Dean Ryan insists his focus remains on the long-term development of his squad as Dragons prepare for a busy return to league and cup action over the coming months.
Dragons will first complete the current Guinness PRO14 season with an away clash against Ospreys in Swansea on Sunday, August 23 before Scarlets arrive at Rodney Parade on Saturday, August 29.
The big European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Bristol Bears follows on Friday, September 18 before Round 1 of the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season is scheduled to start on October 3.
It is all set-up to be a busy period for Ryan’s men and the Director of Dragons Rugby is ready to take a long-term approach for the development of his players.
“First and foremost, player welfare is key,” said Ryan, discussing the return to training and playing. “It’s not the World Cup on August 23.
“Preparation for those periods and preparation for the next 12 months is crucial. We have to be really careful about separating the two.
“The focus is automatically on when we return to playing, but then we have another 11 months to go through.
“It’s intense and the people who are the smartest will be the ones to come through this in the best shape.
“As we make these small steps back it is about the next 12 months. We know we’ve also got some highlights in there,” he added.
“It’s my job they’re all linked together and not just about one period, because if we fall off the back of that we’ll have all sorts of problems which will harm development.”
Dragons have returned to training at the region’s Ystrad Mynach base with newcomers Jonah Holmes, Nick Tompkins and Joe Maksymiw all clocking in.
And Ryan is looking forward to seeing how his squad continues to move forward and adapt over the next few months.
“The Dragons is about making small, stable steps of getting better,” he said. “Planning for big games as well as a run of games is an important part of what we’ll face.
“We’re pleased that Dan Baugh has started with us too. His experience both with Wales and in the Premiership with Wasps is crucial.
“It’s a big challenge for all of us right now, but those who are smartest about this will do the best.”
The Dragons is about making small, stable steps of getting better... Planning for big games as well as a run of games is an important part of what we’ll face...