The Dragons have been preparing to take on Bath in the Heineken Cup Pool 5 match at Rodney Parade on Sunday 18th January Kick Off 1.00pm, in the knowledge that whilst they can't progress in this year's competition, the result of the match will have a bearing on the final placings in the pool and for the Dragons provide the opportunity of increased seeding points for future draws.
The team are also looking to build on the momentum, gained from performances in recent weeks and the away win against fellow competitor in the pool Glasgow Warriors. Although the performances over the Christmas period were much praised the team were disappointed not to have gained more victories. However the wins against the Ospreys then Glasgow mean they want to carry this momentum on to the match against Bath.
Coach Paul Turner Commented: - "We were pleased with the performance up in Glasgow and glad to have come away with a win. However this is a different competition and one in which all teams raise their game for. This is especially the case for Bath as they can still progress. I think we surprised a few people with our performance against them at their ground in October and we will be looking to get a win in front of our home support.
Bath play some attractive rugby and are currently doing well in the Premiership so once again it will be a good test of our progress this season".
With Tom Willis on the bench Luke Charteris - who lives in Bath having also been to University there - will captain the team. He commented;-
"Heineken Cup matches are always great fixtures to play in. The team will be looking to carry on where we left off in Glasgow. Our match against Bath in October was intense and few thought we would come away with a bonus point. That match was about defence, but we will be looking to attack more in this game and with Bath also playing an attractive style of rugby, it should be a great game to play in and also watch."
Richard Fussell who has put in a string of strong performances in recent weeks is equally looking forward to the match.
"Its promises to be an exciting game with large amount of support expected from both sets of supporters. As a player these matches are the ones you want to participate in and are ones you can only gain from. Hopefully we can put in a big performance which will help us kick on in the League."
Dragons Squad: Jason Tovey, Phil Dollman, Tal Selly, Gareth Wyatt, Richard Fussell, Gareth Maule, Rhodri Gomer Davies, Ashley Smith, James Arlidge, Wayne Evans, Robert Lewis, Adam Black, Steve Jones, Tom Willis, Rhys Thomas, Gethin Robinson, Adam Jones, Hoani MacDonald, Luke Charteris, Colin Charvis, Grant Webb, Jamie Ringer, Lewis Evans, Dan Lydiate, Andy Hall.
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.