owen Watkin and Sam Davies will lock horns on Premier Sports (Picture: INPHO)DERBY: Owen Watkin and Sam Davies will lock horns on Premier Sports (Picture: INPHO)

Davies was speaking at the launch of Premier Sports’ coverage, with the channel showing every game of the United Rugby Championship live.

They will exclusively show the Dragons-Ospreys clash on Premier Sports 1 from 1.30pm.

Premier Sports have exclusive rights to LaLiga, TOP 14, URC, Scottish Cup and Premier Sports Cup, GAA, Premier Sports Ice Hockey elite league, NASCAR and also operate BoxNation, a dedicated boxing channel Monthly subscriptions start from just £12.99 per month on Sky, Virgin and the Premier Player, visit for more information.