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Ryan pleased to finish PRO14 with win

28/03/2021

Boss Dean Ryan was pleased to secure a winning end to the Guinness PRO14 season - as Dragons held off a powerful Edinburgh fight-back to secure a sixth league win of the season.

Dragons produced a stunning first half masterclass as tries from Matthew Screech (2) and Jonah Holmes put the home side into a commanding 24-5 lead.

However, the Scottish visitors roared back in the second half and it took a huge late defensive shift from Dragons to claim the win and make it three wins in four league games.

“The first half hour was probably a glimpse of some of our best stuff,” said the Director of Dragons Rugby. “We were very direct, very physical and had good movement on the ball.

“But it is another game where people start doing the maths before we get anywhere near the end.

“We lost momentum and started to over complicate it. We couldn’t get into phase play and in that 15 minutes after half-time we make an error from a restart, then an error from a lineout in our 22.

“Our phase play was causing them all sorts of problems and is where we have been good the last few weeks.

“But momentum went out of the game and we invited them in. The try that was disallowed just before half-time gave them belief that they could stay in the game and we couldn’t find a way into our phase play again.

“You have to carry on doing the simple things; the great thing about this game is it can be beautiful simple or really complicated. Sometimes we add to how complicated it can be.

“At the end and I think full credit goes to the team because we had to rescue a win,” he added.

“That is difficult after you have been in such a dominant position and chasing a points difference - suddenly you’re trying to rescue a win.

“The last five minutes was similar to last week and the week before, so that is difficult to do sometimes when you’ve been chasing something.

“Overall, we are pleased to get the win and now we look forward to next week and Europe.”

The result saw Dragons finish the season with six league victories in the Guinness PRO14 - and secure three wins in March.

However, Ryan refused to just dwell on the win column and instead looked at the bigger picture as the curtain fell on the region’s league campaign.

“What is important is that we’re building something really tangible,” he said.

“Somebody just told me that it is three wins in four, but I’m not really worried about that. What I’m concerned about is that is four of five good performances now.

“We’ve had to dig deep at times, we’ve lost some close battles with Ulster and Leinster. But we’re starting to get a better measure of what our good is and we’ve got to keep building on that.

“Given our season, I’m pretty pleased with where we are. Six wins is slightly different to the normal league season or six wins when we didn’t lose people to Coronavirus, injuries and everything else.

“It’s also six wins when our internationals have been non-existent across the whole year.

“What that says to me is we got a young group that is developing and becoming more competitive at this level – we’ve got to keep building on that.

“When our internationals come in we’ve got to get better, but we are happy with the group travelling week-to-week. They are becoming more competitive and therefore results are more consistent.”

The first half hour was probably a glimpse of some of our best stuff... We were very direct, very physical and had good movement on the ball...
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