Dragons Prepare for a Foreign Invasion

Newport Gwent Dragons have named a squad of 24 for their final home Heineken Cup pool match against Castres Olympique on Saturday kick off 5.15pm.

Kath McCarthy | 19/01/2006

Included in the squad is scrum half Gareth Cooper who has recovered from an injection in his ankle. Cooper had an injection in his ankle at the end of last week to settle it down as it had been troubling him. However, he has come through training this week with no reaction to the treatment.

This is the second meeting between the two sides this season with Castres having clinched a 29-24 win in France in the opening round of the Heineken Cup following a tremendous second half fight back from The Dragons. The Dragons have performed well in all their away games in the Heineken Cup this season with coach Paul Turner putting it down to an “attitude thing.”

“I feel our away performances are an attitude thing, we decided that we would have to develop a huge mentality away from home where we put our bodies on the line and I think that worked although most of our game is based around skill and I think that certainly had an effect as well. The game may be a dead rubber for both sides as neither of us can qualify, however, we are hoping to end our Heineken Cup campaign with a win. I am pleased with the way the team has performed and we have had to field a number of youngsters on occasions, who I think have been on a steep learning curve but have performed well. I think we have been competitive with the local home grown talent we have and have moved forward as a team and gained some valuable experience in the process,”

said Paul.

“I have learned a lot from the experiences I have gained in the Heineken Cup,” commented youngster Aled Thomas. “It has been a tough learning environment, but a challenge I have relished. It has been great to play with and against British Lions and current international players. The experience has taught me many things, primarily to keep your composure in big games and to keep your temperament and if you do the simple things right and well then the rest usually takes care of itself. Again in the Sale match we showed flashes of what we can do but we do not sustain that level of performance for the duration of the match. We need to start doing that for the whole 80 minutes and even though it is disappointing that we have not won a game in the tournament, we aim to go out there this weekend and end our Heineken Cup campaign with a win.”

Dragons Squad
Aled Thomas, Sione Tuipulotu, Richard Fussell, Ben Breeze, Hal Luscombe, Jon Bryant, Ceri Sweeney, Craig Warlow, Gareth Baber, Gareth Cooper, Adam Black, Dai Maddocks, Gethin Robinson, Rhys Thomas, Steve Jones, Andrew Brown, Ian Gough, Bryn Griffiths, Peter Sidoli, Andrew Hall, Rhys Oakley, Jamie Ringer, Jason Forster (c), Michael Owen.

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