Boss Dean Ryan praised the intent shown by his Dragons as they blitzed Scarlets 52-32 in a 12-try cracker to open up the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup at Rodney Parade.
Jonah Holmes (2), Aaron Wainwright (2), Jordan Williams, Rio Dyer and Aneurin Owen – his first senior score – all crossed the whitewash in a home soil cracker.
Director of Dragons Rugby Ryan was delighted to see so many of his young players take the chance to impress as the senior stars shone brightly.
And he pinpointed the intent over 80-minute as a big step forward after the late loss to Northampton in Europe last time out.
“I thought our attack was outstanding,” said Ryan. “We looked threatening.
“I was worried about how much we had to construct our tries and how quickly we gave them back, certainly in that first half.
“That’s something we got to be careful of because our desire to attack can sometimes open up our try line.
“We talked a lot about learning from Northampton and saying intent was probably our best defender.
“Went into our shells against Northampton and were desperate for the 80-minute bell.
“It was important to see us keep playing. I said in the changing rooms, Aneurin Owen’s intercept was probably the most positive play that we made.
“That’s where we’ve got to be and that’s where those youngsters have got to be.”
Ryan used the game to place young stars around more senior professionals and was pleased with the mix and the way the Academy aces grabbed the opportunity.
“What we set out for the Rainbow Cup is that quality senior performances will create real positive development experiences for the youngsters,” said Ryan.
“That’s what we challenged the senior players to do. It’s not a positive experience if they don’t come in and be a role model about what it looks like to be at the top.
“It’s been well-written about the Rainbow Cup shifting about what it is [after the cancellation of clashes with South African sides] but for us it has been quite clear.
“Senior players will play and we expect them to play at a level their status warrants, that is then a really positive experience for a youngster to see. They can respond and it becomes a clearer picture for them.
“I was a bit disappointed that we had to shuffle the deck because that changed where we thought Evan was going on and I wanted to see more of Jared,” he added.
“But it worked in the same way because Evan got some really nice touches and then Dan Babos came on at 9 and allowed Sam to stay and steer things.”
Getting development right means getting some really positive experiences in the early rugby careers of some of our youngsters...