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A Busy Time for The Dragons

Nathan Brew has been welcomed back into the Dragons squad as the Region aim to put in three big performances over the festive period.

Kath McCarthy | 21/12/2005

Brew has recovered from a groin operation to take his place in the squad for the first time this season. The Dragons have named a squad of 25 for the first game which is against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade on Friday night (kick off 7.10pm) before they travel the short distance down the M4 to take on the Blues at the Arms Park before opening 2006 with a New Years Day match against the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.

Coach Paul Turner is well aware of the huge challenge his squad faces but is one the whole Region is excited about especially after the impressive away performance the team put in against Munster.

“Three matches are a huge ask especially in such a short period of time, however, we look forward to these matches which always have added intensity on and off the field. We are buoyed by our performance at Thomond Park where I was pleased with the brave performance the team put in and to lead at one stage which we did is no mean feat. We go into the Christmas period with confidence. It is only the little things that are letting us down and if we cut out the unforced errors and perform like we did in Thomond Park then the victories will come.”

Last time the two sides met at Rodney Parade 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.

“The Scarlets may have started the season badly losing to Edinburgh at home but since then have been playing some good rugby and have claimed the impressive scalps of Sale, Newcastle, Leeds and Wasps, so there is no doubt they are a good side,” continued Paul. “No doubt they will be looking to avenge last weeks loss to Wasps and will want to put that defeat behind them. They have a formidable pack and dangerous runners in Regan King and Matthew J Watkins. Our defence was good against Munster and is one of the positives we took from the game; we have to be clinical with our finishing and possess the ruthless edge if we want to turn our good performances into wins."

There will be little seasonal good will on offer from The Dragons as rivalries are stoked up to the maximum and brought to the fore with three Welsh derby games, two of which are at the Dragons lair. Christmas and New Year is a busy time for The Dragons with no let up for the squad.

“Our main goal naturally over the festive period is to win all three games and we will do that if we put in good performances. Having home advantage for two of those matches is a big plus especially as they are all big occasions and big Welsh derbies. We look forward to the crowd again getting behind us and making life difficult for the opposition. It is a number of big games in a short space of time but that is what playing at the highest level is all about. Players looks forward to playing in front of packed crowds and we are looking forward to a full Rodney Parade and hoping supporters will again travel to the Arms Park to continue their support on 27th December before opening 2006 with the Ospreys at home. We need to secure wins to move us up the Celtic League table and back into the zone where we can secure Heineken Cup qualification for next season.”

Looking ahead to Fridays match against the Scarlets Michael Owen said,

“We gave a good account of ourselves last weekend in Munster and we have to take that performance into Friday. The Scarlets have done well this season, they have rebuilt and are looking strong, however, we have quality players in Hal Luscombe, Nathan Brew and Kevin Morgan who if given space can do some real damage. We are capable of good play we just need to be more consistent. There is great morale among the squad and everyone is really positive, training has been good and we have good players here.”

Dragons Squad
Kevin Morgan, Aled Thomas, Gareth Chapman, Richard Fussell, Nathan Brew, Hal Luscombe, Jon Bryant, Ceri Sweeney, Craig Warlow, Gareth Cooper, Gareth Baber, Adam Black, David Maddocks, Steve Jones, Andy Brown, Rhys Thomas, Gethin Robinson, Ian Gough, Luke Charteris, Peter Sidoli, Andy Hall, Rhys Oakley, Michael Owen, Jamie Ringer, Jason Forster.

RODNEY PARADE THE PLACE TO BE ON FRIDAY NIGHT

Rodney Parade is THE place to be on Friday night to get you in the festive mood. The bars will open earlier than usual on Friday and will open from 4pm while hot food will be available from 5pm. Happy Hour will be in operation from 4pm-6pm and again after the match between 10pm-midnight, where Carlsberg, Tetley’s and Strongbow will all be £1.50 a pint. Mulled wine and mince pies will also be available to supporters with Major Tom serving the wine throughout the match. On the field The Dragons take on the Scarlets in a Celtic League match and on the field supporters can expect there to be little pleasantries exchanged! At half time Father Christmas will make an early appearance and will throw out special presents to the crowd and will be helped by The Dragons cheerleaders.

“We hope to get everyone in a festive mood at Rodney Parade on Friday night,” commented Commercial Director Gethin Jenkins. “There will be carols playing, special drinks promotions and Father Christmas not to mention the rugby which will see rivalries stoked up on the pitch. The Dragons have three huge matches over Christmas and New Year and we hope that supporters will come out and show their support to the team while also enjoying the festivities off the field.”

Tickets are available for the match by calling the Rodney Parade ticket line on 01633 674990 and if supporters book their tickets before Friday then they can claim up to a £2 discount on a match ticket.

At half time local signing sensation Holly Holyoak will perform on Rodney Parade. Dubbed Newport’s answer to Charlotte Church, Holly’s remarkable talent and increasing public profile has catapulted the young soprano into the international spotlight. Debuting aged twelve at the Newport Philharmonic Choir’s Annual Spring Concert, Holly has performed at numerous events, garnering massive public support and increasing visibility in the classical music industry. Following her international debut at the 41st Mario Lanza Ball in Philadelphia in 2002, Holly, as the sole representative for the United Kingdom, won gold at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. In 2004, testament to increasing recognition of her outstanding ability, Holly was invited to perform a duet at the North Wales Theatre, Llandudno with internationally renowned classical artist, Hayley Westenra. At seventeen, Holly continues to expand her repertoire, encompassing a wide variety of musical genres, captured in part, on her 2002 debut release, ‘When Dreams have Wings’.

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