Tavis Knoyle has revealed how much he is enjoying life in the Dean Ryan regime - and highlighted the freedom that each player now has within the system, writes Adam Evans.
Experienced ace Knoyle has played an integral part this season making ten appearances in all competitions for Dragons.
The popular scrum half has this week spoken positively about Ryan’s man-to-man coaching style and approach, which is having a huge impact on morale within the camp.
And the 29-year-old admits he is eager to kick on and get even better in the second half of this season.
“We have really enjoyed it as we can see what we are doing in training is being implemented in our game,” he said.
“We are all working really hard individually and collectively to play the way the coaches want us to play.
“It’s really nice because you are almost like a free spirit within the structure - it is working well.
“We’ve got principles and we go through different processes, but you’ve got a right to play. Dean wants us to play what is in front of us and use our structure to play the game.
“We are growing week by week and we want to get better. “Personally, I never stop asking questions,” he added.
“I want to get better and I don’t mind being shouted at, but obviously you do get praise aswell.
“It’s like in any line of work, if you know where you stand it is a good place to be.
“When you have your boss being straight with you it’s happy days, it’s all you want. It’s a good place to be because you have been told what you need to work on and worked on it. He is like that with everybody because he demands high standards.”
The 29-year-old has been competing this season for a spot in the side alongside skipper Rhodri Williams and on-loan ace Luke Baldwin and sees the competition as a positive.
“It is all part of the game and it is the first time that I have experienced the number nine being captain,” said Knoyle.
“You always want to prove people wrong and prove to yourself. Competition doesn’t stop you - if that does then it is pointless being here. It’s a very healthy challenge.”
Dragons welcome Italian side Benetton to Rodney Parade this Saturday for the first game back after the three-week break.
And Knoyle had nothing but praise for this weekend’s opponents and has paid tribute to how much Kieran Crowley’s side have progressed in recent seasons.
“They have come on leaps and bounds. They play some really good rugby and they have a good pack,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot of homework and have a lot of respect for every team we play so we sort of know way the they will be playing; we want to keep working hard to towards it.
“They play some good stuff and have some really big threats. They play good attacking rugby so hopefully our forwards front up at the weekend.”
Saturday’s match is highly likely to be impacted by the arrival of Storm Dennis – with high winds forecast in Newport.
And Knoyle is only too aware of the need to adapt the game plan to give Dragons the best chance of making it five successive wins on home soil.
“The forecast isn’t too clever so we’ll have to play the conditions. We have to come out and play in the right areas,” he stressed.
Watch the Dragons when they welcome their Italian counterparts to Rodney Parade this Saturday (kick-off 7:35pm). Click HERE to buy your tickets and join us for more top Guinness PRO14 action.
When you have your boss being straight with you it’s happy days... He is like that with everybody because he demands high standards...