No more negativity as Dragons boss Jones targets flying start
LYN Jones says it's imperative Newport Gwent Dragons start their season with a bang as he looks to stamp out negative chat at Rodney Parade.
The new director of rugby takes the helm for the first time when Ulster head to Rodney Parade in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Friday evening (kick-off 7.15pm).
A summer of change has brought new hope for the Dragons but Jones insists a cloud remains after a disastrous 2012/13.
Only winless Zebre finished beneath the region in the league table while both the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup campaigns were underwhelming.
Jones is confident the coming campaign will be more fruitful but believes it will take time to change the culture.
"It's no secret that Gwent rugby has had difficulty with being positive, we are here to change that," said the former Ospreys and London Welsh boss.
"You'd be surprised that people are still talking negatively on the back of last year, I'm trying to stop that.
"That's why a good performance is important against Ulster – we need to start being confident and believing in ourselves, with that comes sustainable growth.
"Players are subconsciously using negative language, they don't realise it but it stands out to me.
"I am used to working with winners and champions and I am going to turn these guys into winners and champions as well."
The first outing is a tough one against an Ulster side that finished top of the league last season only to lose the final to Leinster in Dublin.
Jones, who was encouraged by the Dragons' 22-20 pre-season win against Bath, is relishing the chance to see his new charges in action against "the best team in the Pro12".
The region are confident of an upturn in fortunes, particularly at home, but the new boss is urging patience.
Jones said: "Only three and a half months ago the Dragons finished nearly bottom of the league; we are not stupid, we're not going to turn things around immediately.
"It's going to take time to grow but what we are looking for from Friday night is an enthusiastic performance from players that I'd like to think will play with a lot of passion coupled up with some accuracy.
"We are looking forward to a big home crowd against I'd say the best team in the Pro12. We need all the support we can get to create enthusiasm and belief in the squad.
"We've played one friendly, which is not ideal, and we are expecting a few more questions than answers after the Ulster game, which is quite common for coaches.
"What is important is that no matter how the result goes, we analyse ourselves and keep improving."
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