Dragons stars aiming to impress Wales coaches
OSPREYS v DRAGONS (Tomorrow, KO 7.05)
THERE are plenty of carrots dangling in front of the players of Newport Gwent Dragons ahead of tomorrow evening’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash with the Ospreys.
Plenty of their hosts’ squad are eyeing places in the British and Irish Lions squad, an ambition shared by just two in the Rodney Parade region’s ranks, back row forwards Toby Faletau and Dan Lydiate.
But Warren Gatland’s choices for the challenge Down Under have ramifications – every Welsh pick opens up a spot for the national side’s summer tour to Japan.
But it’s not only a June jaunt to the Far East that is focusing the minds of ambitious Dragons; a week on Saturday they take on the Scarlets at the Millennium Stadium, an occasion that nobody wants to miss out on.
That means those that take to the field in Swansea tomorrow are under pressure to perform against pretty formidable opposition.
“We are not thinking too far ahead but everybody would love to play at the Millennium Stadium in the double header,” admitted centre/wing Adam Hughes.
“I’ve never played there before and it would be great, especially after seeing what it was like for Wales against England in the Six Nations.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be anything like that atmosphere but it will still be a fantastic occasion.
“But we’ve got another important game before we can even think about that.”
And despite being a man who often heads to the Cardiff City Stadium to cheer on the Bluebirds, Hughes is excited by the chance to turn out again at the Liberty Stadium, home of the Swans.
“The Ospreys is a fixture that we always look forward to because it’s a great stadium and a great pitch,” he said. “We always enjoy playing them and have a pretty good record.
“They are the best team in Wales so it would be a great achievement if we could beat them at their own place.
“We know it’s going to be tough because they have picked up some great results recently and are boosted by a lot of the Wales pack returning.
“This is a massive game for the Ospreys – they are fighting for the play-offs, can’t afford to slip up and need every point they can get.
“But we are fighting for pride and this isn’t a dead rubber for us.
“The Wales coaches look closely at derby games with places up for grabs. It’s up to us to take our chance to impress.”