There will be no seasonal cheer on offer from the Newport Gwent Dragons who travel West on New Years Day to take on the Llanelli Scarlets.
Newport Gwent Dragons have named a squad for their match against the Scarlets on New Years day kick off 5.30pm. Last time the two sides met earlier in the season it was The Dragons who came out on top thanks to the boot of Ceri Sweeney who kicked The Dragons to a 15-0 win at Rodney Parade. Looking ahead to the game on Saturday Sweeney commented,
“The Scarlets will no doubt have the defeat of earlier in the season in their mind and will be disappointed with their performance last week. Undoubtedly they will want to put those defeats behind them. However, we will not be taking them lightly they have a formidable pack and dangerous runners in their backs with Matthew Watkins, Tal Selley and Salesi Finau. The Scarlets like to frustrate sides but if we get into them early on then we have a side who can cause them problems and damage. Our defence was strong against the Blues and was one of the positives we took from the game. However, we have to be clinical with our finishing and possess the ruthless edge to really finish sides off. ”
The first of coach Chris Anderson’s two goals over the Christmas period has been completed with a win over the Blues now The Dragons have to secure a win against the Scarlets to complete the second.
“They have home advantage and will no doubt be hoping that Stradey Park provides some intimidating atmosphere for our players,” commented Anderson. “It will be a difficult place to go to especially with thousands of Scarlets supporters on your back. It is a big occasion, a big match, a big welsh derby but the players are prepared for that and will not let it faze them. We cannot let them gain any momentum if we do they will get their tails up and the crowd will really get behind them and we will have made it difficult for ourselves. We cannot let them gain any ascendancy. It will be tough going to Stradey Park but we are all focused on what we have to do.”
Another player relishing the New Years Welsh derby is captain Michael Owen, “It is another huge contest for the players in the space of five days but this is what playing rugby at the highest level is all about. It was great to play in front of a packed Rodney Parade and we are all hoping supporters will travel down to Stradey Park and show their support on New Years Day. The Scarlets have unfairly, been written off but we will not be taking them lightly. They have our full respect and we will have to step up a gear if we are to win. After three defeats in a row in the Celtic League is was pleasing to put our title aspirations back on track with a victory over the Blues. We now have to become more consistent as a side and this is something everyone at The Dragons is aiming for. We have been up and down as a side but the onus is on us to become more consistent.”
Percy Montgomery, Kevin Morgan, Gareth Wyatt, Ben Breeze, Haldane Luscombe, Nathan Brew, Sione Tuipulotu, Ceri Sweeney, Craig Warlow, Gareth Cooper, Gareth Baber, Adam Black, Steve Jones, James Richards, Chris Anthony, Rhys Thomas, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Luke Charteris, Rhys Oakley, Jamie Ringer, Michael Owen (c), Cae Trayhern.