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Composure crucial in Euro showdown

18/09/2020

Boss Dean Ryan has urged his Dragons to keep their composure in the heat of the European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Bristol Bears tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

After months of anticipation, Dragons head to Ashton Gate to face a Bears team that blazed through the group stages as second seeds.

Bristol – who boast superstar backs Charles Piutau and Semi Radradra among their line-up – have also impressed in the English Premiership sine the return from lockdown.

Last time out om home soil the Bears ran in seven tries to stun play-off hopefuls Northampton and Ryan is well aware of the threat they can pose with their attacking brand of rugby.

However, the Director of Dragons Rugby has urged his team to focus on themselves and keep calm as they bid to try and upset the odds and make the final four.

“Bristol play a game that's got risk, and when you play a game that's got risk you cannot make it error-free,” said Ryan.

“It's really important that we are aware of those opportunities to capitalise on it, but we can't also mimic the way that they play.

“That's the challenge because quite often they can pull sides into getting caught up and trying to do too much, then suddenly the game opens up and it's gone away.

“I've watched some games when they have had bursts of 20 minutes when they have scored 25, 30 points. That's difficult to maintain, so we are going to have to sit in periods when we are under pressure.

“We will have to capitalise on their mistakes then try at some stage to have our 20 minutes when it's our pressure.

“It's a really difficult contest for us because I have seen a number of sides who have got sucked into the pressure by the game that they are able to play. Composure is going to be key for us.”

Ryan hands debuts to Jamie Roberts and Jonah Holmes for the big European clash while full back Jordan Williams make his first appearance since November last year.

“We have got some players who have been in at this level before that we would hope would show more composure,” added Ryan.

“That depends how much pressure we are under because Bristol can put incredible amounts of intensity into small bouts of the game.

“That can really distort the way that you think, you can think that you have to get it back in the next 10 minutes. We have to stay very, very composed.”

It's a really difficult contest for us because I have seen a number of sides who have got sucked into the pressure by the game that they are able to play. Composure is going to be key for us...
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