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PRO 14    

Dragons to field 900kg pack

PRO 14    

Dragons to field 900kg pack as size increase appears to pay dividends

The Dragons are set to field a 900kg pack against the Scarlets at at Parc y Scarlets today, as a size increase in recent weeks appears to be paying dividends.

Interim coach Ceri Jones – who stepped up following the departure of head coach Bernard Jackman from the club last month – has emphasized increasing the Dragons grunt up front since taking the helm.

Last weekend the side recorded their first derby day victory in over four years, with a cliffhanger 23-22 victory over the Ospreys.

Dragons have traditionally been one of the lighter sides in the competition, but moving 6 foot 5 inch, 116kg lock Cory Hill to the backrow has allowed the Newport based side to add bulk up without compromising on quality.

“They originally asked me to jump at six and Cory to call the lineouts in the Clermont game, because we wanted a bigger pack,” fellow lock Matthew Screech told the club website.

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“That game it worked really well – we were in that game for 80 minutes and put in a really good fight. The three of us worked well together.

“I’m getting a bit more lineout ball now and I’m enjoying it. We have options so in defence it has worked well again.

“Cory is a really good athlete. He can slip into that six slot easily and you have the likes of Cuddy (Nic Cudd) who can come back at any time. We have options and it has worked well for us.”

Screech is enjoying playing with big Samoan secondrow, Branden Nansen (6’6, 117kg).

“Brandon is an awesome player,” said Screech. “He is a really humble person and when we play together he is flying out and smashing people. That is exactly what Ceri (Jones) wants and he is doing really well.

“People expected a lot of him straight away and if people didn’t see him in one game they can make opinions. But you could see when he arrived that he was going to be a really good player.

“The last couple of games he has been really reliable and just does what he does.

“Ceri has said to me and Brandon that he wants us to be physical people and it has been nice to have a consistent run of games. I’m enjoying playing.”

The addition of 110kg No.8 Harrison Keddie has also added to an extra heft to the traditionally more mobile pack.

“We are all bruised up, but that is what derby games are like. I love them,” he added. “At Rodney Parade last weekend it was awesome, the atmosphere was amazing and you don’t really feel the bumps and bruises in those game.

“They are best games of the year. Everyone comes to see and it was great that we could get that important first derby win.”

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Dragons to field 900kg pack as size increase appears to pay dividends