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Dragons are 'on the right track' - Flanagan

By Ian Cameron
Press Association

Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan says he believes that his side are ‘on the right track’ despite some dire on-field performances in recent months and a litany of off-field distractions that have afflicted the Welsh region.

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RugbyPass revealed last year that the Men of Gwent had sacked Dean Ryan, a move that was confirmed in January, while management and players have had to deal with the drama around the PRB’s new six-year-deal, the stalling of which meant players have only recently been offered concrete contracts.

Flanagan told the club website that he is resolute in his determination to guide the Dragons towards success and believes that the off-season will be critical for his side to shake off the ‘bad habits’ the region have be built up over years of failure.

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Despite the team’s recent run of dreadful results, including a Challenge Cup thrashing at the hands of Glasgow Warriors, Flanagan is enthusiastically embracing the challenge.

“We’ve been disappointed with outcomes, but process wise we feel we are on the right track,” said Flanagan. “We’re trying to change a lot of habits that have been inbuilt over many, many years here in Gwent, trying to set different standards. That takes time.

“I want people to stand up and take ownership – really own what they do.

“That takes trust, and I’m working my tail off to make sure I’m building trust with these players.

“I want to do what is right for them. I want to back them, I want to support them, put them in positions where they can achieve excellence.

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“To do that, and for them to trust me to do that, will take time. But I do feel we are on the way.

“I mean this in all the right ways, but I’m looking forward to when the season finishes personally because the effort this group has shown to get through what they have got through has been unbelievable,” he added. “I can’t compliment my playing group enough for how they have behaved throughout the whole process.

“The first time as Head Coach has been tough, I’m learning along the way, but it’s making sure that we reflect on it. Having that time (in the summer) will be valuable.”

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Turlough 4 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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