Destructive back row ace Harri Keddie admits he is relishing his rugby and is settled in his role in the team this season.
Keddie has featured in every Guinness PRO14 game so far this term for Dragons and earned the plaudits of boss Dean Ryan.
The Director of Dragons Rugby has described Keddie as having a ‘storming’ campaign - and the statistics certainly back up the forwards eye-catching form.
The all-action 24-year-old leads the region with 36 carries and 43 tackles in the league and he believes his impressive form comes with being settled and knowing exactly what he is expected to deliver.
“It’s just about doing your role for the team, whatever is asked of you,” said the Magor-born forward.
“That is my mentality. I just try and get on with my role and do my job to the best of my ability. I just want to keep getting picked every week, that’s my mindset towards it.
“I’ve had a bit of a frustrating stop start few seasons over the last couple of years with injury. I’ve now got that continuity back in my game and having clear guidelines, in terms of what your role is and what is expected of you, is really important.
“You want to be judged on that - not judged on what other players abilities are.
“I think that’s been the biggest thing I’ve got out of working with Dean, and the rest of the coaches have been great too.
“As a player it gives you a clear mind going into a game, that you can just play to your strengths and you’ll be judged on that.”
Competition for places in the back row remains as fierce as ever at Dragons – but is a challenge that Keddie has wholeheartedly embraced.
“It doesn’t get an easier to get a place, but I think that’s important, nobody is guaranteed a place,” he said.
“We speak about it quite often as a group, the importance of competition, and I think the back row we have at the minute shows that.
“If you don’t play well or you’re off your best one week then there is a good chance that someone will come into your position and do a better job the next week.
“It keeps you on your toes and keeps training hard. You want to be pushed throughout the week we’re all pushing each other. That’s massively important.
“Players like Ben Fry have come in this season and taken that opportunity to impress. That is what we need to push us all forward.”
One player who has also stood out this season is back tow dynamo Ollie Griffiths – but his form has come as no surprise to team-mate Keddie.
“Ollie is some player,” smiled Keddie. “He’s been doing it for a while now, he has those high standards, so it’s not really a surprise to the people around him when he comes back and performs at his best from the minute one.
“He is a tremendously hard worker, both on and off the pitch, and it has showed in those recent games with the fact he has got through an enormous lot of work after months away. He’s a great guy to have in the back row with you.”
As for the coming months, after returning from the two-week self-isolation as a squad the task is a simple one for Keddie.
“I just want to keep putting my hand up for selection, keep on getting the starts and carry on playing well,” said the back row, who will hope to be included when Dragons tackle Benetton Rugby in Italy next Sunday.
“I think it’s important we get into a winning mentality at the region now and keep on moving forward as a team.
“My role is to just keep doing my job within that to the best of my ability. It’s as simple as that.”
I’ve now got that continuity back in my game and having clear guidelines, in terms of what your role is and what is expected of you, is really important...