Coach: Scrum battle will be crucial


Head Coach Dai Flanagan admits Dragons will need to play smart when they face the might of the Cell C Sharks set piece today (kick-off 7.35pm).

The Men of Gwent are back on home soil to tackle a powerful South African unit that will make a first-ever trip to Rodney Parade.

The Sharks have built up a fearsome reputation in the BKT United Rugby Championship for a destructive scrum and Flanagan knows it will be a key area in this evening’s fixture.

“We have got an arm wrestle this week - we need to be smart about how we do it,” he said.

“We need to make sure we control the narrative on how many scrums there are in the game so that we can keep our forwards going forward.

“The scrum is key to any game of rugby,” he added. “When I played, I didn’t respect the scrum I just wanted the ball.

“I wanted the ball in and out and it as a way of restarting the game. I was wrong.

“Since becoming a coach, you realise the value of a good scrum.

“Our scrum has been good, our lineout, and specifically our lineout defence, has been excellent. I see that continuing as the season goes on.”

Flanagan has also pinpointed managing changeable weather conditions as vital, with rain and high winds forecast in the days leading into the game.

“Conditions will have a part to play,” he added.

“Rain is forecast on Friday and Saturday morning and there's a strong wind, so it'll be like two games within one potentially if that wind comes. We need to look at how we play the elements.

“I thought into the wind last weekend we were fantastic. “We made the pitch small, played in half a pitch, and kept the pressure on Munster.

“They didn’t know where to go with their ball, which fed us emotionally and gave us something to hit.”

Tickets for the tonight’s clash with Cell C Sharks are on sale throughout the day and right up until kick-off from the Ticket Office at Rodney Parade. The Ticket Office opens at noon on Saturday.

Our scrum has been good, our lineout, and specifically our lineout defence, has been excellent... I see that continuing as the season goes on...
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