Jones expecting big things from Dragons' new training home
15 August 2014 16:27pm
By Rob Cole
Head Coach Kingsley Jones reckons the Newport Gwent Dragons' new lair will propel the region up the Guinness PRO12 table.
The Men of Gwent recently moved into their brand-new, state of the art training facility at the Caerphilly County Borough Centre of Sporting Excellence. The Ystrad Mynach base boasts two innovative 3G pitches as well as a gymnasium fit for elite rugby stars.
After years of splitting training between Rodney Parade and Newport High School, Jones is expecting his side to challenge at the top end of the PRO12 table after nine seasons outside the top seven league places.
"These facilities bring a buzz and a real lift to the group. It's new, it's fresh and there's no excuse for failure any more. The surface helps everything and the players are really benefiting from the gym, they look in great physical condition," said Jones.
"It's a real positive start and a chance to have a fresh start after 10 years of the Newport Gwent Dragons. We've put a line in the sand after an unsuccessful time and we're going to move the region forward."
The Rodney Parade region travel to Clifton this Sunday to take on Bristol Rugby in the first of three pre-season friendlies ahead of the new PRO12 campaign. They kick-off against Connacht at the Sportsground on September 6 and Jones is hoping the new environment, as well as their new signings, can bring success to Gwent.
"We're not here to finish 11th. We have to push up the table and Lyn Jones has worked hard to get the new players in for this season. Bristol will be a fantastic exercise for us we will see how we're improving and what we still need to work on," added Jones.
"There will be a lot of holes in our game with so many new players but it will be a great workout. The new boys have driven the standards up and created a really professional environment.
"The young players are copying that behaviour and that's exactly what we wanted when we signed them."
Wales head coach Warren Gatland paid tribute to rugby administrator, Stuart Gallacher who passed away at the weekend before he talked about the squad which he has selected for the autumn internationals.
Wales hooker Ken Owens, actor Julian Lewis Jones (Invictus), and WRU mascot Scorch were among the VIPS at Fitzalan High School in Cardiff to launch a new, film-based literacy initiative being made available to schools throughout Wales.
The Webb Ellis Cup stopped off in Cardiff for the day as part of a two week tour of the UK as part of the RWC2015 'Too Big To Miss' ticketing campaign which coincides with the current window for tickets being on public sale.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a nationwide education programme, to help all involved in the game to recognise and remove' players with concussion. Wales, Racing Metro and Lions centre Jamie Roberts Wales assistant coach Rob Howley, WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey and representatives of grassroots clubs in Wales who helped finalise the policy. We also hear from WRU National Medical Manager Prav Mathema, plus Llanelli and Cardiff in the Principality Premiership.
WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis explains the new Rugby Services Agreement with the Regions in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We also hear from Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde as the Vale Resort is confirmed as one of the World Cup bases, welcomed by Vale sales and marketing director Paul Beddoe. We also cover the Fosters National Sevens with reaction from Llanelli's plate winning captain Duane Eager, while Llandovery lifted the main prize and we speak to coach Lyndon Lewis and captain Matthew Jacobs.
The Women's Rugby World Cup warm-up clash between Wales and USA proved bittersweet for centre Elen Evans. Despite being one of the star performers on the day on her 50th Test appearance, USA edged home 10-7 at Cross Keys.
Wales U20 head coach Byron Hayward and back row Will Boyde believe defence will be the key when they face Ireland tomorrow in the second pool game of the Junior World Championship being held in New Zealand.
Tension was palpable as players waited to hear the announcment of the Wales touring squad of South Africa. Matthew Morgan was one of four uncapped players named in the squad after impressing in the Wales Senior Trial.
George North was the four-try hero as the Wales wing sent Welsh flag bearers the Ospreys crashing to a 34-6 defeat at Franklin's Gardens with a belated bonus point win that re-ignited Northampton Saints' Pool 5 challenge in some style.