All-action back row Ollie Griffiths admits he has some very big dates in the diary to look forward to over the next month – on and off the field!
The dynamic forward is targeting the home double-header of pre-season games with Bristol Bears and Wasps to put down a marker before the start of the new United Rugby Championship season.
However, before all that the 27-year-old will be walking down the aisle with fiancée Cassie in the Spanish sun.
“I’m feeling fresh and feeling good. I had a nice five or six weeks off so came in fresh and ready to go for the season," he said.
“We’ve got one more week off before the season starts and I’ve got my wedding day out in Ibiza - hopefully I’ll still be feeling fresh after that.
“It’s come around quick and we’re all looking forward to getting out there and some sun on our backs.
“Cassie is excited, but also not happy. The day we fly home I’m straight back out for our training camp so that’s a pretty unusual honeymoon with the boys!
“It’s a busy month but there is also lots to look forward to – I can’t wait to get back playing.
“It’s been a long pre-season so we’re all looking forward to that first hit out.”
Griffiths highlights last season as one of personal progress as he made 13 appearances in all competitions, after disrupted spells the two years before.
With any return from injury managed carefully, the Newbridge-born forward was back to his best in the closing months of the campaign and is now eager to pick-up where he left off.
“Last year was a decent year for me, certainly in terms of the number of games I played,” he said.
“I finished in decent form so I’m looking forward to picking that up and getting down Rodney Parade.
“I’ve seen lots of pictures on twitter and instagram of the stadium and the pitch is looking brilliant. It’ll be good to get back on it.
“The 100 games mark for Dragons is not far away now too so I’d like to get that ticked off by October. It’ll be a nice milestone for me to reach.”
Away from the action, Griffiths continues to be just as busy with his expanding property investment business – OG Properties.
And he believes having that focus away from the game has been a real positive move for him.
“I’ve just finished another property – it’s nice to keep busy and have a different focus away from the rugby,” he said.
“It means you’re kept busy when you get home. You have plenty of down time as players and I’m not one for just sitting around. With the day off in the week and free weekends it keeps me going.
“I get the trades in to help me now,” he added. “I made the mistake with the first couple of properties of ending up carrying everything backwards and forwards to the skip and then having to train!
“I even got Jack (Dixon) involved with some tiling with one, because he is very, very good at it. But you’ll have to ask him what happened, let’s just say we had a flooding issue!”
The new URC season is now fast approaching with the opening date at Edinburgh Rugby – Saturday, September 17 (kick-off 7.35pm) – now official.
Munster and the Cell C Sharks then arrive at Rodney Parade and Griffiths insists the Dragons are up for the challenge.
“We have some difficult games in that first block, but the days of any easy fixtures in the URC are gone. It’s a tough league now,” he added.
“The boys are working hard and enjoying this prep period. Hopefully the pre-season games go well, and we start with a bang.”
I finished in decent form so I’m looking forward to picking that up and getting down Rodney Parade...