Fly half Arwel Robson is full of smiles after returning to rugby after his injury struggles – but he is deadly serious about proving stern competition for the No.10 jersey this season.
Robson has made a successful playing comeback in the Celtic Cup over the last month, after rupturing his hamstring last season.
The 22-year-old is set for more game time this Saturday when Dragons XV tackle Ospreys Development at Ystrad Mynach (kick-off 3pm).
And the flying back – who has scored 69 points in 19 senior games for Dragons - is eager to make up for lost time.
“It was quite a long one at over nine months and probably the most frustrating period I have had,” revealed Robson, who made his regional debut back in 2016.
“It was tough, but we have a really good medical team here and they have helped out and were really good. I’m just really looking forward to playing.
“It was over nine months so it is important to get some game time now. I’ve had two 40 minutes and 70-minutes so I just need to get game time.
“You can prep as much as you can and do as much fitness as you want, but nothing is the same as game situation and getting my lungs used to 80-minutes.
“It is getting used to seeing pictures and that is coming back to me. I am just happy to get game time and stay fit.”
Robson’s return is a welcome boost for Dragons with fellow fly half Josh Lewis facing a spell out after ACL reconstruction.
And he is eager to provide competition to summer signing Sam Davies and Jacob Botica.
“It’s great for me to get some game time and hopefully push on next few weeks and get competitive with the boys in the first team,” he said.
“We’ve got to be competitive as fly halves. When you relax and you’re comfortable in your position then that is not a good place to be. You need to be competitive with the people around you.
“We are all very close. We kick together, have banter together, sit and watch the games together and bounce ideas off each other.
“It’s good to have four opinions and you see the game differently. I can pick something off Sam, Josh or Bots and hopefully they will pick things off you.”
Robson will likely line up at ten to face Ospreys Development at the region’s training HQ on Saturday as the team look to bounce back from a loss to Leinster A in Dublin last weekend.
And he concedes the result is vital after a number of narrow defeats in the Celtic Cup.
“I’m one of the older players now,” he smiled. “The past few years I have been a youngster, but now I see myself as one of the senior players.
“It’s a really good level and some of the boys in our team, especially in the back line, are really sharp.
“We’ve been competitive in all the games. I know the score line didn’t reflect that in Ireland last time out, but if you look at the stats we were better than the score.
“It’s important to get a result to finish the cup campaign off with a win. The result is definitely a big factor this weekend.”
Dragons XV tackle Ospreys Development at Ystrad Mynach this Saturday (kick-off 3pm). Adult entry is £5 and Under-16s go FREE. Season Members also gain FREE entry.
It was quite a long one at over nine months and probably the most frustrating period I have had...