ASK me for the birthdays of relatives and I haven't got the foggiest but request the dates of the start of Dragons hoodoos and my response will be faster than Tonderai Chavhanga out of the blocks.

Boxing Day, 2014 can finally be removed from the memory and the chalk tally of derby defeats that had stretched to 23 can be wiped from the blackboard.

The streak of Welsh woe is over courtesy of the fantastic win against the Ospreys and now the Dragons need to end another.

March, 2015: Benetton Treviso 17, Dragons 32, 38 games ago.

The region have suffered from travel sickness for almost four years in the Guinness PRO14 and that needs to end, if not in Llanelli on Saturday then certainly before the end of the season.

Hoodoos matter, even if players and coaches say publicly that past records never get mentioned in camp.

Other folk say that it’s not the Class of 2019’s record, that they started afresh in September and that there are no monkeys on backs.


Nightmare streaks linger at the back of the mind and doubts can plague a team when things get tight. Even worse, when things are going wrong, they go badly wrong.

Hoodoos need to be nipped in the bud and that’s why that horrible collapse at Edinburgh in April, 2017 (when the away streak was a mere 22) was so galling.

Had the Dragons held onto the 20-3 lead that they held with 72 minutes gone at Myreside then perhaps more away wins would have followed in the two years since.

Instead there are still are behavioural traits on their travels that need to change and former boss Bernard Jackman often said that an important step on the way to ending the hoodoo was becoming hard to beat on the road.

There was evidence of that before Christmas when it took a last-gasp Gareth Anscombe penalty to sneak the spoils for Cardiff Blues.

At 16-16 with the clock in the red, the Dragons were a kick away from turning a 37-game losing streak into a 38-game streak without victory.

The task for caretaker Ceri Jones and the man that is chosen as Jackman’s replacement is to ensure that we aren’t heading into 2019/20 talking about a 44-game streak away from home in the PRO14.

Despite the Scarlets’ troubles, Saturday will be an extremely tough task but with games to come against Edinburgh and Treviso in the Six Nations, the Ospreys, Southern Kings and Cheetahs, a win on the road is possible for a side that has enjoyed a strong couple of weeks.

The derby win has provided the Dragons with a platform to turn this into a reasonable season after the disappointment and changes of the first half of the campaign.

The PRO14 table provides a reality check for those of us still thrilled by the Ospreys win, even if the region have doubled their paltry win tally from last season.

While a thrilling play-off battle looms in both conferences, the Dragons are slumming it with the two South African sides and Zebre.

Nonetheless, ending the derby drought has provided something tangible amid the players’ talk of progress being made and so would an away success.

If the Dragons can finish the season with six or seven victories then it would represent a pretty solid season for a team with a meagre budget and provide the new boss with something to build on.

It would also be a timely solid campaign given the restructuring of Welsh rugby that will present more challenges in this neck of the woods.

The first half of the season presented little evidence to throw back at those that suggest downgrading the Dragons but at least they have shown recently that they can be competitive.

With a budget that stays the same while others rise, a return would be welcome to the sort of gnarly, confrontational Dragons of the Paul Turner era that had little regard for reputation.

South Wales Argus:

SUNDAY was one of those memorable Rodney Parade occasions, a game when the noise booms around what used to be called the Hazell Stand.

The Dragons earned the support of the crowd with a good start, kept it with their defensive tenacity and then reaped the rewards when given a little bit of extra encouragement to help them cling on for victory.

Caretaker boss Ceri Jones said afterwards that “Rodney Parade is a proper rugby ground” and the success against the Ospreys was hugely important towards that.

The famous stadium was rocking on Sunday but at times this season it has been deathly quiet when it has been the Dragons out in the middle rather than the Exiles.

This is not a criticism of the supporters – they have stood or sat through enough disappointments.

That raucous backing that frequently used to unnerve opposition had been replaced by shaking of heads in a thinning crowd.

The fans needed some reward and finally they got it with a first major win in the Guinness PRO14 since Leinster were downed in January, 2016.

The Dragons will hope that Sunday’s glory will convince plenty to fill in the renewal forms for season tickets and secure a rapid return for those among the 7,196 that only head out for the big games.

Don’t count on there being an immediate surge; Timisoara Saracens is a tough sell while Clermont Auvergne is a cracking game but unfortunately the final game of a Euro campaign that is already over.

But at the end of the month is a chance for another scalp when Munster come to Newport on a Saturday afternoon.

The feel-good factor from the win against the Ospreys was vital for retaining the roar from those that can help get the Dragons over the line against more play-off hopefuls.

It also emphasised what it lost through giving up home advantage for Judgement Day.