AT the Dragons, like everyone else regardless of profession, we have had to adapt to situations because of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the summer and that will be the case for the foreseeable future.

Here at the Dragons we have led the way with the preparation, transforming our facility in Ystrad Mynach and changing habits in the environment.

It is, however, very unfortunate that one of our boys tested positive at the end of last week. It is something that can happen to anyone as there is no way to completely mitigate all risk, even with the preparations being taken in the gym and the pitch.

A simple supermarket shop or trip to the petrol station could end up being the issue.

The fact that not one of the other 50-plus players and management here tested positive shows that it can be managed and life can go on.

We have been very diligent and that has stayed the same this week, with the hand sanitising, social distancing and all the processes that have been put in place in Ystrad Mynach. In fact, it’s probably been reemphasised even more after the positive test.

South Wales Argus:

Obviously there is always concern for family welfare and this is the biggest issue but once all was cleared, we maintained our professionalism.

We didn’t change our schedule dramatically in our first game week since March so that we are ready for Ospreys tomorrow

The solution this time has been to slightly alter the schedule, a learning day and a tough, physical contact day were swapped around in our schedule so that there was less contact before our latest results were confirmed.

It was a big story given that it happened in the build-up to the return of the Guinness PRO14 and it does make you wonder what will happen in the future for when another case arises again in a region, which is sadly inevitable.

If three players in a squad test positive does it go ahead? If it is 10 then is it cancelled? New Zealand had a few cases recently and closed the country!

The big question is how the new PRO14 season against Irish, Italian and South African teams is going to look. It will be interesting to see how things pan out as there is so much uncertainty for coaches and players in terms of preparation.

There is, however, some degree of certainty now regarding the pay cut situation.

All players across the regions realised that there are some sacrifices that needed to be made for the sake of the business as no one wants to see any region go bankrupt or be moved.

Trying to be fair across the board was essential and it is nice that Ashton Hewitt and I, as the Dragons’ representatives on the Welsh Rugby Players Association, no longer have to spent hours on so many Zoom calls trying to resolve what has been a long and at times frustrating process.

The WRPA constantly tried to compromise but nothing was resolved, meaning that everything had to go into local agreements in the end

That was unfortunate with the circumstances that we are all in with players’ families and mortgages on the line; it needed to be resolved ASAP.

South Wales Argus:

We can now concentrate on what matters most for the region and that’s playing rugby.

I’ve also seen how this has impacted on the community game, with grassroots teams experiencing the short and long term issues trying to keep teams together and the club alive during these difficult times.

Having seen the work that is going on in the community game through my role at Newport High School Old Boys, I still know the passion and commitment that is there to keep the organisation together from mini and junior sections to the seniors.

Even though there are only three coaches and limited facilities, we have prepared as well as we can for the graded return to training.

I have seen the best practice first-hand at the Dragons and it’s about creating good habits, doing the basics and the obvious things like bringing hand sanitiser and your own water bottle.

They are the starting blocks and now we are training in small groups and doing non-contact fitness.

It’s where I am a bit of hypocrite because I hate straight-line, mind-numbing running but that’s the best way to grade the return and manage the boys’ load.

The effort has been outstanding and they are the same as the Dragons’ squad – they just want to get back to playing rugby.

It will be a pleasure for the boys to see a rugby ball again, with disinfectant buckets ready to go. We’re just trying to do as much as we can, even though it can sometimes feel over the top at times.

We don’t know when NSHOB will be back in action but thankfully the Dragons return at the Ospreys on tomorrow.

Sadly I’ve got a calf niggle but it will be interesting to see how the game goes, even though it will be weird without fans at the Liberty Stadium.

It feels a bit like pre-season but these are derby games and are important because it’s still tribal.

It’s a great opportunity to see how new combinations and systems work with everyone looking to try some of that out ready for our European quarter-final at Bristol which we are all looking forward to.