SPEED of ball is vital in rugby and after two rounds of the PRO14 it is something that needs to be quicker for us and slower for our opposition, so it’s a good time for us to welcome flanker Nic Cudd back into the fold.

Cuddy is set to feature against Leinster and it’s great to have him back after last year was a write-off when he ruptured knee ligaments in pre-season.

We missed him badly in certain games when we allowed attacks to get on top of us; he is the ideal guy to get the ball back or slow it down.

Cuddy is the contact area king and has always been towards the top of the Guinness PRO14 charts for turnovers.

He is genuinely world class when it comes to tackle jackals.

It’s fantastic to have him back and I don’t think there is a person on this planet that dislikes Cuddy, apart from opponents who realise the threat he poses.

He is a good, honest bloke who has put in big shifts for the Dragons over the years since heading east from Llanelli.

One of my first appearances at 7 was against Cuddy and I was told either don’t let him get anywhere near the ball or let him get there and then blast him. Easier said than done.

He is nicknamed ‘The Clamp’ for good reason and he has maintained that throughout the years.

It was different seeing him play for Bargoed at Rodney Parade on Sunday when he went up against Rynard Landman and Newport.

Now he’s off to Dublin for what will be a very different challenge.

I’ll be watching back home, I’m nursing a slight knee niggle (old age setting in, I could do with some WD40) but it’s more about rotation and mixing things up.

Things went okay in pre-season but it didn’t go to plan against Benetton and I expected to miss out of the starting line up against the Southern Kings because it was Ross Moriarty’s debut.

It was good to finally get the monkey off our back with a win; we have been given a ‘better’ fixture lists than we’ve had for years, providing us with an opportunity to have a good start but also heaping the pressure on.

We wanted to capitalise from game one, so Benetton was incredibly frustrating.

The set piece didn’t function but we worked hard and after a good week of preparation we produced one of our better set piece performances against the Kings.

Now we want to keep the momentum going in Dublin, where we’ve had some tough times but also some good displays.

We're taking a strong team and this is an opportunity to keep gelling and hopefully cause an upset.

IT was a good campaign for the Dragons Under-18s last year and it’s pleasing to see that the boys have kept on improving.

I am defence and contact area coach for the team… or a jack of all trades with head coach Matt O’Brien and forwards coach Sam Hobbs saying that I stick my nose into anything.

We’re thrilled that the boys have gone three from three with a game against RGC coming up this weekend. The last of those wins against a very good Scarlets team was a fantastic outcome.

I’ve been involved in coaching the age-grades for a long time now and have seen the likes of Hallam Amos, James Benjamin, Elliot Dee and Ollie Griffiths come through the ranks.

Look at the teams coming through the system now, I am confident that a number of them will force their way into the senior squad in a few years.